Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

The US Assembly Manufacturing Sector Continues Its Solid Growth

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

Assembly-Manufacturing-2Overall trends in US assembly manufacturing point to America continuing to be a strong player in the global electronics manufacturing industry.  

The latest numbers on industry trends at first look a bit bad for domestic electronics assembly.  After nearly uninterrupted growth for most of last year, there was a slight dip in reported shipments for Q1 2015.  Numbers are still higher than they were this time last year, however.  It's also not hard to chalk the decline down to simply being in the post-Christmas season.  Just picking one representative industry, it's clear that smartphone sales take a big dip in Q1 pretty much every year.

The clear bright side here is that even as shipments in Q1 slumped, reported orders shot upwards by nearly ten billion dollars in just a couple months, bringing orders to the highest level in years.  That means we're going to be seeing big increases in domestically-assembled shipments throughout the rest of 2015.

Why are electronics companies continuing to reshore their work?  It's not hard to find reasons why.

It's No Surprise US Electronics Assembly/Manufacturing Keep Growing

1 - Short, flexible supply lines

Product churn among consumers and businesses continues to grow, and functional product lifespans continue to shrink.  It's now commonplace for consumers to upgrade hardware annually, and many businesses are doing likewise in their attempts to keep their network up-to-date.  

This means any electronics producer needs to be consistently on top of tech trends, and able to deploy products with shorter lead times.  This isn't compatible with outsourcers who span the globe with supply lines that could take six+ months to reconfigure.  

When everything is domestic, the supply lines can be fast  and flexible to meet ever-changing market needs.

2 - Guaranteed components and IP protectionsPCB-Repair-Services3

There are a significant and widely-acknowledged problems with Chinese manufacturing, both in terms of guaranteeing the authenticity of components and in terms of IP theft.  Direct oversight of overseas manufacturers is nearly impossible, and their supply lines are rife with corruption.

America -which enjoys some of the strongest IP protections in the world- has been working hard to prevent these problems.  Trusted US manufacturers use computer-controlled per-component tracking, such as QR codes or RFID systems, specifically to ensure every piece of electronics is genuine.  Likewise, those strong American IP protections ensure your designs remain your designs.

3 - All-in-one service options

Among the many hidden costs in extensive overseas outsourcing is that nearly all the contracted firms are specialists, providing exactly one service.  This can easily create a web of third-party hands on the product, none of which having much direct contact with the other.  Design happens in one firm, assembly in another, documentation in a third, and post-sale support handled by yet another virtualized service.

Ever hear the old one about too many cooks spoiling the soup?

American electronics manufacturers have the ability to keep everything under one roof.  Their designers have direct access to the plants making the equipment.  Tech support reps can query the engineers or leave feedback on issues that have been discovered.  Predictive systems can optimize your parts buys based on tested failure rates.  This saves money and creates a far better customer experience as well.

American electronics manufacturing is on the rise.  To learn more about the benefits to your company, contact ZenTech today

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: assembly manufacturing, assembly manufacturer

Assembly Solutions: How They Solve Your Problems

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Though mostassembly-solutions people may not realize it, the fact stands that manufacturing services and assembly solutions require some of the most skilled and careful employees in today's workforce. After all, designing and crafting precise electronics are extremely challenging processes. Ultimately, this is the reason that many electronics companies decide to seek out a manufacturer who offers design and assembly solutions. But why should you outsource the manufacture of your products instead of handling it in-house? Here is a look at three ways that professional assembly solutions can solve your problems, and how to get the most out of your investment. 

1. Excellent Quality

As a business owner, it is understandable that you've got money on the brain. Of course you don't want to blow your budget on manufacturing costs, but quality should always be your primary concern when considering your assembly solutions options. After all, if you're not offering top grade products to your customers, you're going to lose a lot of revenue anyway. So what is the best way to determine whether or not a manufacturer will deliver the level of precision and quality that you require for your electronics? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do your research - Not sure if you can trust an electronic contract manufacturer? Look them up online. These days, it's easy to find an online review of a company. It's also a good idea to check out the company's website to see what their professional profile looks like. Do they cater to your specific industry? This can make a huge difference in the quality of their work.

