Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

Domestic Contract Electronic Manufacturing Services Bring More Value To Your Product

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

 american-based-electronicsLikely because of the offshoring boom of the 90s and 2000s, there persists a belief that American-based manufacturing is too expensive to be worth considering - but nothing could be further from the truth. According to multiple studies into the matter, in the long term, costs associated with manufacturing in China and manufacturing in the USA are effectively at parity.

Moreover, American manufacturers have been hard at work updating their processes and competing on value rather than sheer cost.  Sure, the up-front costs of a cut-rate overseas manufacturer will be lower than domestic... but that domestic manufacturer can offer plenty of services and long-term value that few, if any, overseas centers could hope to compete with.

When looking at costs across the entire lifespan of the product -not just its initial manufacturing- domestic contract electronic manufacturing services deliver a better product, happier customers, and a superior ROI.

Four More Reasons To Consider Reshoring In 2015

1 - Reshoring is going mainstream

What was once a trend largely among smaller businesses looking to get an edge over the competition has expanded to cover more and more major A-list businesses.  Just last year, General Electric brought roughly 1,900 jobs back from China.  And given that GE is well-known for its cost-cutting efforts, they're obviously not doing this solely for PR value.

The problems with offshore manufacturing are becoming increasingly well-known and, accordingly, companies are looking for better alternatives.

2 - Better infrastructure and equipment

China may be one of the leaders in overall manufacturing, but America is still tops in innovation and the adoption of new technology.  Most of the factories in use in China were built 10-20 years ago, and haven't seen many updates, at least outside of the biggest names like Foxconn.

In the meantime, US manufacturers are continually investing in new manufacturing techniques, allowing them to offer products that are smaller, faster, or more rugged.  When the market for electronics is so competitive, a company needs to be able to say their products are being made in cutting-edge facilities.

3 - Fully integrated product developmentPCB-Repair-Services3

Modern US contract electronics manufacturing services do far more than simply build products to spec. They can be true partners, working with you every step of the way, from initial concept through multiple prototypes and into the final build.  Testing and even focus-group sessions are also possibilities.

This can vastly accelerate the development of a product, when one company is handling its development throughout the process.   The testing process, in particular, can quickly iron out the problems in a product before release, creating a product that garners great reviews right out of the gate.

4 - In-house technical support

Who could ever be more effective at providing post-sale support than the same facility which designed and manufactured the product?   In-house support services have the benefit of the engineers' own expertise, as well as gaining insight from the testing reports previously generated.

In many cases, highly accurate failure rate predictions can be made. allowing them to precisely manufacture components based on likelihoods of failure.  This allows better-targeted purchases, as well as reducing the chances of a production run having to be re-started due to a lack of spare parts.

ZenTech is one of America's premiere wholly domestic electronics manufacturers.  Contact us to learn what US manufacturing can do for you. 

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: contract electronic manufacturing services, electronic assembly

An EMS For Emergencies In Electronics

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

When an emergency occurs in every day life, we all know what we need to do: call 911. By dialingElectronic Manufacturing Services these 3 simple numbers, we can take comfort in the fact that help is on the way, as an emergency medical services (EMS) technician has been dispatched. But did you know that there's an EMS that can also help you with your electronics emergencies? Electronics manufacturing services can help you to work your way through any problem and to improve the quality of your technology and services so that you never have to worry about losing a customer.

Electronic Manufacturing Services: The 911 of Electronic Emergencies  

Problems, struggles, and emergencies occur in the technological industry every day. Regardless of how many years you've been in the business, you're never immune to hitting a roadblock and needing to call in some outside help. Here are a few common "disaster" scenarios when you might need to call in an EMS:  

Emergency #1: You're stuck in the design process    

Struggling with the design phase of your electronics product or device can be extremely frustrating. In some cases, you may have a new or very important customer who is asking that you develop a prototype for a new product that will meet their needs. You and your team, however, may be having some difficulty in determining how to actually go about executing plans for this project. In another instance, your designers may be stuck partway through their plans and can't come to a workable solution on their own. In either scenario, it could be that your company is simply too close to the problem to see the answer. An EMS will offer a fresh opinion and can help you to get past any bumps in the road so that you can move forward with the production process.

