Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

Design, Build, Test: Highly Certified Contract Manufacturing

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

At Zentech, designing, building and testing complex mission critical electronics is our business. Learn more about our electronics contract manufacturing solutions on our brand new website. 

 

 

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies.The company has facilities in Baltimore, MD (headquarters) and Fredericksburg, Va. and maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified.

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Build the Tough Circuit Card Assemblies

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 @ 02:00 PM

Enabling success and innovation since 1998, Zentech has specialized in the design and manufacture of highly complex and mission critical electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. Learn more about our solutions on our brand new website. 

 

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies.The company has facilities in Baltimore, MD (headquarters) and Fredericksburg, Va. and maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified.

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do EMS Businesses Make the Right Capital Equipment Decisions?  

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Tue, Jan 09, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

matt1_web.jpgIn January's issue of SMT magazine, Matt Turpin, Zentech's President and CEO discusses making the right capital equipment (CAPEX) decisions.

View Full PDF Article


Being in the EMS business for about 35 years now, Turpin has already seen a lot of changes. According to him, in the old days—around 15 years or so back—an EMS firm could buy a set of equipment, and use the same set of equipment 10 years later. “Because technology just did not change that fast,” he says. “Back in the old days, you had a lot more mom-and-pop shops. A lot of Tier 4s and Tier 3s, because it wasn’t as capital intensive back then. It was great for an EMS business, selling from the equipment standpoint. I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘the good old days,’ but there’d be times where you bought the equipment, you could run the equipment, and things didn’t change that much. And then we entered a period where there was a rate of change, and we were like this until relatively recently, where you knew that there was new technology out there, but you could wait for a program, a customer, or an opportunity to come along before you buy. It’s like, ‘Okay, well, yeah I know that there are longer ovens out there. But if I get a 30-core layer board and it’s a big enough program, I’ll bite off and I’ll buy a new oven.”

Over the past five years, Turpin says you just don’t need to wait for a program because there was enough research to figure out what you needed. “You had to become fast with the technology to even know how you’d end up quoting, because you can’t just buy the equipment and start using it the next day. You have to develop a process around it. You’ve got to learn how to do it. You’ve got to hire people. In the EMS world, we are driven more towards having a technology roadmap, where we do need to plot out emerging technologies. Not just on the process side, but on the component side. Component suppliers are coming out with some crazy stuff that influences the equipment you need to process it. It is just creeping more into the EMS side.” As an example, Turpin said you cannot just get an oven only when you get a 34-layer board program. “You can’t just have one oven, you need to have three ovens that can do heavy layer boards and highly integrated BGA technology on those boards. You need more than one rework machine to be able to rework BGAs that are on that. You have to get out in front of that,” Turpin says.

One of the technologies that Zentech started looking at a year ago was cleaning technology. “We spent six months just looking at all the different versions. It used to be you’d see a couple of LGAs, a QFN, on a board. We’ve got some with hundreds of LGAs on a board now, and it forces you to a completely different cleaning paradigm where you can sort of clean it with the old stuff, but not really. So, you really need to look at new technologies all the time. It’s the same thing with 3D AXI. You can’t use a manual X-ray system when you have a Class 3 board with 400 bottom-terminating components. There’s no way any human being is going to accurately look at all those without glazing over. You need automated technology to do the heavy inspection on that type of work. You still have a human to do a sample to make sure you have compliant joints, but there’s no way you can screen all those bottom-terminated joints manually,” says Turpin.