  • Ask for referrals - Your prospective manufacturing company should be more than able to supply you with a list of previous clients who were happy with their design and assembly solutions.

  • Order prototypes - One of the best ways to test a contract electronic manufacturer's abilities is through the order of prototypes. This will enable you to check out an example of the finished product(s) that will eventually be offered to your customers. By requesting a small batch, you will be able to see how much attention to detail is given to each prototype, plainly revealing how precise and committed to excellence the manufacturer really is.

  • Watch out for counterfeiting - A huge risk associated with working with offshore assembly solutions is the integration of counterfeit parts into your products. When reading reviews on your prospective manufacturing service or inspecting your prototype, be on the lookout for counterfeiting to ensure that you're receiving only high quality finished products.  

2. Save Money
electronics-assembly-solutions
Once you are confident in your possible manufacturer's ability to del
iver stellar electronics, you can narrow your options down further by considering price. Here are two things to look for that will help to keep your costs under control:

  • Product Testing - Make sure to find out how your manufacturer tests the functionality and quality of finished products. Quality control is key to ensuring that your customers won't be sending back malfunctioning equipment, costing you more money on replacement, and possibly even causing you to lose business.

  • Robotics - Today, many manufacturers incorporate robotics into their assembly solutions. Robotic arms are capable of handling small scale assembly work that requires a great deal of precision and accuracy. Once assembly is completed, humans are able to check the work and make any corrections. Because the robotic equipment doesn't expect a paycheck at the end of the week, the manufacturer is able to save a significant amount of money and can then pass those savings onto you. 

3. Feel Comfortable

The last thing to consider when choosing an electronics assembly service is your level of comfort with the manufacturer. It's important to develop a relationship with open communication. When you feel confident that your manufacturer is truly listening to your needs and feedback, you'll find that the process of outsourcing your assembly solutions goes much smoother. 

How could professional assembly solutions help to solve your manufacturing services problems?

 

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Topics: assembly electronics solution, assembly solutions, assembly manufacturer, assembly electronic

4 Ways A Contract Manufacturer Can Provide Solutions For You

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, May 07, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

pc boards

No one likes to hear about a problem, but everyone is ready for a good solution! Unfortunately, finding an efficient and effective method for resolving any issues that your busies may be having can be a bit more challenging than it initially sounds - especially if your resources are somewhat limited. The good news for SMBs in the electronics industry is that a contract manufacturing company can actually help to stretch your resources, and empower your company by providing you with affordable and workable solutions that can improve your customer satisfaction rates and boost your sales revenue.

Let's explore just a few of the ways that a contract manufacturer can help to provide solutions to your problems and drive your cares away.    

Solutions for Design  

An efficient and effective product begins with the design of an efficient and effective PC board. In order to keep labor and material costs as low as possible throughout the design and manufacture process, it's extremely important that you'e able to create specs for a board the first time around. This requires a lot of careful planning, including size considerations and constraints, board thickness, necessary components, functionality, and layout. Even a seemingly insignificant miscalculation or misstep could result in a costly error, or even the loss of hour and hours of hard work.  

The problem for small businesses is that they don't always have the necessary labor force to dedicate as much time as is required for the design process. Cutting corners, though is not the answer. The best contract manufacturing companies will employ highly skilled and experienced design and engineering professionals who can help you with every step of the design process, depending on how involved you want them to be. Whether they are simply reviewing your team's plans to ensure that they are as efficient as possible, or are developing design schematics from scratch, you can count on their expertise to improve your boards.  

Solutions for Product Assembly  

There's no job that's too big or too small for a good contract manufacturing company to handle. When you're in a jam where you are unsure if you'll be able to meet a deadline for a batch order or prototype, a contract manufacturer can step up to the plate and ensure that your boards are produced correctly and on time. And through skilled labor, advanced machinery and robotics, and streamlined processes, the time and costs associated with batch assembly can both be reduced. 