Emergency #2: Your product isn't functioning properly    

You've designed and manufactured a PC board to work within a certain product, but something just isn't quite right. Perhaps the device isn't performing all of the functions that it was intended to, isn't operating quickly enough, or is malfunctioning in some other way. When you review your design schematics, you just can't put your finger on the source of the issue. Once again, you may be too close to the project. An EMS can take a look at what's going on, and through troubleshooting and inspecting the designs, can help you to figure out the root of the problem and help you to solve it.

Emergency #3: You're overloaded with work    

Normally, high customer demand is not a bad thing at all. When you don't have the time or resources to handle every batch order, though, you may be feeling a bit stressed. Will you have to turn clients away? Not if you have an EMS on your team.

Emergency #4: You're lacking in resources    assembly manufacturing

As a smaller scale electronics company, you may sometimes find that it's difficult for you to keep up with the resources that larger competitors might enjoy. In addition to a smaller labor force, you may not be able to afford the latest and greatest tools, equipment, and machinery to assemble stellar PC boards for your projects. If this sounds familiar, an EMS can save the day. These contract manufacturers are fully dedicated to staying abreast of the most advanced technologies and helping companies like yourself to produce state-of-the-art products.

Emergency #5: You're losing money on warranty replacements      

If you don't have the time or ability to troubleshoot and repair faulty electronics, you could find that you're spending a lot of money on sending out warranty replacements. An EMS can shoulder this burden for you.

When an emergency occurs, there's no need to panic. By keeping your head and calling a reliable EMS like Zentech to the scene, you can rest assured that you'll find an excellent solution to whatever problem you may be experiencing.

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Topics: contract electronic manufacturing, electronic contract manufacturer, contract electronic manufacturing services

Is Your Electronic Contract Manufacturer Taking Care of You?

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

If you been utilizing the same electronic contract manufacturer for awhile, you may not often takeElectronic Contract Manufacturer the time to evaluate the quality of the services being provided to you. As long as your batch orders are being processed, you assume that everything is going well. But how can you be sure that your manufacturing provider is really taking care of you as well as they should?

It's easy for an electronic contract manufacturer to operate in mediocrity, simply getting by on doing a job that is "good enough". But as a business owner, you should never be satisfied with this. In order for you to succeed as a company, manage your costs efficiently, and keep your customers happy, your contract partner should be doing everything in their power to go above and beyond the call of duty and provide you with stellar services. To ensure that you're getting the most out of your relationship, here are a few questions to ask yourself about your current electronic contract manufacturer.  

Does my contract manufacturer improve my board designs?  

When you ask your manufacturing service to help you create design specs for your boards or review your current plans, how much assistance are they really offering? If the designs are bare-minimum or do not fully comply with the requests of yourself and your customers, you're in trouble. Your contract manufacturer should take the time to make careful plans throughout the design phase, and always pay attention to even the smallest details. In addition to this, they should always be searching for ways to help streamline your products in such a way that your boards will operate smoothly, faster, and more efficiently while saving you money.  

Do they utilize advanced technologies?  

You should never hesitate to ask your contract manufacturing service which types of technologies, machinery, and equipment they utilize to design, manufacture, or test the boards that they produce. It's important for your manufacturer to stay current on the latest technologies and production methods to ensure that your devices will always keep up with the competition. Newer machinery can also increase the speed of manufacture, and can ensure that your boards will be of the highest possible quality.  

Does my manufacturing provider adhere to industry standards?  

For obvious reasons, it is very important that you take the time to confirm that your electronic contract manufacturer is compliant with all of the most current and up-to-date industry regulations. This will allow you to enjoy the peace of mind that your products are manufactured safely, and to a high standard of quality. It's also smart to work with a manufacturer that utilizes green production methods and is environmentally responsible.  