How is automation, or the drive towards it, affecting the decision process in acquiring new equipment? 
“In the EMS world and certainly in the military/aero and the medical side, your raw material expense is going to be around 60–70% of your revenue,” says Turpin. “The number one expense, in our world, is raw materials. From an automation standpoint, you certainly want to be automated in terms of how you buy, plan and process your raw materials.” While direct labor is always important, Turpin says it’s even more important to have a robust process that can make sure you have virtually no scrap. “You’ve got these $25–$40,000-dollarapiece PCBAs running through your facility at relatively low profit, low contribution margin. You really can’t afford to have any scrap. Your shift is focused less on labor to more on quality, reliability, and taking scrap down to zero. And, pretty much, rework down to zero, too, because you can’t afford to hold onto these components for very long. You’re more looking for velocity than you are efficiency on the labor side. Having said that, you’re always concerned about efficiency, but it’s not like it was in the old days because labor, as each year goes by, is increasingly a smaller percentage of your spend. At least, in my world.” 

Advice for Designers 
“Engage with a PCB fabricator. And, at a minimum, understand their pain and their process, and, in general, what they can and can’t do. Because the problem nowadays with PCB design is that the barriers to entry for somebody to call themselves a PCB designer are so low. There are so many people out there as contractors. More and more, even large companies are moving toward a contractor model. There are some bad designers out there that don’t know anything about PCB fabrication, they don’t know anything about what the EMS company has to do, and they come out with some really, really bad layouts that are almost unproducible,” he notes. “And the problem is, with a lot of the ways the contracting worlds work, by the time it comes to Kathy and myself, the design has been bought and paid for, and you’ve got a customer that really doesn’t even know what it is they’re dealing with. Then we’ve got to be the bad guy to tell them that, ‘No, this really isn’t going to work, and you’ve got to do this, this, and this.’ And it slows things down. Or worse off, they just don’t have the time and they just try to build it as is. Or they go to some other bare board supplier that isn’t going to ask the right questions, and just produce something that isn’t manufacturable.”

Communication
Turpin prefers to get involved from the beginning. “Last year we acquired a design service bureau, so we could have the scale and the toolsets to be able to do the layout on pretty much any platform. And that has worked, so the extent that we can get involved in the beginning, do the layout up front, and take care of all those issues and make the bare board fabricator’s life easier, make our life easier, and generally make it up. We’re reliable, cost-effective, with quicker time to market,” says Turpin. “In some cases, the OEM will have their own engineers. And, generally, when they’re doing their own layout—which is probably half the time if we’re not doing the layout—our customer has a dedicated designer who knows what they’re doing, and they will almost always look for input before they release the final package.” “In other words, to do one final look through a DFM and DFA to bring out any things that may have been missed or, particularly with the new package types, we always get calls from designers in our customer base when they are using a new package, in terms of talking about what footprint to put in a design. Because most of them are smart enough not to use the footprint that the manufacturer gives. They’ll use that as a basis, but they’ll always tweak it based on something. But it’s not enough. I wish it was 100% of the time we or somebody else could get involved. I would say 25–30% of the time we just get what we get, and we try to make it work.” 

Conclusion
Don’t buy a piece of capital equipment unless you know what problem you’re trying to solve, whether it’s a technology problem, whether it’s a process problem. Maybe it is an efficiency problem. Know what you’re trying to solve, and then, whether it’s your evaluation requirements with the capex supplier, share those goals with them and how you’re going to evaluate it,” says Turpin. “Certainly, for a project plan, make sure that you’re checking for that, and in your turn-up of the process, that the problems you’re trying to solve are the processes you’re developing, and documenting, and rolling out during the roll out of the new piece of capex. But, that said, from a high level, start with a problem in mind. Don’t just start with, ‘Hey, I need to buy a piece of equipment X, Y, Z.’ Start with, ‘I’ve got a problem, A, B, C. How am I going to solve it?’” Finally, Turpin noted that, inasmuch as they want to be tightly integrated with their customers, he hopes that component manufacturers were as integrated with the automation suppliers. “To make sure that the things they’re doing are integrated with the way of properly placing components, cleaning components, inspecting components, things like that.” 

View article on SMT online flipbook.

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies.The company has facilities in Baltimore, MD (headquarters) and Fredericksburg, Va. and maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified.