Solutions for Equipment & Partsmotherboard  

As electronic devices grow more complex, yet more compact, the need for smaller, lighter, and denser PCBs becomes necessary. Without the right tools and latest technologies to assist you through the process of design and assembly, though, meeting this need can be extremely challenging. Unfortunately, engineering and manufacturing equipment can be a very costly initial investment, and require a good amount of upkeep and maintenance in order to continue functioning in a way that meets your needs. As a result, many "underdog" electronics companies are unable to afford to keep up with the competition. Partnering with a tech-savvy contract manufacturer can enable you to take advantage of the latest and greatest technologies without spending your own money.  

In addition to this, you may find that contract manufacturers have established strong relationships and connections with parts suppliers. As a result, you may notice that your manufacturing costs are decreased, as your contract manufacturing partner can help you to get the best deals possible on board components.    

Solutions for Repairs  

Spending too much on warranty replacements? There's no need to throw away money on a unit that is only struggling to function properly because of a single faulty component. Allow your contract manufacturer to troubleshoot the problem and repair it for a fraction of the cost.

No matter what the trouble, you can count on the fact that a reliable contract manufacturing company can provide the perfect solution for your business.

 

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Topics: assembly electronics solution, assembly solutions, assembly manufacturer, assembly electronic

Issues To Avoid In PC Board Assembly

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

 PC Board AssemblyWith so many options in electronics partners and printed circuit board assembly, there are also so many ways the process can go wrong.  Simply having a great idea and a market to match isn't enough to guarantee success in the electronics business:  The wrong PCB assembler could still undo all your other work.

Many of these issues can be prevented early on, but it's a "forewarned is forearmed" situation.  The more deeply-set these problems are in an PC board assembly service, the more likely it is to affect your end product.

Choosing The Best PCB Assembly Service For Your Needs

1 - Communication Issues

Electronics manufacturing should not be treated as a "fire and forget" solution.  A good product requires a consistent flow of information back and forth between the assembler and the company ordering it.   This includes plenty of prototyping and testing, with feedback to match.

This can be difficult to achieve with domestic assemblers, and it's far more difficult when dealing with overseas operations.  If you're looking offshore for assembly, we strongly recommend you hire a translator you can trust (ie, not local to the assembler) and keep them stationed on-site.

If you're relying on your manufacturer to provide translation/communication, you will simply never know whether they're being honest or not.

2 - Long Supply Lines

When choosing an assembly service, their logistics become your logistics.  If they're sourcing parts from halfway around the world, with a 4-6 month lead time, this can be hugely detrimental to your operations.

Besides the obvious costs in fuel and transportation, it also limits your flexibility.  Today's market is more reactive and faster-changing than any other market in history.  Six months can see a product go from fad to has-been.  

If you lack the ability to quickly respond to new market forces, and give customers what they want when they ask for it, you're probably going to lose business to other, more flexible companies.

3 - Robust Manufacturing Facilities

You should always have a very good idea of the facilities a manufacturer has on-site.  Don't take anything on faith and, especially, don't deal with PC board assemblers who won't discuss their own equipment.  This virtually always means it's antiquated or, worse, they're secretly outsourcing the work themselves to a company you wouldn't know about.

american pcb assemblyTo be able to produce a full range of products -especially ones with multiple variations- you need an assembler who has invested in a full range of manufacturing facilities including support for both surface-mount and through-hole production, hot and cold and clean rooms, and computer-aided testing facilities.

Pay attention to standards compliance as well, especially those issued through IEEE.  A facility with high-level IEEE certifications will be much more likely to produce high-quality goods.

4 - Computerized Components Tracking

Counterfeit parts are one of THE biggest challenges in electronics assembly today.  Even the US Air Force discovered frauds in their own supply lines a few years ago.  

