Flexibility takes the heat off purchasing

ES Oct15 Pg32 Thermal 1Thermal interface materials manufacturer, Thermal Issues, believes flexible service simplifies the workload of designers and buyers, from prototype to production.

In order to deliver the flexibility expected by today’s electronics and electro-mechanical designers and procurement professionals, Thermal Issues strives to remain agile; its strap line, ‘flexibility in response,’ underscores this ethos. Whatever the thermal engineering issue encountered in research and development, Thermal Issues aims to offer designers plenty of choice in the solutions available.

Simplify specification

Where passive thermal cooling represents the optimum solution, ease of specification and a ruthlessly simple materials supply chain are vital. Most designers will personally specify the parts required for prototype and pre-production projects. Some will procure these small quantities themselves, while others choose, or are required to, pass the assignment to the purchasing department.

Identifying a business partner able to manufacture and supply fast-turn thermal material parts cost effectively can be a challenge. Finding a company that can also provide small quantities, quickly at good value, adds an even trickier dimension to procurement.

Removing these obstacles is the foundation of the Thermal Issues business model. Neil Wilson set up the company to expressly address the supply process and remove barriers on three distinct levels.

Support prototyping

The first step is to remove barriers for the designer or purchaser looking to source thermal material parts in standard profiles. To achieve this, Thermal Issues implemented an e-commerce website, designed to offer straightforward specification across nine types of interface materials, and simple online ordering for parts that are all available ex-stock. The website guides users through logical steps to arrive at the ideal thermal interface material solution.

Step two is to eliminate barriers for designers at prototype project stages where design requirements constantly change and there is a need to evaluate working prototypes. Ideally, having parts produced on the same tooling used in production is the surest way to prove a design. This is rarely practical, however, due to timescales and costs that can take projects over budget.

Thermal Issues promises a solution, however, allowing customers to source bespoke part profiles at small quantities—even one-offs—quickly and at low cost. It manufactures prototype parts using the same digital information technique as deployed in full production. Minor adjustments can be rapidly accommodated by simply changing the drawing detail. Next revision parts are manufactured using the same materials and the entire process repeated with a seamless transition through to production.

Inventory solutions

Finally, Thermal Issues aims to remove supply barriers experienced by procurement professionals. The bespoke nature of application-specific part profiles can make fast-turn supply difficult. Once a design is ratified, buyers can use Thermal Issue’s managed inventory service to streamline the supply process. The company takes a three, six, or 12-month order and manufactures the parts immediately. These are held until the customer’s production schedule demands stock, even at short notice and only billed as despatched.

To cater for all kinds of requirements, Thermal Issues applies this service offering across its range of thermal interface, EMC, electrically isolating and vibration damping products, all manufactured from conflict-free materials in the UK.