Do they work with a variety of quality suppliers?  electronic manufacturing services

In order for your boards to be highly functional, compact, and efficient, they need to be constructed of high quality parts that specifically meet your design requirements. But while "Supplier X" and "Supplier Y" may be a perfect fit for another company's needs, you may prefer to work with "Supplier Z". Your contract manufacturer should be understanding of this and willing to work with you in order to make sure that you are connected with an excellent supplier that will be able to fit your demands. And by having well-established supplier relationships, you can enjoy a lower cost for production.

Does my electronic contract manufacturer always see me through to the end?

Never work with an electronic contract manufacturer who doesn't offer fulfillment services. A reputable business will be more than happy to troubleshoot faulty PC boards and make any necessary repairs, as this will both cut down on waste and the expenses associated with warranty replacements.    

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it's time that you start looking for a new electronic contract manufacturer. Don't ever settle for anything less than the best - the quality and success of your business depend on it.

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: contract electronic manufacturing, electronic contract manufacturer, contract electronic manufacturing services

4 Must Have Contract Electronic Manufacturing Services

Posted by Adam Washburn on Thu, Jul 04, 2013 @ 07:00 PM

When seeking out professional contract electronic manufacturing services, you may feel overwhelmed by the all of the options available to you. But while many companies only take price into consideration, there is far more that goes into finding the right manufacturing partner for your specific needs. In order for your electronics business to produce high-quality devices to your consumers in a way that is fast and cost-effective, you'll need to contract with a manufacturing company that can offer four distinct services. Here's a closer look at each of these.electronic manufacturing services

1. New Production Services

As today's consumers are continuously seeking out electronic devices that can work faster and smarter, electronics companies must work hard to hold their customer's interest by continuously updating their existing products and creating new product lines. Unfortunately, the extensive design and development processes can become very time consuming and stressful. As such, it is not uncommon for creative teams and engineers to become burned out, or become too close to the project to see ways of enhancing the design schematics, creating a more efficient device, or solving problems. By working with professional contract electronic manufacturing services, new sets of eyes are introduced to the project, ensuring that each of your device's plans have been viewed from every possible angle. In this way, you can complete the design process more quickly. From here, your contract manufacturer can help to develop prototypes and move into the actual production assembly process. 

2. PCB and Systems Assembly Services

Your contract electronic manufacturing services provider should be well versed in PCB and systems assembly. As you look into working with prospective manufacturing companies, you should find out about the production technology that is utilized by the business in order to ensure that the latest machinery is utilized in assembling your devices for maximum efficiency and effectiveness - regardless of how complex your products are. Amongst other things, he PCB and systems assembly capabilities of your manufacturing company should include:

  • Rosin, No Clean, and Aqueous Flux Chemistries

  • Multiple Through-hole assembly areas

  • BGA X-Ray and Rework

  • Automated SMT print inspectionoutsourcing electronic manufacturing services

  • Automated Optical inspection

  • Bonding and underfill

  • CT and Functional Test

  • Box Build

  • Configure to order/build to order

  • System assemblage at the Chassis, Cage or Rack level

  • Customized cabling

  • Board level and system level testing

3. Testing Services

There's nothing more embarrassing and detrimental to the reputation of your electronics business than producing a line of faulty devices that make it to the shelves, only to be recalled. The cost factor for disposing of the bad equipment, redesign, and re-production involved with these types of problems alone can be extremely devastating. In order to catch any issues quickly and prevent major losses, it's imperative that your contract electronic manufacturing services provender is able to provide ICT and Functional test services for virtually everything that it builds. Your manufacturing partner should have the know-how and experience to troubleshoot complex analog, digital, and/or RF products and come up with fast solutions. Any defects that are found during the testing process should be quickly corrected by your manufacturing partner, and captured in a database for both reporting and trend analysis. 

4.  Fulfillment Services

When the production of your devices is completed, the work isn't over for good contract electronic manufacturing services. Your partner should be able to offer flexible, customizable solutions for all phases of your product's life cycle - extending even to direct customer shipping and a repair and return depot. Through quick troubleshooting and corrections, the need for expensive warranty replacements can effectively be eliminated. In this way, you can remove the "middle man", making things smoother and easier for both you and your customers. It's a win for everyone involved. 

