In a bid to further build up the country?s capacity in the electronics sector, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has launched a state-of-the-art facility aimed at giving local tech companies the ability to test and develop their software and hardware products.
The Electronics Products and Design Center (EPDC) is the only government-owned ? and so far, the biggest — EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) testing center in the country. Printer maker Lexmark, which is based in Cebu, is the only other entity providing the same service locally.
Built at a staggering P268 million, about 80 percent of the cost went to the procurement of ultra-modern equipment that had to be imported from abroad. About 20 percent of the money, which is more or less P30 million, was spent on the building that houses the facility inside the MIRDC (Metals and Industry Research Development Center) compound in Bicutan, Taguig City.
The funds for the high-tech laboratory came from the budget of the PCIEERD (Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development), an attached unit of the DOST. The EPDC, however, is under the management and supervision of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), another unit under the DOST.
DOST undersecretary Rowena Guevarra, who is also the outgoing executive director of PCIEERD, said they had to carefully explain to the COA (Commission on Audit) the significance of the project considering the huge amount involved.
?But we need this facility to help our electronics sector to develop its capability and become at par with our neighbors,? she said during the launch on Tuesday, July 14. ?With the EPDC, we hope that electronics exports will become again comprise 60 percent of the country’s total exports, after going down to the current 40 percent.
DOST officials said EPDC is an indispensable part of the electronics sector as this is where hardware and software tools can be designed, developed, and tested for their intended applications.
To keep the facility within the reach of local firms, ASTI officials said the prices of the services offered by the lab will be pegged 20-percent lower compared to the same services from neighboring Asean countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. The rates will also be 40-percent cheaper if it is availed by research and academic institutions. The center is expected to entertain clients by August.
The role of the EMC lab is to test and determine the correct operation — in the same electromagnetic environment — of different equipment, which use electromagnetic phenomena, and the avoidance of any interference effects. For instance, a remote control for television should be work only with the TV set and not with another tool such as mobile phone.
Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino, who was a guest during the launch, said the EPDC would be a big boost to SMEs at start-ups making electronic products. He noted that these firms have to send their products abroad for testing and have to wait for a longer turnaround time for their product development.
?With this facility, they can do the testing here. The rates that this facility will charge will be significantly less that Asean rates. Instead of going outside or sending our products outside for testing, they can do that already here.”