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zentech Salutes Our Veterans and Those Actively Serving

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

veterans-day-2.jpg

Since 1998, Zentech has been proud to serve our military by building mission critical electronics that provide them the tools to perform their jobs and keep them safe while serving our great country.

On this Veteran's Day, Zentech remembers the great sacrifice our veterans and their families have made to give us the freedoms we enjoy. 

 

 

 

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD. Zentech-Fredericksburg Operations maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.) and IPC J-STD-001 certification. In addition, both Zentech locations are certified IPC Trusted Source suppliers for Class 3 mission-critical electronics. Zentech – Baltimore also is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML and AS9100 certified. 

Zentech Exhibiting at PCB Carolina

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Wed, Nov 08, 2017 @ 07:49 AM

PCB Carolina.jpgZentech is exhibiting today at PCB's Carolina's premier electronics trade show. Located in Raleigh near Research Triangle Park makes this a prime area for this highly technical conference on electronics.  There will be 16 technical sessions, a keynote address, a vendor exhibition with over 70 companies participating, food throughout the day, and best of all, this event is FREE to all attendees. 

                                                                                                                               Mike Brown, VP of Engineering Services and John Vaughan, VP of Sales and Marketing

This is the place to be if you are involved in any stage of electronics: Product Development, PCB Design, Signal Integrity, Electrical Engineering, Thermal, Mechanical, Test, Inspection, Contract Manufacturing, Technician, Debug, Compliance, Analysis, Purchasing, Management and more.

If you are local to the Raleigh area, stop by and see us!

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD. Zentech-Fredericksburg Operations maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.) and IPC J-STD-001 certification. In addition, both Zentech locations are certified IPC Trusted Source suppliers for Class 3 mission-critical electronics. Zentech – Baltimore also is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML and AS9100 certified.

Zentech Fredericksburg Awarded United States Navy Contract

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 @ 01:50 PM

For Immediate Release

October 17, 2017, Fredericksburg, VA

Zentech – Fredericksburg Operations, formerly Colonial Assembly and Design, is pleased to announce the receipt of a United States Navy Blanket Order Agreement (BOA).

The sole source BOA is for rapid technology integration of Special Mission Equipment (SME) on both manned and unmanned platforms in support of Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) and Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PMUAS).

The duration of the BOA is five-years with a ceiling amount of $5,000,000.00 and covers all Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Lifecycle phases for the required analog, digital, RF and fiber optic electronics.

The issuing agency is Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) – Crane Division as contract number N00164-18-G-JV01

Cynthia Snellings, VP Finance and Contracts at Zentech Fredericksburg comments, “We are extremely pleased to receive this five-year contract award and for the opportunity to continue our legacy of high-performance at Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division in support of our nation’s warfighters.”

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD. Zentech-Fredericksburg Operations maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.) and IPC J-STD-001 certification. In addition, both Zentech locations are certified IPC Trusted Source suppliers for Class 3 mission-critical electronics. Zentech – Baltimore also is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML and AS9100 certified.

view PDF version here

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

Point of Contact:  John Vaughan  Vice – President, Sales and Marketing

Q4 2017 Market Conditions Report for the Electronics Industry

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 @ 10:40 AM

Future Electronics recently released the Q4 2017 Market Conditions Report for the electronics industry.

DSC03170.jpgZentech works closely with Future Electronics and our customers to identify and prepare in advance for potential lead times issues. As economic activity continues to expand across all markets, it is important for OEM’s to review their upcoming requirements and forecasts carefully. There is nothing worse than working hard to land business and then learn that component lead times are going to prevent you from making committed deliveries to your customers. Contact your Zentech sales team member to discuss today. We can perform a lead time analysis for your program and best position you for success in the future in the wake of lead times creeping out, in some cases dramatically, for many component types.

Click the button below to read the report.Q4 2017 Market Conditions Report 

Q4 Market Conditions

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD and maintains several 
key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified.