Producing a great product at a reasonable price point is very possible. By taking the time to find a contract electronic manufacturing services provider who can meet all four of these criteria, you and your business will thrive.

Are you ready to get started?

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Image #1 sourced from (karel-electronics.com)

Image #2 sourced from (zentech.com)

Image #3 sourced from (indiamart.com)

Topics: contract electronic manufacturing services, production assembly

Quality Begins With Contract Electronics Manufacturer

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, May 23, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Just like with all of your products that are assembled and shipped off to your clients, you want every single piece of component and part of your designs to be associated with quality. Who doesn't want to have the best of the best when it comes to their manufactured parts? Your clients trust that you're providing the best service to them, so why not expect the same kind of service and top notch quality in parts when it comes to your contract electronics manufacturer?

It doesn't matter if the parts are going to be sold commercially, to factories, to other businesses, or wherever they're going, everyone wants to be assured that the electronicscontract-electronics-manufacturing they're using are only the greatest quality that money can buy. That is why so much testing, designing, research and development goes into electronics, because the expectations are so high. Unfortunately, businesses who contract out to manufacturers can run the risk of working with lesser quality manufacturing that can be a big risk--including losing out on thousands of dollars and all of those man hours to create your product.

So, how do you spot the best quality contract electronics manufacturers? Easy, just check out these following signs.

Sourced In The USA

A majority of contract electronics manufacturer companies that started out in the United States eventually took most of their operations overseas, mostly to cut down on costs and provide a better deal for their clients. While this worked for several years, things have changed recently and manufacturing services overseas isn't the same anymore. There are much higher risks of dealing with faulty and counterfeit parts in your electronics assembly if it is outsourced to other countries, such as arcing or short circuiting--or something even worse.

One way to avoid such problems is relying on a manufacturer that sources most, if not all of their parts from the United States. Not only that, but another great sign of excellence is if they also keep a large chunk of their workforce in the U.S. as well.

Great Consultation

When you start working with a contract electronics manufacturer, are they keeping in contact with you throughout the different processes? If you've experienced manufacturers that suddenly lose contact and never speak to you throughout the design, pc board assembly and testing overseas-manufacturingphases, then you may want to find someone who does care about keeping open communication with you.

You should confidently know where your parts are coming from, on top of how they're being created and treated. Also, should anything go wrong during the assembly process, you should know immediately when it comes instead of much later on and have to deal with potentially bad electronics. Communication between you and the manufacturer must be a two-way street.

Beautifully Manufactured Products

It's not often you hear an assembled electronic component is "beautiful" or "impeccable," but shouldn't that be expected of your own products when they're manufactured by a electronics contract manufacturer? While it may seem like too lofty of a goal, you should always expect excellent--and get those sort of results--when it comes to your project. You've already put in a lot of time to design the particular piece, on top of marketing it and building up a client base. Now, the manufacturer needs to reflect that same hard work in their own assembly.

This doesn't mean that all manufacturers are going to produce a low quality product no matter what. Quite the opposite, in fact. Contract electronics manufacturers are in the business of making your products the best quality there is, which means providing all of things mentioned above and more. Don't settle for anything less and you will always have the best quality there is.

Topics: contract electronics manufacturer, contract manufacturing, contract electronic manufacturing services, contract electronics design

Electronic Manufacturing Company Automates Processes

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

The world of electronics manufacturing is a hugely complex one indeed, as anyone who starts thinking about bringing a new product to market quickly discovers. There are wheels within wheels within wheels to consider:PCB-assembly

  • The electronics design services process, which may require revisions depending on the equipment being used.

  • Components going into the design, which themselves are manufactured elsewhere and may or may not even be legitimate parts.

  • Testing needs, to ensure both before and during production the units being produced work right.

  • All the marketing problems, how to get people to see the need for your product. Market research may even lead to design changes.

  • Pipeline and supply problems emerge at every step in this process, as you try to move parts and assembled pieces to where they need to be, when they need to be.

