Saturday, May 26, 2018
Publication Date: 02/1/2010
Archive >  February 2010 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

Winland: Winning with Cutting-Edge Green
On the production floor Director of Operations Jeff Ocker (left) and Manufacturing Engineering Technician Mike Fritz check settings on an autoplacer.

Being on the forefront of today's "Green Revolution" is just part of the story — an important part, however — at Minnesota-based EMS provider Winland Electronics, Inc. The company is currently experiencing a transformation — some would say a "rejuvenation". Like many EMS providers, Winland has been dealing with the recent worldwide economic challenges as well as increased customer expectations. As a result, coupled with a desire to be "Industry Best" among its peers, Winland has looked within and made necessary changes and adjustments to become even more service-driven, strategically aligned and proactive.

For the past two years the company's focus has been on adding top-tier EMS industry talent, upgrading manufacturing expertise, adopting quality-optimizing Six Sigma methodologies, broadening the customer base, improving reputation and positioning for long-term profitability.

High Level Personnel
Winland takes pride having added high level senior personnel gleaned from within the EMS industry. These additions include a completely new revamped executive management team, key director-level management and technical positions and a senior-level program management staff all with extraordinary experience and success at Tier I and II EMS companies and top tier OEMs. The company's vision is to provide its customers with leading edge technical capability, talent, technology and unique supply chain fulfillment strategies. This will insure market and revenue growth for each of the company's customers in their respective industries. Winland strives to continually earn recognition and validation by its customers by providing high-end Tier I EMS services within a Tier III environment and culture.

The EMS provider is located in a 58,000 sq. ft., highly automated manufacturing plant in Mankato, Minnesota, focusing on low/medium volume, high-mix, high service in the medical, industrial, computer, communications, consumer market segments. Winland provides competitive differentiators with strategic focus in customer business model alignment and complete understanding of customer supply chain and fulfillment strategies. The ability to be proactive rather than reactive is necessary every minute, every day. Strong and talented engineering services with customer focus in design (product development), test and legacy support offer customers solid and proactive DFx (DFM/DFT) utilization. In addition to a highly talented design engineering team, Winland provides customers value with these services:

  • Competitive total-cost pricing.
  • Quick-turn prototyping
  • A robust new product introduction (NPI) process.
  • A flexible, efficient and dynamic PCB process.
  • Box build/system capability.
  • Direct order fulfillment.
  • An established turn-key supply chain model offering unique and adaptive vendor and customer managed inventory solutions.
  • Post-manufacturing services include creative and unique capabilities in both repair and refurbishment capabilities.

Most importantly, one of the company's many strengths is a strategic approach to customer focus and overwhelming deployment of service. At Winland, customer focus and service is an understatement! The concern for a balanced and managed customer portfolio and alignment within the company's new business "Opportunity Filter" is paramount. Their "Partnership Drivers" that help to define the "right fit" for a successful relationship include these customer values:

  • Long-term relationship.
  • "Value" driven, "open book"/aligned business model.
  • $TAM (Total Available Market) Development Strategy and a mutually successful customer-supplier attitude.
  • Central geographic advantage.
  • Key market experience.

Energy Harvesting Sensor
One of Winland's recent many design engineering partnerships and initiatives was to develop an energy harvesting wireless sensor. This project grew out of a relationship with Cymbet Corporation — a green technology company. Its specialty is the manufacture of thin-film, solid-state storage devices and energy harvesting technology. The company is the first to market a component-class energy solution that designers can use to realize new embedded systems capabilities. Winland is a member of the Cymbet Premier Design Partner (PDP) program. The PDP program is a partnership between Cymbet, the manufacturer of the EnerChip products, and select companies like Winland Electronics that can support other companies needing assistance designing the EnerChip technology into their products.

Solar Powered Design
This particular wireless design is a maintenance-free indoor solar-powered temperature sensor. It utilizes normal fluorescent lighting typically found in an office environment to power itself and charge the rechargeable Cymbet EnerChips. In the absence of light, the sensor is powered by the EnerChips. The sensor requires about eight hours (depending on the intensity of the light) for a full charge and will then last 16 hours without the presence of light. The design is based on the Winland EA-WTS (wireless temperature sensor) that communicates to the EA800 environmental monitoring console, and had been powered by two AA batteries. Developing a sensor that is able to use the limited power available from fluorescent lights required careful attention to several design considerations.
Wireless remote sensor using rechargeable Cymbet EnerChips

The sensor now incorporates a "fast startup" circuit to eliminate excess current draw while the voltage rises initially on power-up. Also every integrated circuit was evaluated to determine if the normal operating current draw was low enough. If not, a method of shutting down the circuit when not needed was implemented. The existing system uses 802.15.4 to establish a personal area network for each console and its sensors. To achieve an energy-efficient duty cycle, the new sensors utilized an optimized 802.15.4 stack. New network messaging was introduced while maintaining the same level of temperature monitoring. The firmware was also made energy-aware to limit the amount of active time, and guarantee a minimum amount of sleep time to maintain a low duty cycle. This is one of many design activities that Winland is engaged in industry-leading technologies.

Winland continues its mission and focus to be recognized as a leading provider of highly customized design engineering, EMS products and services to OEMs in multiple market segments.

Contact: Winland Electronics Inc., 1950 Excel Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 507-625-7231 fax: 507-387-2488 E-mail: Web: 

See at Pacific Design/MDM West Booth #1433.

Add your comment:

Full Name:

search login