Charged and ready to roll

The ability to manufacture a variety of complex products to suit expanding markets made Briton EMS the perfect choice for electric vehicle charging specialist, Chargemaster

With the age of the electric car finally dawning, there is demand for a new device: the purpose designed charger. One company operating in this field is Chargemaster, which has designed a multi-vehicle, multi-style range of chargers for street, car park, office and home use. To manufacture the units, it turned to Bedford-based contract electronics manufacturer (CEM), Briton EMS.

Commercial director of Briton EMS, Tony Abri, described the chargers: “They are extremely complex. What looks like a simple box build unit is actually a robust steel and aluminium case, containing PCBs, up to 40m of wiring, well over a hundred connectors and, depending on the model, 10 to 15 wiring looms.”

There are two wall mounted models and two floor mounted post units, with a mixture of single, dual and fast charge variants.

Chargemaster’s chief executive, David Martell, added: “It’s Briton EMS’ ability to manufacture complex products, in volumes to suit our expanding markets, which makes them an attractive outsourcing solution for us. We particularly like their flexibility to meet our demands by switching production to different Chargemaster equipment as sales and markets dictate. This is made more difficult by the differing needs of overseas markets.”

Each model has a host of options to suit Chargemaster’s customers. These range from a single socket unit, with either a three pin, 13A socket or a fast charge 16A connector, to a street or car park ‘combi’ unit with a 32A fast charge connector and a conventional UK three pin 13A socket, or the equivalent continental socket for European markets. RFID modules can also be included for local councils and other owners who fund the posts by charging users for electricity.

One of Chargemaster’s key selling points is future-proofing models ready for upgrade to different charge rates and sockets.

David Martell continued: “This means that all the appropriate wiring and internal structures have to be included in every unit – and they must be easily accessible and robust for electricians to work on in the field.”

Production is currently running at 40 units a week and increasing month on month, having doubled in the last 18 months. To meet this demand, Briton EMS?has set up a dedicated manufacturing cell staffed by engineers who wire up, assemble and test each unit.

Briton EMS’ Tony Abri said: “With over 30 years’ experience as a CEM, we have the contacts for procuring a wide range of components. We also have precise manufacturing procedures that optimise our resources to build quality products that are reliable, delivered on time and are cost competitive

“We’re also fastidious about testing. It’s deeply embedded in the company’s culture and built into our design for manufacturing procedures, which helps drive down costs by making products that are easier to test throughout the production cycle and more reliable in the field.

“All PCBs are individually tested as they leave the production line, as are all sub-assemblies. By the final build stage, each individual unit will have undergone a multitude of tests, including soak testing, before despatch. Not surprisingly, we have a very good reliability record.”