Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

5 Characteristics Of A Great Contract Manufacturer

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

pcb assemblyAs a small to mid-sized electronics company, you may find yourself struggling, from time to time, to keep up with the large brands and businesses. While these "big fish" game players may be able to afford to employ a large staff of skilled designers and engineers, and stay on top of the latest and greatest assembly machinery, you may not have the same resources available to you. This is not an uncommon problem. To find success, many SMBs choose to contract the production of their PC boards out to a third-party manufacturer.

Entrusting this task to an outsider, though, can be nerve-wracking. Your PC boards, after all, play a substantial role in the efficiency, effectiveness, and appeal of your devices. In order for you to keep customers happy and grow as a successful business, it's important that you find the perfect contract manufacturer for the job. But how can you sort through your prospects and recognize the best from the rest? This post will explore the 5 characteristics of great contract manufacturers so that you can narrow down your options and make your choice with confidence.  

1. Skilled & Experienced  

For obvious reasons, you want your contract manufacturer to be well-established and to have the skills and experience required to property construct your PC boards. It's wise to do a bit of research to find out how long your prospect has been in business, and what their background is in the industry. Another good idea is to ask your prospective manufacturing partner what types of experience or level of education they require from those that they hire to design and construct the boards. The best manufacturers will be operated by seasoned individuals who demand the same level of expertise from their staff.  

2. Flexible  

What types of services does your contract manufacturer offer? It's always in your best interest to narrow down your prospects to those that are willing and able to provide an array of services and are flexible to work with. For example, you may typically only require a contract manufacturer to assemble your boards, but in once instance, you may need help in correcting design flaws or in developing a prototype. Your partner should be able to help you with these tasks on an as-needed basis.  

3. Current  

In order for you to keep up with the competition and satisfy your customers, you need to give your business to a modern contract manufacturer who stays current with the latest manufacturing techniques, industry standards, and equipment. As technological advancements continue to be made, new manufacture equipment is being developed that can help speed up the production of boards, and help to reduce glitches or errors.   pcb assembling

4. Well-Connected  

One of the advantages of working with an experienced contract manufacturer that has been in the business for awhile is that they are often well-connected. If your business is just starting out, or is relatively small in size, you may find that it's not always easy to develop strong work relationships with suppliers. When you partner with a great manufacturing company, though, they will have already made these connections. This means that the cost to produce your boards may be decreased, as manufacturers with strong-supplier relationships will be able to work better deals.  

5. In it for the Long-Haul  

You don't want a manufacturer who will leave you high and dry if something goes wrong with the boards after production. The best contract manufacturers will work with you to provide fulfillment services. Troubleshooting and repairing the problem is cheaper than replacing the entire PC board.    

When outsourcing the construction of your PC boards, there's nothing more important than feeling certain that your contract manufacturer has the skills, experience, and tools required to do the best job possible. By seeking out these 5 characteristics in your prospects, you'll find a partner that will take care of your needs and help you to thrive. 

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: assembly solutions, boards, pc boards

Should PC Boards be Constructed with Through-Hole Methods or Surface Mount Technology?

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

pc boardsIn order for your electronics business to attract and satisfy customers, you need to be focusing on the very basics of product design and manufacture: PC boards. As the demands of the consumer market change, and technological processes evolve, so must your way of thinking about printed circuit boards. Although it's true that through-hole mounting was the standard for PC board construction for years, surface mount technology (SMT) is the 'new kid on the block', and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

In the years since its introduction in the 1980s, SMT has taken the manufacturing industry by storm. It is now the most popular method for building PC boards. In order to understand why this is the case, though, you must have a thorough understanding of how both processes work. In this post we will explore how both through-hole and SMT methods related to the construction of PC boards, their key differences, and when and how each can be applied.

In the Beginning: Through-Hole Technology

Many decades went by in which through-hole methods were undisputed in terms of the production of printed circuit boards. In fact, nearly all boards were constructed following these methods. With the use of through-hole technology, leads on electrical components are inserted into holes that have been previously drilled on the board. These components are then soldered to pads which are located on the opposite side of the board. The strong mechanical bonds that are created in this process make through-hole mounting a very reliable way of manufacturing boards, but the fart that so much drilling is required makes it more expensive than other methods. Another hangup has to do with the fact that the holes drilled tend to restrict the area available for routing signal traces on the layers that are located immediately below the top layer.


