Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Local HQ where desktops and laptops are repaired, tested and assembled.

By Chris Jager on May 18, 2012
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Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

This week we toured Acer's brand new Australian headquarters in Homebush NSW, which boasts its own PC assembly and repair facilities. We also peeked inside the Production Engineering Lab where pre-release products are tested before hitting the market. To see how Acer computers are made and repaired locally, read on...

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Acer Australia's operations director Andrew Bosch opens the door to the new facility based in the outskirts of NSW's Homebush.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Acer's local HQ employs over 300 staff and boasts its own production, testing and repair facilities along with a customer call centre. The majority of products which are assembled locally are for the corporate, government and education sectors.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Desktop kits make their way down the factory line, awaiting assembly.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Desktops being assembled and tested in the Assembly and Production room.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

For a facility that builds around 900 units per day, the Assembly and Production room is surprisingly quiet.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Acer desktops ready for dispatch.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

With the exception of factory belt, the Assembly and Production room is run almost entirely by the human hand.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

A complete desktop kit heads towards its new owner.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

PC server side panels stacked at the ready.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

This CRT monitor shows the day's tally of assembled units and other KPI data.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

A KPI monitor looms over each worker's head like the sword of Damocles.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Individual workers are expected to assemble a minimum of 50 desktops per day. However, smaller form factors, such as pizza box PCs, only count as 0.75 of one unit. One worker we spoke to admitted that it could sometimes be a struggle to meet daily quotas. "We have good days and bad days," he said.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

A desktop chassis awaiting the installation of components on the production line.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

The CPU, cooler, RAM, HDD and optical drive are all installed by hand.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Assembling a desktop PC isn't exactly rocket science, but the speed at which Acer's factory workers get the job done is astonishing.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

A CPU cooler is inserted with care by an Acer factory worker.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Electric screwdrivers boost productivity time and cut down on wrist cramps.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Once the components have been installed, the side panel is set in place.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

A few screws later and the desktop is ready to test and dispatch to the customer.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Various logo stickers are slapped onto the chassis.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Once assembled, each desktop needs to be tested for mechanical faults.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Desktop testing underway.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Laptops receive a tweaking in the Assembly and Production room.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Completed desktops on the production line.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

This rather unassuming office is the Production Engineering Lab, where new Acer products are tested and benchmarked prior to hitting the market.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Acer's successor to the Aspire S3 ultrabook, the Acer S5, goes through some final tests.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

The 13.3in Acer Aspire S5 is just 15mm thick. It comes with SSD storage, USB 3.0, HDMI and Thunderbolt ports hidden below a MagicFlip port panel below the S5's hinge. It weighs just 1.35kg and has a magnesium alloy/brushed metal finish. The Acer S5 due out in Q2.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Each product in the Production Engineering Lab is put through rigorous benchmarks and software tests.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

While the Production room takes care of general assembly, the Asset Integration and Processing Centre handles in-depth reconfigurations and customisation. Contracted machines that have reached the end of their life cycle are returned to this facility for asset processing.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

This is Acer's Asset Integration and Processing Centre, which manages large product roll outs for corporate clients.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Workers tinkering away in the Asset Integration and Processing Centre.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Acer Australia's Asset Integration and Processing Centre.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Acer Australia's Asset Integration and Processing Centre.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

In addition to local production and testing facilities, Acer's Australian HQ also has its own Repair Centre. Instead of working in teams, individual engineers will diagnose, repair and test a faulty product to minimise miscommunication.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

The sprawling repair warehouse contains around $3 million of spare parts. Proprietary parts are the biggest headache faced by engineers in the repair center.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Each engineer repairs around 15 machines a day, on average.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Engineers in the repair center gather replacement parts themselves via a quick stroll into the warehouse: there are no factory 'pickers'. According to Acer's technical services director Neil Roberts, this has sped up productivity significantly, as an engineer can grab multiples of the same part in one go and map out his workload more efficiently.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Component replacements are kept in trays inside the warehouse, ready when needed.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

The pallets in the background store 'low activity' inventory that are rarely used at present. However, Acer anticipates that these materials, which include certain types of plastic, may be harder to acquire in the future.

Inside Acer's Australian computer facility

Completed desktops on the production line.

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