The one and only way to counteract this is to work with a manufacturer who uses tracking services to guarantee each and every part comes directly from a legitimate supplier, and is never 'swapped' anywhere in the process.  When parts are tracked via QR Codes, RFID, or other computerized services, their provenance can be demonstrated with a far greater degree of certainty than is ever possible using hand-done surveys.

After all, at the end of the day, all it takes is one corrupt manager somewhere in the process to jinx your supply line.  Human fallibility must be removed from the process as much as possible.

There's A World Of Electronics Manufacturing.  Choose Wisely.

Finding good PC board assembly services requires patience and a willingness to do research.  Companies that simply choose the cheapest vendor usually come to regret it due to ongoing and unpredicted problems.

An assembly service with robust manufacturing abilities will virtually always pay off in higher ROIs, better products, and happier customers.

 

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

 

photo credit: fdecomite via photopin cc photo credit: Neil Hunt via photopin cc

Topics: assembly manufacturer, pc board assembly, assembly manufacturing companies

Getting The Most From Your Assembly Electronic Service

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Assembly Electronic Service

There's a world of manufacturing options out there, literally.  Since the outsourced manufacturing boom of the 90s-00s, the only challenge facing a company looking for assembly electronic solutions is sorting through the many, many options on the table.

For a lot of companies, the options boil down to "who has the lowest prices?" but that's really only the start of the matter.  Sure, there are plenty of assembly plants that will provide what you ask for, more or less, but you can ultimately get far more out of your assembly service without paying too much more money.

In the cost-benefit breakdown, these services will ultimately enhance the value of your assembly outsourcing center.  

Important Tips For Getting The Best In Electronic Assembly Solutions

1 - Take Time With The Prototypes

When a design is in the prototyping phase, there is usually a lot of pressure to have it work, and work the first time.  However, this is one area where, at Zentech, we feel that extra time and attention is necessary.  We're happy to work on bug-testing and troubleshooting prototypes as long as it takes, because ultimately, a poor prototype put into production reflects badly on us, even if it was designed "to spec."

Also, companies with higher-quality production facilities can often make improvements to the design, based on their own capabilities, that can reduce costs or boost reliability. 

Plenty of outsourced assembly electronic services are happy to take whatever plans you hand them, and pump them out.  A supplier who's willing to be a partner, and wants to see your designs made better will be a much better long-term value.

2 - Demand Strict Component Oversight

Sadly, it's usually this simple:  If your assembly solution isn't using individual parts tracking, throughout every aspect of their supply chain, there's a good chance you won't get what you ordered.  Especially when dealing with overseas industry, it becomes very easy for "substitutions" to be made, such as using counterfeit parts in place of the real thing.  In many cases, even the contractors themselves don't know until after it happens.

In fact, a couple years ago, even the US Air Force discovered counterfeits in their overseas supply lines.

Ultimately, an end-to-end tracking solution is truly the ONLY solution here.  If a contractor cannot prove the provenance of a given component, there's no way you can ever know if it's legitimate.

3 - Prioritize Your Batch-ProcessingAssembly Electronic

Even at manufacturing centers that specialize in high-complexity orders, where a given system may have several variations, this this is not without new costs.  Every time the machines have to be re-configured for a new batch, it costs both time and money.  

We strongly suggest smart prioritization, where you start with your largest batches first, fulfill those, and then move onto the smaller or niche batches.  The fewer equipment re-sets are needed, the less time and money the production run will cost.

If possible, make use of consultants within your manufacturing center.  They often have insights into the market, and future trends, that can help you sort out the right manufacturing order for a complex batch of systems.

4 - Utilize On-Site Tech Support / Fulfillment Services

Why should your electronics assembly firm be cut out of the picture after the item ships?  Broadly speaking, they're going to be most familiar with the technology, and likely have the best services in place for handling replacements or repairs.

When you find an assembly service that handles post-sale support as well, it takes a huge load off your company's shoulders.  The parts are there and the expertise is there, so it makes sense for them to handle those services.

Keep Looking For More In Your Electronics Assembly Contractor! 