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

Highly Certified Matters in Electronics Manufacturing

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 @ 02:23 PM

Certs.jpgMany electronics contract manufacturers (CM’s) are highly certified in their particular market focus areas. Certifications such as AS9100, IPC 610 Class 3, J-STD 001 and ISO13485 demonstrate the commitment to excellence of a potential contract manufacturer. Certifications provide a level of (objective) accountability that, first and foremost, protects you the customer. Certifications ensure that the contract manufacturer remains compliant with current industry standards, regulations, and best-practices which directly impact the quality and reliability of the products and services that the electronics contract manufacturer provides.

 


Zentech Certifications:

- AS9100:2009C  (Aerospace Specification)
- IPC 610 Class 3 Mission Critical Trusted Source (Qualified Manufacturers Listed) –
  Zentech operates two of the seven U.S. certified facilities     
- IPC 620 Certified (Wire Harness and Cable Assemblies)
- IPC J-STD-001 with Space Certification – one of two CM’s certified for Space
- ITAR registered
- Joint Certification Program (DD2345) for access to militarily sensitive Technical Data
  Packages
- ISO 9001:2008
- ISO 13485:2003
- FDA Certified Device Manufacturing Facility
- AS5553 Counterfeit Mitigation Compliant

Inspection Capabilities:
- J-STD-004 Compliant (Solder Paste Technology) + Inline 3D SPI (Solder Paste
  Inspection)
- AOI Systems (Automated Optical Inspection)
- 3D Automated X-Ray Inspection – AXI
Seica Pilot 4D V8 Flying Probe Testing

- on track to be fully compliant with NIST 800-171 by December 2017. 

Contact Zentech today to discuss your complex electronics builds. 

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD and maintains several 
key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified. 

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

NIST 800-171: Is Your Company Prepared for 2018?

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, published a document in December 2016, protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in Nonfederal Systems and Organizations. All organizations doing business with government primes must be compliant by 12/31/17. In order to continue to receive Purchase Orders from government primes in 2018, all companies MUST be compliant with NIST 800-171.

The protection of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) resident in nonfederal systems and organizations is of paramount importance to federal agencies and can directly impact the ability of the federal government to successfully conduct its assigned missions and business operations. This publication provides federal agencies with a set of recommended security requirements for protecting the confidentiality of CUI when such information is resident in nonfederal systems and organizations; when the nonfederal organization is not collecting or maintaining information on behalf of a federal agency or using or operating a system on behalf of an agency; and where there are no specific safeguarding requirements for protecting the confidentiality of CUI prescribed by the authorizing law, regulation, or governmentwide policy for the CUI category or subcategory listed in the CUI Registry. The security requirements apply to all components of nonfederal systems and organizations that process, store, or transmit CUI, or that provide security protection for such components. The requirements are intended for use by federal agencies in contractual vehicles or other agreements established between those agencies and nonfederal organizations.*

NIST outlines 14 families of requirements, each with extensive subsections:

1. Access Control
2. Awareness and Training
3. Audit and Accountability
4. Configuration Management
5. Identification and Authentication
6. Incident Response
7. Maintenance
8. Media Protection
9. Personnel Security
10. Physical Protection
11. Risk Assessment
12. Security Assessment
13. System & Communications Protection
14. System & Information Integrity

Zentech has been proactively addressing the 14 families and their associated requirements. To assist electronics industry professionals in their understanding of the impact and to best prepare their company for these requirements, I interviewed Clint Fleming, Zentech's VP of Program Management and IT.

SW: This new document was published by NIST in December 2016. How long has Zentech been preparing for these changes, and how long do you recommend a company to prepare in advance?

      CF: Zentech has been preparing since publication of the document. I would recommend 6 months to        
      prepare, if you take into consideration an IT professional's regular day-to-day activities and other long term         projects. In that the deadline is only 4 months away, if you have not started this process, you will need to
      quickly appoint a task team and accelerate your efforts.

