Prism expands production capacity with South African deal and new UK investment

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 22 August 2008



(2008), "Prism expands production capacity with South African deal and new UK investment", Circuit World, Vol. 34 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Prism expands production capacity with South African deal and new UK investment

Article Type: Industry news From: Circuit World, Volume 34, Issue 3

St Ives (Cambridgeshire) based contract electronics manufacturer Prism Electronics Ltd ( is expanding its production capacity with investments in its own plant and an agreement with one of South Africa’s leading contract electronics manufacturers.

The expanded capacity in St Ives and the new South African relationship means the company is able to offer economical higher volume production. Production takes place either in Cambridge or in South Africa in order to meet customer needs.

David Aspinall (Figure 1), Managing Director at Prism, said: “We have an established reputation for assisting customers with design and manufacture of assemblies and equipment where there is complexity in meeting their requirements.” Typical applications include such things as specialist medical equipment, scientific instruments and industrial control systems where product volumes may be modest and unpredictable.

 Figure 1 David Aspinall, Managing Director, Prism Electronics

Figure 1 David Aspinall, Managing Director, Prism Electronics

“However, we have previously lacked the capacity to support larger volume manufacture ourselves. We are now in a position to do this by managing production in both St Ives and South Africa to meet customer requirements.”

Prism selected a South African partner because this offers a number of advantages – both organisations are in similar time zones, both speak English as a business language, both have similar business cultures and both operate to the same international quality standards.

The two companies operate compatible processes and machinery, making it easy to transfer production from one facility to the other.

Importantly, both the UK and South Africa have similar legal systems and cultural understanding for the protection of intellectual property.

David Aspinall said: “We have seen too many problems created when companies have pursued a strategy of seeking the cheapest international price without proper control of quality, with failures in communication and understanding and with loss of intellectual property protection. We have selected our partner carefully to ensure there is a ‘seamless join’ between our systems and theirs.”

“Customers can be assured that, whether manufacture is taking place in Cambridgeshire or South Africa, their needs are being managed by Prism’s team with real-time dialogue linking designers, engineers and production personnel.”

“We are not ‘off shoring’ our production facilities – in fact, we are continuing to invest in expanding our manufacturing capabilities here in the UK. However, where it is appropriate to consider overseas manufacturing for suitable products, we are able to benefit from the massive investment made by our South African partner in its 64,000 square foot production facility.”

The South African connection supports considerable investment in Prism’s own facilities at St Ives.

Last year the company appointed David Bance as its new head of operations with responsibility for the company’s manufacturing operations and its continued development to facilitate projected future growth. He joined Prism from Cambridge University’s Institute of Manufacturing.

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