Don't simply look for the lowest prices, because you're likely to get mired in hidden fees and extra back-end costs.  Contact ZenTech today for a free consultation, and to see above-and-beyond contract assembly for yourself!

 

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Topics: assembly manufacturer, assembly electronic, pc board assembly

Is Poor Communication Holding Back Your PC Board Assembly Solution?

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

pc board assembly

When companies are looking to outsource their Printed Circuit Board (PCB) assembly, especially offshore, they may fail to consider the importance of communication and oversight in these processes. Good PCB design and assembly requires a two-way street, with a partner who's listening to you and your business needs.

If those communications break down, or if your assembly source is so far away that oversight becomes impossible, the chances of something going wrong in the design increase dramatically.

So, we wanted to talk about common problems we hear about, when dealing with clients who've gotten burned thanks to poor communication. If any of these describe your manufacturing partner, it may be time to survey the field again.

Communications Problems To Avoid In Outsourced PCB Assembly

1 - Too many cooks in the kitchen.

The boom in electronics sub-contracting has, unsurprisingly, created a boom in sub-sub-contracting. It's all too common for a low-bidding manufacturer to be outsourcing most or all of their own services, and possibly without even telling you about it.

Granted, everyone has to source parts, but by and large, you should be able to survey and oversee their manufacturing facilities for yourself. If suddenly it turns out your equipment is being assembled in five different facilities, you're likely to never be able to guarantee QA on all of it.

2 - Poor Parts Tracking

Speaking of sourcing parts, are you certain your PCB assembly service is getting the real deal? It's extremely easy for "substitutions" to be made somewhere along the line, and suddenly your Intel processor turns out to be an "Imtel" instead.

We cannot recommend enough hiring a PCB service with supply lines that track each component through the production process. Seeing as this can be achieved with dirt-cheap RFID tags, or even plain QR Codes, it's not too much to ask. It's closer to a necessity.

3 - End-User Environmental Considerations

It's the "spherical horse" problem. Systems engineers are often operating in a vacuum, creating an optimal product for an optimal environment, without considering how it's actually going to be used. We've seen a lot of failed designs come to us for fixing, thanks to a lack of communication about the target users.

pc board manufacturingAs a simple example: If your electronics are only rated down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and you're trying to sell to people in Minnesota, your product will start breaking as soon as their cruel winter hits. The same, of course, could be true for high temperatures, air pressure, humidity levels, or a variety of other local factors. (If you're making a product for children, is it designed to hold up to the abuse a child would put it through?)

The design and testing of your electronics must consider the real-world environments in which they'll be used, and this crucial bit of information is too-often lost in the back-and-forth of outsourced PCB assembly.

4 - Too Few Design Reviews

Sort of as a consequence of all of this, the design reviews of prototypes and test builds will usually suffer. When the parts supply is questionable, the manufacturing sub-sub-contracted, and the engineers are cut off, the result is that your product will never get proper and effective design / QA reviews.

And those, of course, are all-important since they determine whether you "pull the trigger" on a particular batch order. If the product isn't really ready, and goes into production anyway, market disasters will likely follow.

So, the cumulative result of working with a PCB assembler with robust communication lines is that you'll know for certain that you have the right product, for the right audience, with the right quality assurances.

Ready For Superior Solutions?

Don't look overseas for your PCB assembly! Domestic manufacturers are only slightly more expensive - only about 5% - and offer far more opportunities for oversight and communication.

Contact ZenTech today to learn more about modern domestic electronics assembly!

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Topics: assembly manufacturer, assembly electronic, pc board assembly

The Dos & Don'ts Of Hiring A PCB Assembly Manufacturer

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Jul 03, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

electronics contract manufacturing company

If you've been thinking about soliciting the help of a third party PCB assembly manufacturer, you're not alone. Many small and medium sized electronics businesses are realizing how beneficial it can be to partner with a contract manufacturing service, both as a means of saving money and improving the quality of their finished products. Despite the fact that there are many such contract manufacturing services, though, it's important that you are aware of what to look for before partnering with another company. This will ensure that you get the most bang for your buck, and preserve the integrity of your boards, enabling yourself to move forward and grow. If you're not sure how to go about reviewing your prospects, take a look at these "dos" and "don'ts" to selecting a PCB assembly manufacturing service.