SW: How do these requirements differ from what has been required by NIST in the past?

      CF: These requirements require, most importantly, a 2 factor identification to access all CUI data, and that
      all data be managed in a secure cloud-based environment. It also requires that as a sub-prime, that the               subprime report its full compliance to each government prime that it works with in order to continue
      business with them.

SW: What has been the most challenging of the requirements thus far?

      CF: From a practical, day-to-day, on-the-shop-floor perspective, the 2 factor authentication will be the                 most challenging to adapt to. Two factor authentications take more time, and those seconds add up and
      could affect productivity. They also time-out after a specified number of minutes and credentials have to be
      re-entered. 
      The other significant factor is the accounting of hard copies. Companies must create a process for
      keeping track of all hard copies printed each day that contain CUI data and account for them. Inevitably,
      there are hard copies as an operator has multiple items he/she needs to view at the same time. Even if your       company added more monitors to reduce the number of hard copies, many plants are up against floor 
      space constraints. Now is the time for organizations to address these challenges and create processes and
      procedures that will continue to allow the company to run efficiently under the new requirements.

SW: What is the deadline for compliance and what are the ramifications of non-compliance?

      CF: All companies doing business with government primes must be compliant by 12/31/17 or they cannot           receive any DoD related purchase orders in 2018.

 

*From the document, NIST Special Publication 800-171, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD and maintains several 
key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified. 

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

Zentech to Exhibit at Maryland Manufacturing Day; Join Governor Hogan and Others

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 @ 02:00 PM

Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. (Baltimore, Md.) is proud to announce our continued support of National Manufacturing Day with our exhibitor participation in the Regional Manufacturing Institute’s (RMI) Maryland Manufacturing Day event on October 6, 2017 at Martin’s West.

We hope that you can join us and support advanced manufacturing and STEM education in the State of Maryland.

About Zentech: Zentech Manufacturing, Inc. is a privately held, engineering-driven contract manufacturer specializing in the design and manufacture of highly-complex electronic and RF circuit cards and assemblies. The company is headquartered in its purpose-built facility located in Baltimore, MD and maintains several key certifications, including ISO 9001:2008, ITAR (US State Dept.), AS9100 (aerospace), and ISO 13485 (medical). In addition, Zentech is a certified IPC Trusted Source supplier for Class 3 mission-critical electronics, and the company is IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum QML certified.

Zentech Baltimore Video Tour

Zentech Fredericksburg Video Tour

 

Sign up Now for October 6, 2017 
 
Technology Showcase and Matchmaking Event 
 
RMI Premier Sponsor
Maryland Department of Commerce
 
gov hogan
Governor Larry Hogan
Join Governor Hogan, Maryland advanced manufacturers and top college and university STEM-related teams on this important occasion to raise the profile of our industry.
 
RMI and the Maryland MEP are co-hosting this technology showcase and matchmaking event on October 6 at Martin's West to feature the following: 
 
 Amazing technologies and talent from our Maryland universities with applications for advanced manufacturing right here in our State. Confirmed exhibiting teams include the Hopkins Rocketry Club, UMD VR Club (MPLEX), MICA Digital Fabrication, the Maryland Unmanned Autonomous Systems team, Hopkins Space Team, Terrapin Works, Maryland Robotics Club teams, Terps Racing Team, UMBC Baja SAE Racing Team and more.
 
Top Maryland advanced manufacturing companies like Textron Systems, Zentech, Stanley Black & Decker, PRS Guitars, Maritime Applied Physics Corporation, Arnold Packaging and Ready Robotics, Harbor Designs Manufacturing, Holmatro, Xometry, Knorr Brake Company, Direct Dimensions, Orlando Products, North American Millwright and more will showcase a variety of technologies including 3D, robotics, electronics and other advanced manufacturing applications for attending students.