Originally published as a Sanmina Case Study

The Challenge:
feeProvide end-to-end manufacturing services to speed KACO’s entry into the U.S. market with competitive costs and reduced delivery times. KACO’s blueplanet inverter series is one of the best-selling inverters in Germany and maintaining the brand’s reputation was crucial. Consequently, KACO was particularly concerned that manufacturing quality and reliability met their high standards and followed similar or better processes than their own. KACO did
its own in-house manufacturing and vertical integration in Germany, using regional suppliers who were unable to meet market needs outside of Europe.

The Solution:
Sanmina’s reputation for responsiveness and expertise with complex electronic and mechanical products won KACO’s business. Sanmina responded to KACO’s challenge by establishing a dedicated core team for New Product Introduction (NPI), setting up a new, dedicated manufacturing line, performing design for assembly (DFA) analyses, designing custom tooling, creating detailed documentation, establishing a new independent global supply chain and providing logistics support in the U.S.

The Results:

KACO’s blueplanet inverter successfully entered the U.S. market at a lower total landed
cost. Plus, product delivery time was reduced by six weeks.

The blueplanet inverter program was extremely complex and required intensive, frequent,
on-going communication with KACO’s offices in the U.S. and Germany.

Ultimately, up to seven different models were destined to be manufactured in the U.S.
making the focus on the quality of the manufacturing processes, clear documentation,
and a reliable, independent supply chain crucial to this program’s overall success:

• Designed custom 12” die for extrusion supplier in China
• Performed DFA and produced updated product assembly drawings
• Established alternative suppliers outside of the European supply chain for
materials, parts and equipment
• Performed site visits, audits and qualified all new suppliers
• Translated, created and loaded a new English-language Bill of Materials (BOM)
• Established a dedicated manufacturing line, up and running in less than a month
• Implemented custom test equipment into the US production line
• Set up real-time access to test results for KACO

Vince Lucia, Vice President, Operations, KACO Inc commented, “Sanmina is a highly focused, organized and expert manufacturing partner. They know how to get the manufacturing process moving and to keep it moving forward so we meet our goals. I knew from day one they were the right choice.”

Global Experience Makes The Crucial Difference

Helping customers such as KACO take an existing, successful product and manufacture it in
other countries is what Sanmina does every day. In the solar industry, manufacturing can be
complicated due to the market’s volatility and unique supply chain requirements.
For instance, there are only three suppliers in the United States who extrude metal using
12” dies (there is little worldwide demand for parts this size). Sanmina, with supply chain
resources all over the world, qualified a supplier in China and provided it with the 12”die
Sanmina custom designed and fabricated for KACO.