DO Consider Location

Some businesses make the mistake of turning their eyes overseas when looking for a contract manufacturing company. In many cases, offshore companies will charge less money for PC board assembly services, but there's a reason for that. Offshore companies don't always adhere to the same safety and labor standards that we value in the United States. Counterfeit parts may be utilized in order to shave off costs and cut corners. This could compromise the quality of your devices, and even make you liable for lawsuits. As a result, it's best to keep your sights on qualified American companies.

DON'T Focus Solely on Price

To reiterate the last point, you should never contract with a third party PCB assembly service based on price alone. Remember that you get what you pay for. If there's a business that's offering you a bid that is either significantly lower or higher than its competitors, something is probably wrong. It's best to look at all of the merits of a company before making a decision.

DO Ask About Experience

How long has your prospective contract manufacturing company been in business? And how long were its owners and employees working in the industry before the business was first established? This will give you an idea about how passionate your potential partners are about the craft, and their ability to please and retain their customers. 

DON'T Hesitate to Request Customer Reviews

It's always a good idea to ask a PCB assembly manufacturer to provide you with references to customers who have been satisfied with their work in the past. This will allow you to ask about the quality of the boards designed and produced by the company, as well as the timeliness with which they handled the jobs given to them.

DO Inquire About Equipment & Processeselectronics contract manufacturing

Take the time to investigate how your contract manufacture goes about designing and assembling boards, and what types of machinery and equipment are being used as this will impact the quality of your devices.

DON'T Limit Your Scope

Right now, you may only think that you'll need to work with a PCB assembly manufacturer to assist you in quickly and efficiently turning out batch orders to meet your customer's demands. But just because that's what you need in the moment doesn't mean that you won't desire or require further assistance down the road. As a result, it's smart to look for a contract manufacturing company that can also help you with design services, as well as troubleshooting and repairs down the road, if need be.

DO Ensure that Industry Standards are Followed

Never give your business to a contract manufacturing service that isn't up-to-date with the latest industry standards for safety and quality. Be sure to ask about the company's credentials before signing any contracts. A good company will be happy to offer proof.

There's no reason for you to ever settle for anything less than the best. By following these tips, you can find a PCB assembly manufacturer that is as passionate about helping you to develop a superior product as you are.

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Topics: pcb assembly service, assembly manufacturer, pcb assembly manufacturer

Why Hire American Contract Manufacturers?

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

pcb design

It's not uncommon for small to midsize electronics companies to seek out the assistance of a contract manufacturing vendor as a means of reducing the time, costs, and other burdens associated with the production of PC boards. Contract manufacturing businesses exist all throughout the world, providing companies like yours with many options. Unfortunately, while many offshore contract manufacturers offer lower prices than their American competitors, the quality of their boards are often subpar. But what is it, exactly, that makes American businesses better and sets them apart? This post will take a deeper look at why you should only consider partnering with an American manufacturing service.

6 Reasons to Hire American Contractors

1. Consistent Training & Education

Hiring an overseas contract manufacturer can be risky in that there's no guarantee of the training, knowledge, and experience of the vendor that you select and its employees. Offshore businesses often do not follow the same vocational education and training patterns as we do in the United States. This can lead to confusion and inconsistencies in the quality of your boards. As a result, it's smart to stick with a contract manufacturer that is housed in the United States.

2. Adherence to Quality & Standards

Another major issues with giving your business to a foreign contract manufacturing service is that they may not comply with the industry standards that have been set for here in the United States. This can significantly compromise the quality of your products, reducing efficiency, effectiveness, and longevity. Your customers will be disappointed, and you could even get yourself in trouble for not adhering to industry standards and regulations.

