Panasonic controls virtually the entire manufacturing process, from design through delivery. Unlike most computer manufacturers, Panasonic builds many of the critical components in its products and assembles them at its own facilities using Panasonic-built robotics and internally developed processes.
For example, Panasonic internally sources all major components except for CPUs and hard drives. Panasonic is the only wireless mobile computer manufacturer that designs and manufactures its own antenna, which exceeds the leading carriers' wireless network requirements. And Panasonic operates one of the world's largest anechoic chambers in the industry. By precisely measuring the amount of electromagnetic radiation produced by Toughbook mobile computers, anechoic chamber testing enables engineers to maximize wireless performance.
Toughbook® mobile computers are designed completely in-house and are manufactured at Panasonic's ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 certified facility in Kobe, Japan and Panasonic's IS-14001 certified AVC facility in Taiwan. By retaining control of design, sourcing, manufacturing and fabrication, Panasonic obtains the highest level of quality, reliability and performance for its customers. This in turn results in lower total cost of ownership and greater return on investment for buyers of Toughbook® products.
Panasonic’s Kobe factory illustrates the precision involved in manufacturing Toughbook computers:
- Everything is engineered to maximize quality and efficiency and to respond rapidly to market needs. All critical operations—from mounting components on circuit boards to assembly, testing, packaging and shipping—are performed under one roof.
- Some of the world's fastest robotic equipment (also built by Panasonic) is used to mount more than 1,000 electronic components with high-precision onto circuit boards. Each component is optically inspected using image recognition technology prior to its placement on the circuit board.
- Each individual circuit board is tested multiple times during the manufacturing process to ensure that every component is operating perfectly.
- Flexible manufacturing processes efficiently integrate GPS, fingerprint scanners, mobile broadband (WWAN), backlit keyboards and other options into appropriate models.
- Sophisticated production information systems provide full traceability of every part in every computer, enabling fast resolution of any problems that arise.
Panasonic's emphasis on high-quality, high-reliability product manufacturing is evident in the annual failure rates of computers from major manufacturers. PC Magazine, in its September 2009 issue, reported an industry average failure rate of 21.0%. Panasonic's service records (as of September, 2009, for units in and out of warranty) show an average annual failure rate of only 2.99% for Toughbook mobile computers.
GCN senior writer Trudy Walsh travels to Osaka, Japan, to find out why Toughbooks are so rugged
by Trudy Walsh (GCN, February 03, 2009) read article
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