  • Plus, even when it's on the shelves, there's still post-release support: repairs, replacements, possibly even hardware revisions in response to problems that got past testing, setting the whole thing in motion again.

The entire electronic manufacturing machine is a hugely complex process, and for a newcomer, it's just plain difficult to actually see, foresee, and plan for the contingencies that may arise as the product goes through its design and production phases.electronic-manufacturing-companyThis is why a good electronic manufacturing company is such a necessary partner in this process. The days of being able to design an electronics product and bring it to market entirely in-house are effectively gone. The system has become complex enough that you need electronic manufacturing experts.

Making Your Life Easier With an Electronic Manufacturing Company

Let's face it, you have a business to run. You undoubtedly have folks whose job it is to oversee production processes, but in the end, there's only so much that can be overseen by one or two people. Anything more than that, and you have committee meetings over every little thing. Since electronics contract manufacturing is now a separate business, it makes sense to pass the burden of the manufacturing processes themselves to experts: the people who do this for a living. It's all about choosing the right electronic manufacturing company to partner with.The big issue is that you need to make sure you find a manufacturer who will treat your needs as their own. This is the main reason that going with a full-service electronic design AND manufacturing firm ultimately pays off in the long run. It offloads the work to experts, and the better they're able to work with you to optimize your designs for their processes.Look for an electronic manufacturing company who offers:

electronics-manufacturing-companyDesign services: Undoubtedly your engineers are good, but very often a design can be optimized for the production line it will be running down. An electronics manufacturing firm that knows its own equipment well can often find ways to make your product better before it starts getting made.

Test services: You need thorough testing both before and during the production run. Testing, along with a knowledge of firmware, can head off plenty of problems that would otherwise cause expensive issues later on.

Supply chain management. The only way to keep counterfeit parts out of electronics is by having a strong hold of your supply chain management. Through a combination of computer parts tracking and having reliable partner suppliers, a manufacturer who knows their supply chain can help you with yours.

Post-sale fulfillment: If you really want to feel like your electronics manufacturer is on your side, look for one which also handles post-sale support. If they're going to be doing their own troubleshooting and repair requests, they have a lot more reason to get things right the first time.There are a lot of options for electronics manufacturing in the world. Take the option that ultimately saves you the most time and money. Even if it costs a bit more up front, the long term benefits will make it worthwhile.

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Topics: assembly electronics solution, contract electronic manufacturing services

Rating Highest In Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

electronics-manufacturing-services-industryFinding the best and brightest when it comes to all of your electronic manufacturing needs doesn't have to feel like a hopeless endeavor, especially when there are companies out there striving to be only the greatest for both you and themselves. 

Of course, finding that perfect fit with a manufacturing company normally has a few different parameters, mostly involving what kind of components are being used, turn-around time, and the quality of the end product. There are several other things to take into consideration, one of them being ratings among the industry.

The electronic manufacturing services industry has extreme pride for all of the work they do and most, if not all, companies ensure only the best for their customers. However, there are still companies and services which go above and beyond and are recognized for their efforts. How can you tell when a company is rated highest among the electronic manufacturing services industry? Easy, check out the major flags below.

High Attention To Detail

It's all in the details, especially with electronic components and PCBs. When something isn't working, breaks, or has any faulty problems when it shouldn't, that normally means there was probably a problem during the manufacturing or testing process. Instead of trying to point fingers, however, it is better to understand that issues can arise and to find an electronic manufacturing company that keeps a very acute attention to detail.

Making sure all parts are in working order, everything is properly soldered, all copper plating is done to a T, and much more is always part of the testing process and should never beelectronics-manufacturing skipped or rushed. When that happens, you have a problem on your hands that could potentially cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Look For Ratings

Any company would be proud of their hard work and dedication, especially if they have won any awards or recognition for all of their services. Because of this, a website is a great place to look for ratings, testimonials, and any awards the electronic manufacturing business has acquired. Look for them in:

  • About page

  • Front or home page

  • Testimonials page

  • Blog or "news" page

If a website cannot be found, there are always business cards and other promotional material to check out, or simply even asking.