3. Focus on Safety

One of the primary reasons that so many offshore contract manufacturers have the ability to charge their customers less money for PC board assembly is that they cut corners and make use of counterfeit parts. Doing so can actually create safety issues with the board's operation, and can negatively impact the performance and safety value of the products that you sell. Ultimately, this could lead to expensive product recalls and even lawsuits. To avoid disastrous problems like these, it's in your best interest to seek out an American contract manufacturing service that only makes use of superior board components and is concerned about product safety.

4. Employee WellbeingContract Manufacturers

Here in the United States, we have laws in place that protect employees and their rights to fair treatment, safe conditions, and fair wages. Unfortunately, there are still many foreign countries who do not uphold these same standards. Employees are subject to harsh work conditions without being properly compensated, and in some cases, the work environment is unsafe. It's best not to associate yourself with these types of businesses, as it can damage your company's reputation.

5. Product Durability & Longevity

In order for your customers to be satisfied with your products, they need to not only perform the functions that they are intended to perform, but they must do so for the long run. Poor craftsmanship, low quality parts, a lack of training, and a failure to follow industry standards can yield low grade boards that will not last for very long. American-made products are much more durable and withstand the tests of time.

6. Commitment to Products

If a customer's board starts to experience performance issues or malfunctions, can you feel confident that your contract manufacturing company will back up their product and help you to correct the problem? Many foreign companies simply crank out the boards without offering any fulfillment services, and in some cases, don't even send out the original design specs. A good American company will troubleshoot boards and make any necessary repairs. 

After all has been said and done, it should be clear that you really can't put a price on quality. While you may initially pay less for an offshore contract manufacturer, the shoddy craftsmanship and counterfeit parts will cost you in the end.

 

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: assembly manufacturing, contact manufacturers, assembly manufacturer

Why Should I Partner With A PCB Assembly Manufacturer?

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Jun 03, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

 PCB Assembly Manufacturer

Are you providing your clients with the best and most affordable electronics possible? With every passing year, keeping up with the competition grows increasingly difficult. Electronics are becoming more and more complex, while also growing smaller and more compact. Designing an efficient, lightweight, yet dense product is no walk in the park, and assembling small scale units isn't any easier. No one is feeling the pressure as much as the "underdog" electronics companies. 

While larger corporations may have the financial resources to purchase sophisticated equipment for design and manufacture, your business's budget might not allow for the same. This is problematic for a number of reasons. The most obvious issue is that your company struggles to make ends meet, as it's more of a challenge for you to create industrially competitive devices for your targeted consumer marketplace. In addition to this, when smaller business have difficulty "keeping up with the Joneses", customers suddenly find that they have fewer options for purchasing the electronic products that they need. This allows major companies to monopolize the market, which isn't good for anyone.

It's a vicious cycle. When you can't take advantage of the latest engineering and PCB assembly technologies, you're unable to offer your customers a product that is technologically and financially competitive. From here, you run the risk of losing business, which will make it even more challenging for you to keep up with the rest of the market. So what's the solution? In cases like this, you could benefit from a partnership with a contracted PCB assembly manufacturer.

5 Reasons Why Partnering with a PCB Assembly Manufacturer is in Your Best Interest

At first, you may feel hesitant about bringing in a third-party manufacturing company. Still, more and more smaller-scale businesses are realizing how "passing the baton" of PCB assembly to a contract manufacturer can work to their benefit. Here's a look at why such a partnership is advantageous:

1. Improve Design Efficiency

Contract manufacturers can actually do more than simply handle the PCB assembly process - they can also work with you to improve your design schematics. The key to an effective and low-cost PC board is in design efficiency. A partner may be able to point out areas where the board can be made more efficient, requiring fewer system components and less labor.


2. Two Heads are Better Than One

It's always good to have a fresh set of eyes take a look at your plans to ensure that there are no critical flaws that could cause expensive problems with your boards down the road. By patterning up with a professional contract manufacturing company, you'll reduce the likelihood that your boards and products will have problems.


