According to own data, Fujitsu’s production site in Augsburg is the only remaining PC production in Germany. silicon.de took a day to look around the Augsburg factory. Despite the high costs in this country, according to Fujitsu, the production is worthwhile. For the seal “Made in Germany” customers are willing to pay more. Fujitsu manufactures and develops in Augsburg not only for itself, but also for other companies.
Augsburg not only has production facilities, but also research and development. 160 projects are currently in progress at the site, and Fujitsu Augsburg has filed 66 patents in the first fiscal quarter. The manufacturer develops from the motherboard over the housing design to the finished system.
Research and Development
The developers in Augsburg need about four to five months for a PC motherboard. A server motherboard is under development for around 18 months. Fujitsu is trying to develop internal standards that can be used for all motherboards.
At the beginning is the budget planning. The development team sets a target price for a new mainboard, which of course must be complied with. In order for this to work, it uses its own calculation software. With design-to-cost, the developers determine which components are installed at what cost. These are stored in an Excel spreadsheet and added. The program observes the price development of the components over 12 months. Thus, the budget always stays in the eye.
In addition, Fujitsu is in close contact with component manufacturers such as Intel in close contact to always be informed about future developments. In a standard motherboard around 1000 parts are installed. A server board can even contain up to 10,000 components.
If the basic concept is present, the developers simulate the electromagnetic compatibility ( EMC ) of the mainboard on the computer. In doing so, the developers check for potential electromagnetic radiation that could affect other devices. The simulation of the EMC can take several days. Meanwhile, a first, simple model of the board is produced by 3D printing process.
Several employees are busy with the layout of the new mainboard. In the basic concept, only the required components have been described, these must now be positioned together with cables and connections on the board. At the beginning of the computer, the layout engineer sees himself confronted with a chaos of lines, which he has to break free of, or as New German means.
Another layouter positions the components and, for example, has to pay attention to the design of the housing for an all-in-one PC. But if, from a technical point of view, a component has to be placed at one point, but the case gets in the way, changes are discussed directly with the designer and implemented immediately. The housing is not only developed according to optical values, but also designed for the possible heat development and air flows.
The Fujitsu designers create a model on the computer and simulate the operation. An attempt is made to find the optimum position of the components for good ventilation. The aim is to achieve a noiseless operation (zero-noise). For example, find the hard drives now on the bottom of the case their place and not with each other on the front.
After developing and designing, prototype testing is on the agenda. Fujitsu has its own laboratories. In addition to the classic function tests, the employees also check whether zero-noise operation has actually been achieved or whether the EMC simulation also proves to be correct in the finished device. For the zero-noise test, the Augsburg-based factory has low-reflection rooms . There the basic noise level is between 15 and 17 decibels. In a quiet room, for example, 20 to 30 decibels can be reached. In the same building is also the so-called 10-meter chamber. Fujitsu tests the EMC in it.
Around 30 percent of the tests are for devices from other companies. In addition to the EMC review, Fujitsu also provides help in eliminating excessive radiation.
When the tests are completed, the production starts. The Augsburg Fujitsu plant produces up to 21,000 units per day. In detail, there are 12,000 client computing devices, 8,000 system boards, 950 server and storage systems and 50 racks. Although daily production has declined compared to 10 years ago, it is now increasingly targeting higher-quality devices.
Production and assembly
Fujitsu needs about six days to manufacture and install a complete system. Production at the Augsburg plant starts at lot size 1. This is ensured by more than 1,500 employees. They work in three shifts and each employee has up to five breaks a day. A bonus system rewards workers for outstanding performance. In this way, the wage can be increased. The production is divided into different lines. Each one produces a different motherboard. Converting one line to another board model takes between 10 and 15 minutes, and making a motherboard takes about two hours. At the end of the chain is the quality control. The Automatic Optical Inspection ( AOI) checks the boards for errors. These can usually be fixed on the spot.
Once the mainboards have passed the control, they enter the so-called supermarket, the warehouse. There they wait about four to eight hours for further processing. So that employees can find components faster, the shelves are equipped with a barcode. If it is scanned for a specific component, a light illuminates at the storage position. The components are then collected in blocks and transported to the assembly hall. There, the employees work in a U-line . This means that they work from start to finish on the same device. The U-Line improves employee communication as they work closer together, making it easier to operate multiple machines.
The Fujitsu plant in Augsburg also has its own recycling and treatment plant for water recycling. It does not use alcohol-based solders to further protect the environment. At the beginning of the month, the plant is certified to DIN EN ISO 50001 . This certifies a particularly environmentally friendly production. But the plant also serves as a back-up for server production in Japan. After the Tōhoku earthquake in Japan in 2011 , Fujitsu relocated production to Augsburg to avoid delivery bottlenecks.