To get just one
working mobile phone device fitted together from series of metallic and plastic
components screwed takes many hands and heads working together for several hours
if not minutes.
At every stage of
assembly, all Mobile phone components must be carefully tested to ensure they
are in good and normal working mode because an error in one will compromise
the functionality of the entire gadget.
That is what tech
engineers don’t want to hear to guarantee the reputation of the company and
keep the money tap flowing through the years.
So, how do they prevent that from
happening? Come with me inside a guided tour of SIMI Mobile (S300) Assembly Plant, Uganda’s
first Mobile Phone Assembly Plant in Namanve Industrial Park in Mukono district.
Taking me around is Samuel
Wamala, an Assembly Line Leader at SIMI Mobile Phone Assembly plant. The plant
is built by a Chinese Firm ENGO Holdings Limited to assemble Analog, Smart
Phones and Laptops. It is already producing the analog type as it prepares for
the Smart phones and the Laptops.
Wamala says the plant
relies on motherboards or electrical circuit boards designed from China.
to humans, the motherboards perform the critical function of the Human Heart –
pumping life around the body.
In the case of a
mobile phone, it must pump electrical signals from one keypad to another in a
coordinated manner for the brain or the memory to click into action.
Wamala says when consignments
of various component arrive from China where they are designed and
programmed, their first job is to subject them to electrical functionality tests.
On top of this test
is the motherboard itself, examined using a customized motherboard testing
machine otherwise manually using a small drop of water. In contact with water,
Wamala says the motherboard’s waterproof seal changes colour to signal fault.
//Cue in: “This is
the custom motherboard….
Cue out: “….
motherboard has a fault”//
When the programmed motherboard
testing machine approves the functionality of the circuit board, it is passed to
a waiting technician competent in fitting the first vital sets of components
such as the keypads, blue tooth, mouth piece, its vibrator and speaker one
after another as Wamala explains.
//Cue in: “This is at
Cue out: “…. these
are LED light”//
To ensure that the
phone parts are not damaged during shipping, they are given seals from China
which must be carefully taken off during assembly for these various parts to be
electrically welded onto the motherboard. Wamala says the seals are removed
from all the components of the phone.
//Cue in: “This is a
Cue out: “…. has been
The mobile phone is a
mini Computer. In an assembly like this, this piece of technology must be given
a lovely screen for it to appeal to the human eyes. Wamala says the process of
fitting this interface is delicate because dust is alien to its operation.
When the screen or user
interface which enables the electronic gadget to decade the human message has
been firmly fitted into place, the hardware is screwed tightly into place. At
this stage, the phone gets its front and back ends in place.
Wamala says they then
use an electronic screw driver to fit the two ends together. He says onwards,
the phone moves to another stage of production – quality checks.
//Cue in: “We attach the front….
Cue out: “….they are
At this stage, the
phone is again subjected to another electronic test to determine its signal
reception and readiness to call the international emergency number 112. And
this is the job of Christine Kawunde, a Quality Assurance Manager.
//Cue in: “This
Cue out: “….it has no
When the signal is
working fine, the phone enters an enclosed room where it is dusted using pressurized
cylinder to ensure that no dust is trapped inside especially onto the screen. It
is then electronically given a unique 15-digits International Mobile Equipment
Identity (IMEI) number.
Wamala says this
stage is critical to ensure that the phone looks new and appealing to
//Cue in: “Here we
are putting screens…..
Cue out: “….by
putting in some codes”//
When everything is
working fine, the phones is cleaned and verified against the ISO 9001 quality
requirements. They are then packed with their chargers and batteries separately
and sealed in their boxes for the markets.
President Yoweri Museveni commissioned the plant on Friday. For more insights,
take a look at the pictures.