Moving Forward with Surface Mount Technology

Recognizing the problems associate with through-hole mounting, industry professionals sought out a new way of doing things. Thus, surface mount technology came to be. Instead of drilling holes, the SMT process makes it possible for electrical components to be directly mounted on the the surface of PC boards. In many cases, the components used have smaller leads or no leads a tall which makes them smaller and more compact. As a result, higher circuit densities may be achieved on smaller boards. This is important, as the consumer market is demanding smaller, more lightweight electronic devices than ever before. In addition to everything else, SMT is nearly always less expensive than other methods, such as through-hole technology. By taking advantage of SMT methodologies, electronics businesses can scale back their costs while still providing high quality products that will meet all of their customer's expectations. 

Putting it all Together: Key Differenceselectronic assembly

Some of the biggest differences between using through-hole or SMT methods to construct PC boards include:

  • Space - Through-hole mounting presents a number of problems that are related to a lack of space. By eliminating the need to drill holes and waste surface area, surface mount technology resolves this issues and allows for a more densely constructed PC board.

  • Leads - In order for through-hole technology to work, all electrical components must have lead wires to pass through the drilled holes. In SMT, this need is significantly reduced and can even be eliminated as components can be directly mounted to the board.

  • Cost - The components used in the construction of SMT boards are usually less expensive than in through-hole technology. 

  • Speed - The compact size of boards manufactured through SMT make them better suited to high-circuit speeds.

  • Production - SMT tends to lend itself to assembly automation. Ultimately, this means that a higher production volume can be achieved for less cost.


Although still relevant in certain specific scenarios, through-hole methods are generally considered to be a way of the past. By embracing surface mount technology, you can take your boards and your business to higher levels. 

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Topics: boards, PB board assembly manufacturer, pc board

Need Help Constructing Your PC Boards? 5 Characteristics of a Great Contract Manufacturer

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Wed, Apr 09, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

As a small to mid-sized electronics company, you may find yourself struggling, from time to time,contract electronics manufacturer to keep up with the large brands and businesses. While these "big fish" game players may be able to afford to employ a large staff of skilled designers and engineers, and stay on top of the latest and greatest assembly machinery, you may not have the same resources available to you. This is not an uncommon problem. To find success, many SMBs choose to contract the production of their PC boards out to a third-party manufacturer.

Entrusting this task to an outsider, though, can be nerve-wracking. Your PC boards, after all, play a substantial role in the efficiency, effectiveness, and appeal of your devices. In order for you to keep customers happy and grow as a successful business, it's important that you find the perfect contract manufacturer for the job. But how can you sort through your prospects and recognize the best from the rest? This post will explore the 5 characteristics of great contract manufacturers so that you can narrow down your options and make your choice with confidence.  

1. Skilled & Experienced   For obvious reasons, you want your contract manufacturer to be well-established and to have the skills and experience required to property construct your PC boards. It's wise to do a bit of research to find out how long your prospect has been in business, and what their background is in the industry. Another good idea is to ask your prospective manufacturing partner what types of experience or level of education they require from those that they hire to design and construct the boards. The best manufacturers will be operated by seasoned individuals who demand the same level of expertise from their staff.  

2. Flexible   What types of services does your contract manufacturer offer? It's always in your best interest to narrow down your prospects to those that are willing and able to provide an array of services and are flexible to work with. For example, you may typically only require a contract manufacturer to assemble your boards, but in once instance, you may need help in correcting design flaws or in developing a prototype. Your partner should be able to help you with these tasks on an as-needed basis.  

3. Current   In order for you to keep up with the competition pc boardsand satisfy your customers, you need to give your business to a modern contract manufacturer who stays current with the latest manufacturing techniques, industry standards, and equipment. As technological advancements continue to be made, new manufacture equipment is being developed that can help speed up the production of boards, and help to reduce glitches or errors.  