Authority In The Industry
Another great way to figure out if the company you're working with is an industry leading electronic manufacturing company, is if their name and brand is recognized and they're an authority in the industry. This can normally be seen through their advertising and even their blog. 

electronics manufacturingDo they provide useful and helpful information for their customers about the industry through case studies, white papers, blog posts, articles, and other such content? While not all of the highest rated companies might not be doing this, the ones taking the time to provide insight and information are a sure fire way to ensure the most impeccable service for you.

The Customer Experience
Continuous quality and great customer service is argued to be the cornerstones of any business rated the highest in their industry. This is true even for electronic manufacturing because the customer needs their product and the manufacturing services company needs the project, and this two-way street needs to be highly maintained for both.

Rating highest among the competition means comfortably providing the best customer experience, and the buyers and engineers getting that experience will normally be more than happy to share their thoughts for testimonials. When you're looking for a high rating electronic manufacturing company, don't forget to do your research on them! Google their name, browse through the results, and take the time to consider your options.

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, manufacturing services, electronic manufacturing, electronic manufacturing services industry, contract electronic manufacturing services

Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry: Maintaining Precision

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

An electronics manufacturing is a hot ticket industry right now, especially with the recent news from Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing the tech company was bringing back some of its manufacturing jobs from overseas to the United States. Other major technology companies have perked up and are following with the same trend to help boost the American economy. 

In particular, the electronic manufacturing services industry is set to grow even more as people continue to become more technologically advanced and have multiple electronicelectronics-manufacturing-services devices and gadgets in their household or office.

But with this surge in manufacturing and assembly, there is also going to be some change to the landscape of the industry itself. This means that some businesses are going to continue to make and maintain great products and components, while others are just out there for a quick buck. When it comes to your own manufacturing projects, having the confidence that your product is of the highest quality is a must. So, how do you ensure that your final product has the best standards?

Businesses In The United States

Like mentioned earlier, Apple has decided to bring back some of its electronics manufacturing to the United States. Other businesses can already follow the same trend, even if you don't have the same kind of revenue like Apple. The electronic manufacturing services industry is still filled with companies that still operate, assemble, and work all within the United States. No jobs are going overseas, nor are your components being built in China or India.

This provides a safety net for you and your business, mostly through the fact that components coming through a United States-based assembly service company are going to be complaint and not counterfeits, as well as being put together with the best quality control. Saving money on manufacturing can come at different angles, it shouldn't have to mean lowering the quality to work with an overseas company.

Counterfeit Parts Problem

Speaking of counterfeit parts, this is actually a very real problem that can derail an entire project and costs you thousands (or millions) of dollars. When you're working with a well-known and trusted company, the parts are going to be sourced from fellow trusted places and won't be a liability from short-circuiting, arcing, or other hazardous problems.

Most counterfeit parts come from overseas companies which are normally very cheap and difficult to get a hold of when there is a customer service question. Again, this can be avoided entirely by doing some research or finding an entirely U.S.-based electronic manufacturing service.

Precision And Perfection

While nothing can exactly be perfect, the electronic manufacturing services industry certainly tries to achieve perfection for their clients. One of the best ways to make sure that only theelectronics-manufacturing-services best standards are being offered is through the precision of the manufacturing services themselves. Making parts and manufacturing can vary, but, the end result will normally be very telling on its quality and the precision used in making the parts.

Maintaining precision can be a bit tricky for some companies, but, it is entirely possible to make sure each batch order is only the highest quality through testing and being able to comfortably admit that sometimes something needs to be fixed before being sent out. This saves both time and money for both parties and makes sure only the best precision is being put forth.

Manufacturing doesn't have to be a headache of dealing with questionable parts or questionable people--in fact, it can be a very proud and high quality piece of work that continues to keep you on budget, on time, and with all of the components you need for your own projects.

Topics: electronics manufacturing, contract electronic manufacturing, contract electronic manufacturing services, Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry