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Top 5 Design Mistakes Affecting PCB Assembly

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Whether manufacturing for a large multinational tech company or a small electronics company, PCB assembly can be riddled with numerous challenges. Effective assembly requires smooth collaboration between designers, fabricators and manufacturers in order to deliver a high quality circuit board to the market. Mistakes made in design can hold grave consequences to the whole organization, especially where the design failures result in substandard products reaching the market.

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Topics: pcb assembly, PCB, technical design, design review, flex cracking, ceramic chip capacitor, performance environment, inadequate communication, EMS provider, design back up

Evaluating Cost Of Ownership In Contract Electronics Manufacturing

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Sep 22, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

The concept of total cost of ownership (TCO) is not new to the electronics industry. In essence, it is defined as the total direct and indirect cost and benefits associated with the purchase of any part, assembly, sub-assembly or product. There are many models, tools and techniques for evaluating TCO in different industries. The electronics industry has its own set of unique costs and economic realities. To evaluate TCO here, you need to understand the product in detail. 

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Topics: electronics manufacturing, contract electronics manufacturing, electronics industry, total cost of ownership, off shoring, out-sourcing, cost of ownership

Improving Quality of PCB Assembly Through Solder Ability Testing

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

All electronics, whether it be mobile smart phones or next generation computer systems have what is known as a printed circuit board. PCB for short, this is designed to support and connect electronic components inside the hardware. The conductive pathways found on the printed circuit board is wired together through the use of soldering. The soldering attaches metal, generally lead, gold or copper, between the different circuit boards in order to properly connect all equipment together inside the device. Inferior connections result in a loss of signal, poor circuit transfers and possible breakage. When it comes to PCB assembly, having impeccable soldering is essential, in order to establish and produce equipment with longevity.

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Topics: pcb assembly, PCB, soldering, solder ability testing

Improving Quality in SMT Manufacturing Through Moisture Control

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

SMT manufacturers should be aware that there is a tendency for plastic-encapsulated components to hold in moisture. While various steps can be taken to limit the effects of moisture in the environment, it is inevitable that a semiconductor manufacturer or OEM may still experience some of the issues related to trapped moisture. When moisture is trapped in this way, it leads to rapid thermal expansion that can damage equipment and leave an SMT manufacturing task compromised.

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Topics: product assembly, contract manufacturing, contract electronics manufacturing, smt manufacturing, moisture control, dry packaging

Demand for China Manufacturing Services Slows

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

According to HSBC, China's Purchase Manager's Index (PMI) fell to 50.1 in July signaling an unexpected contraction in manufacturing. Over the last few years, China's manufacturing services, especially for goods destined to the USA, has been on an upward trend. According to the PMI data released by HSBC, the decline in manufacturing in China in July 2012 was very close to an economic contraction. 50 points in the PMI is crossing point between an expansion and a contraction.

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Topics: contract manufacturing, manufacturing services, contract electronics manufacturing, purchase manager index, domestic market

Contract Manufacturing Moving Back to USA

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 07:00 AM
American manufacturing is finding itself in a much deserved media spotlight as more companies decide to set up shop for production here in the United States. After a couple of decades of steady job loss to offshoring, several companies, such as  Airbus which is building a plant in Alabama, are deciding to produce here in the U.S. 
But there's another trend taking place that's equally encouraging: reshoring. If you're not familiar with the term, reshoring refers to the trend of manufacturers bringing production back to North America after offshoring to a low-cost labor country such as China. For proponents of domestic manufacturing, this is great news. But the question remains, how can we propel this trend forward?
What's Driving the Reshoring Trend?
Before we can understand how to encourage more companies to come back to the U.S., we have to understand the factors that are driving this trend. While the exact reasons that companies decide to come back are varied, there are a few popularly cited reasons. Most of these reasons corrode the value of low-cost labor:
  • Chinese labor costs are expected to rise at a rate of 13 percent per year through 2015;
  • The cost of shipping products around the world is dramatically increasing;
  • Distance is making it difficult to design and collaborate on products; and, 
  • It’s increasingly difficult (and expensive) to protect intellectual property in China. 
Beyond these reasons, bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. is also great for company image and generating good will in the community as companies can tout the fact that their product is "Made in America." So how can we keep the trend moving forward?
Three Ways to Continue the Reshoring Trend
At the moment, reshoring is by no means the dominant trend in the industry, but it could be--at least for  some industries. The key issue for American manufacturing will be to not only understand what's causing companies to come back, but to understand how to continue the trend. According to Harry Moser of the  Reshoring Initiative and Mitch Free, CEO of  MFG.com, there are three main ways to propel this trend forward:
  • Create a more educated workforce that can fill skilled labor gaps and get Americans interested in manufacturing careers at all levels (e.g., assembly, engineering, management, etc.).
  • Use automated assembly processes to limit the labor input of production more extensively.
  • Help companies evaluate their true total cost of ownership (TCO) to help model the risks and costs of offshoring production. 
Once we can tackle these issues, we'll have a shot at changing reshoring from a trickle to a trend. What do you think it will take to keep domestic manufacturing moving forward?
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Topics: electronics manufacturing, contract manufacturing, manufacturing services, contract electronics manufacturing, Zentech technologies, smt manufacturing, total cost of ownership, Reshoring, offshoring, made in america

Ensuring Solder Quality in Electronics Contract Manufacturing

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Sep 08, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

In the past, post-assembly requirements for electronics contract manufacturing of boards were simpler compared to bare-board requirements. It was easy to purchase a board that didn’t have visible damage, but after investing money and time in the assembly, the product was no longer functioning well.  Because of this, improvement in the quality standards of electronic products became inevitable.

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Topics: electronics manufacturing, contract manufacturing, contract electronics manufacturing, electronics industry, Zentech technologies, soldering electronics, component lead times, electronic parts

Improving Reliability of Product Assembly through ESS Testing

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Sep 06, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

There are many factors to consider when deciding on a contract manufacturer to build your electronics or perform your product assembly. The first factor to come to mind is usually price, but there are others that are equally important. You also have to factor in quality control, shipping costs and reliability of the finished product. Unless your manufacturer has thoroughly tested the design and helped to make appropriate modifications, you could end up losing money in warranty repairs or even recalls.

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Topics: electronics manufacturing, product assembly, contract manufacturing, contract electronics manufacturing, electronics industry, technical design, ESS testing, reliability testing

Integrating Design and Electronics Manufacturing to Reduce Cost

Posted by Laura Austin on Wed, Sep 05, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Integrating Engineering Design and Electronics Manufacturing to Reduce Cost

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Topics: electronics manufacturing, contract manufacturing, manufacturing services, electronic design and manufacture, contract electronics manufacturing, electronics industry, SMT Assembly, Zentech technologies, electronic parts, design review, electronic design, manufacturing, engineering design