4. Well-Connected   One of the advantages of working with an experienced contract manufacturer that has been in the business for awhile is that they are often well-connected. If your business is just starting out, or is relatively small in size, you may find that it's not always easy to develop strong work relationships with suppliers. When you partner with a great manufacturing company, though, they will have already made these connections. This means that the cost to produce your boards may be decreased, as manufacturers with strong-supplier relationships will be able to work better deals.  

5. In it for the Long-Haul   You don't want a manufacturer who will leave you high and dry if something goes wrong with the boards after production. The best contract manufacturers will work with you to provide fulfillment services. Troubleshooting and repairing the problem is cheaper than replacing the entire PC board.    

When outsourcing the construction of your PC boards, there's nothing more important than feeling certain that your contract manufacturer has the skills, experience, and tools required to do the best job possible. By seeking out these 5 characteristics in your prospects, you'll find a partner that will take care of your needs and help you to thrive.

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Topics: contract electronics manufacturer, boards

Keeping the Production of PC Boards on American Soil

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

As technology continues to advance, consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing PC Boardselectronic gadgets that are dense, compact, fast, and above all, affordable. In order to meet these demands, many electronics companies are searching for ways to scale down their production costs, enabling them to lower customer price points while still earning a significant profit. Unfortunately, some of these companies are making the mistake of setting their sights offshore, in search of cheap labor in the construction of their PC boards. 

After shopping around for a contact manufacturer, you may notice that foreign manufacturers are, indeed, often cheaper than American companies. It's important to understand, though, that if the price seems too good to be true, it almost always is. Shoddy craftsmanship and counterfeit parts can all cause harm to your reputation, and to end-users. This post will explore why it's in the best interest of you and your customers that the manufacture of PC boards remains on American soil.  

Industry Standards  

In America, we have established a set of standards for the production of electronics and all of their components. These standards were put into effect as a means of ensuring that equipment will operate safely, efficiently, and effectively. All of these regulations are strictly enforced and are closely monitored by higher authorities. When you take your business offshore, though, there is no guarantee that these standards are being upheld. This can cause problems for several reasons. First, a sub-standard board can compromise the integrity of your product's ability to function properly. Secondly, the board may create safety issues. Finally, should the device be scrutinized, your business could be penalized for a lack of standards compliance.  

Labor Standards  

Another staple in American businesses is the ethical and fair treatment of all laborers. Contract manufacturing companies are required by law to guarantee a safe work environment for all staff at all times. Strict safety measures must be adhered to, including specialized training,  and regular assessments, amongst other things. In addition to this, all workers must be compensated fairly. Minimum wage standards have been set by the state and federal governments to ensure that this is always the case. In foreign countries, though, many laborers are not treated with this level of dignity and respect. Workers are often subject to conditions that are not safe, and can negatively impact both short-term and long-term health and well-being. In many cases, these individuals are paid the bare minimum in order to complete their jobs, and it's often not enough to live a quality life. Knowingly giving your business to these types of manufacturers is a matter of integrity, and can damage your company's reputation.  PC Boards assembly

Parts Standards  

When assembling PC boards in the United States, contract manufacturers are required to carefully select parts and components that adhere to industry regulations and that will work safely and effectively in electronic devices. One of the biggest problems associated with giving your business to offshore manufacturers is that they have a tendency to make use of counterfeit parts. While this may not seem like a big deal at first glance, it can actually be very harmful. Counterfeit items are often not safe for use in electronics, and can cause harm to the end-user. They can also reduce the quality of your products. In either event, your customers will not be satisfied. Ultimately, this may result in big losses in warranty replacements, total product recalls, and major harm to the reputation of your business.    

Although you may initially be tempted to partner with an offshore contract manufacturer, it's very easy to see that this is not a good idea. The risk of compromising your product, your business, or the safety and happiness of your customers is simply too high. By having a reputable American company take responsibility for producing your PC boards, you can rest assured that you will enjoy the highest quality at the most competitive rates possible.

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Topics: boards, PB board assembly manufacturer, pc board