3. Manufacture with the Latest Technologiespcb desgin

The beauty of working with a PCB assembly company is that you can take advantage of all of the latest design and manufacture technologies without being required to invest the money in acquiring the equipment, housing it, or maintaining it. When you're partnered with a contract manufacturer, your boards will be designed with the utmost precision and will be assembled using sophisticated robotic arms and other advanced processes. This is beneficial to you as a business, and to your customers who will have access to products that are powered by quality assembled PC boards.

4. Reduce Material Costs

Another way to scale back your costs is through saving money on parts and components. A contract manufacturing company will often have strong relationships with suppliers. This allows the PCB assembly business to produce excellent boards more affordably, thus lowering your acquisition costs as well. 


5. Save on Repairs

Stop throwing away money on warranty replacements. By finding a PCB manufacturer that stands behind its product with fulfillment services like troubleshooting and repair, you'll save big on the cost to replace faulty units.

Don't go it alone. By partnering with a PCB manufacturer, you can stay competitive and profitable.

 

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Topics: pcb assembly service, assembly manufacturer, pcb assembly manufacturer

From Dream to Reality: PCB Prototype Assembly Services

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Fri, May 30, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

PCB Prototype Assembly

The evolution of our world's technology is truly astounding. In the past decades, we've made great leaps and bounds in terms of what our electronic devices are capable of accomplishing, and things are only getting better. Technological engineers and electronics designers are continuously dreaming up new ways to improve existing products, as well as completely original ideas for simplifying every day life and tasks. But how does this process occur, exactly? 

Every bit of technology - from the smallest, consumer electronic gadget to complex healthcare and aerospace units - begins with an idea. From here, plans can be made to develop a working prototype in order to test the capabilities of the device and to determine whether the idea is worth investing in, or how it can be further expounded upon in order to make it more operable, functional, and efficient. Every step in designing and assembling the prototype is essential to enabling the simple dream to become a reality. To give you a better idea of the process, this post will walk you through the life cycle of a prototype.

The Idea Phase

At this point, you or one of your clients may have a thought for how to improve an existing unit or device, or for creating something brand new. Here, you discuss what the PC board should be able to accomplish, what the functions of the device should be, and the sizing requirements for the unit and, therefore, for the board.

The Design Phase

Once you have a good idea bout any size constraints for the board and know what it is that you want to be able to do with it, you can begin actually planning and designing the schematics for the PCB development for the prototype. You'll need to consider the necessary components for achieving your objectives, and how these will factor into the layering and thickness of the board, as well as any budgetary concerns.


The Assembly Phase

After the design schematics have been tested out and approved, the board is ready to be assembled for the working prototype. In order to ensure that the PCB will be functional, efficient, and effective, it's important that all settings are properly calibrated (for automated processing), and that the use of the most advanced equipment is utilized so that every component is laid out and connected with the utmost precision, while still maintaining speed.


The Testing Phasepcb design

After the board has been assembled, it will need to be subjected to testing. First, you or your contract manufacturer will need to analyze the PCB to ensure that it's actually functioning in accordance with the client's specifications and the design schematics that were previously drawn up. Any inconsistencies or errors will need to be troubleshooted and addressed before the board is presented to the client. From here, the client may want to run their own set of tests, and actually test out the use and functionality of the device as a working whole before making a decision about ordering a larger batch.


The Adjustment Phase

After testing out the initial prototype, you or your client may notice certain areas that could be improved upon which would make the end product more efficient and effective. After making not of these areas, you may need to go back to the original specs and make some adjustments before mass assembling the final PC boards.

A Never Ending Cycle

Even after a prototype has been approved for mass production and has made its way to the end user, its evolutionary cycle is never actually complete. As technology advances, it will be discovered that the existing device can be improved upon, or even eventually replaced, by something better, but that's what makes the world of technology so exciting! As long as dreamers are coming up with new ideas, we'll be ready to take on the challenge of developing prototypes that may end up changing the world.

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Topics: assembly manufacturing, assembly manufacturer, pcb prototype assembly