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trade with estonia

Outsourcing against shortage of skilled workers

As part of their sourcing processes, it is worthwhile for manufacturing industries to look at Estonia. Known as the most digital country in the world, it has also digitised large parts of its industries, following its administrative and educational systems. The ‘Digital Economy and Society Index’ for the digital competitiveness of EU member states ranks Estonia among the leading providers of solutions for digital transformation. This allows companies to solve skills shortages through outsourcing.

“The geographical proximity for example between Germany and Estonia makes cooperation easy,” says Leana Kammertöns, Export Advisor at the Enterprise Estonia economic development agency. The short delivery routes and times contribute to efficiency, and identical laws across the EU ensure legal certainty.

“Estonia is export-oriented,” explains Leana Kammertöns. “For example, as one of Estonia’s leading industries, mechanical and plant engineering and electronics achieve an export ratio of over 80 percent.”

Specialising in sophisticated EMS contract manufacturing

With its electronic manufacturing services (EMS), Incap Estonia is one of the companies that stands for outsourcing as a method. “We specialise in electronic contract manufacturing and prototype and pre-series production,” says Margus Jakobson, Managing Director at Incap. “Our customers benefit through synergies by outsourcing parts of their production to us while focusing on their core competencies.” Incap, a so-called mid-cap company with 2500 employees, serves automotive, medical technology, transportation, and infrastructure industries with control and automation solutions.

Incap produces lead-free printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies on state-of-the-art machinery and offers integration of box-build solutions. Box Build simplifies integrating electronics into housing; this includes technologies, design and development processes, and serial production. Customised prototype projects, design validation or cable and harness assembly for the automotive industry complete the portfolio. A newly opened third SMT (Surface Mount Technology) line expands capacity by 50 percent.

Among other services Incap supports the first solar car design in the Baltics – the Solaride project. “Solar mobility combines knowledge from research and practice and is a field where business and science meet,” says Margus Jakobson, Managing Director at Incap. Photo: Arno Mikkor

Incap has automated and digitalised its production to a high degree. Automatic optical inspection (AOI) methods, for example, enable quality control during all steps in PCB production. The company is certified to several ISO standards, such as ISO 13485, which stands for the requirements of a comprehensive quality management system for designing and manufacturing medical products.

Solar mobility – business meets science 

“One example illustrating our breadth of services is solar mobility,” explains Margus Jakobson. It requires engineering know-how from various disciplines – such as materials science, drive technology, battery management and mechanical engineering in general. “Solar mobility combines knowledge from research and practice and is a field where business and science meet.”

Incap supports the first solar car designed in the Baltics: the Solaride project was initiated in 2020 by Estonian students at the University of Tartu. Today, it is an interdisciplinary educational and collaborative project with over 300 high school students, mentors, trainers and partners. The Solaride car premiered in 2021 at the Solar Challenge in Morocco and currently reaches a top speed of just under 100 km/h, carries 4 people and has a range of over 750 km.

Estonia has the know-how and location to quickly supply the Central European market.
Leana Kammertöns, Export Advisor at the Enterprise Estonia

“For Solaride, Incap has produced several electronic boards, including the ECU Electronic Control Unit, the battery management system and the sensor boards,” says Margus Jakobson. “The project promotes the flexibility required in contract manufacturing today, such as interdisciplinary knowledge or teamwork.”

Solaride aims to promote engineering education and sustainable technology, and to provide young talent with valuable practical experience and skills. “Estonia is among the countries with the highest level of education and is leading in terms of mathematics, science and ICT – all subject areas that count here,” says Leana Kammertöns. “Incap promotes industry competitiveness and innovation through its involvement in the Estonian Electronics Industry Association by matching members with talented young professionals.”

Estonia has the necessary expertise to reach the European market

Whether as a development and cooperation partner or a contract manufacturer, the Estonian electronics industry is open for business with other countries. “Estonia has the know-how and location to quickly supply the Central European market,” says Leana Kammertöns.

Incap is structurally positioned to serve medium-sized and multinational customers with outsourcing solutions. Incap’s plant in western Estonia is one of several international operations and offices; it is located in an EMS cluster and employs 120 people in an area of 7300 sqm. The demand for electronics is growing. The increasing need for green energy, medical equipment, emerging 5G and IoT ecosystems, and the proliferation of electric vehicles contribute to the growth of demand.

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Need more information?

What is it like to trade with Estonia? How to benefit from the e-solutions and the efficiency of our business culture? What are the opportunities in specific sectors?

The Estonian Trade Development Agency’s team is happy to help you via the complimentary e-consulting service.

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