System like Ultrabooks and Apples MacBook have put pressure on the manufacturing in a new way when it comes to notebooks. ODM Quanta has now purchased new CNC machines for making its own unibody cases for partners and customers.
A big problem, the cost, is largely due to the chassis construction. With such thin designs you need new tricks and more powerful material to make a stable and sturdy oncstruction. One solution is to carve the case from a big piece of aluminum and magnesium, which requires special tools. Several ODM companies already have these, but Apple is solely occupying the majority of these. This has made the case a much more expensive component in Ultrabooks than regular notebooks.
Most ODM companies have started working with third-party actors to make these cases, but Quanta has now purchased its own CNC equipemtn to build unibody cases in-house . Quanta decided to do this to be able to reduce manufacturing costs in the long run, as Chinese labour will become more expensive in the future.
Compal has instead decided to work with case maker Ju Teng to expand its capacity of CNC equipment from 1,200 to 2,500 toward the end of Q2. Also Inventec has started working with a number of actors, to be ready to ship large quantities of Ultrabooks and Ultrathins in Q2.
Wistron are still hunting for a partner. Besides that they are developing material for building cases with the same thickness as metal cases,while offering higher quality and more color options.