Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

In-House Talent Makes All The Difference In Electronic Board Design

Posted by Stephanie Weaver on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 01:31 PM

PCB-ServicesNo matter what market you're looking to enter, your electronics design needs to be rock-solid if it's going to succeed.  

Companies still using "fire and forget" style of outsourced electronic manufacturing services, which simply build to order, are taking big gambles with their product. Electronics today need to be more thoroughly tested, better-built, and better targeted to consumers if they're going to succeed.  

When you partner with manufacturers who also have in-house electronic board design specialists, you can get a far superior product without adding much to the costs of production. In many cases, their expertise
can pay off with better ROI in the long run than a more limited service can save you up-front.

Have Talent On Your Side When Introducing New Electronics

An all-in-one solution can provide additional end-to-end value, when compared to pure build-to-order companies. There are numerous options for leveraging their expertise:

1 - Board optimization

Every electronics factory is a little different, thanks to the wide range of machinery that's available.  A good manufacturer will know the exact tolerances of their manufacturing processes, as well as its strongest points. When they have engineers on-staff, they can very often re-tool and optimize the electronic board design to best-fit their processes, saving money and even reducing component usage.

2 - Prototyping and testing

The more complicated a piece of electronics is, the more likely it's going to need to go through several revisions before it's ready for public release. A manufacturer with in-house testing services can speed you through this entire process. Prototypes can be rapidly assembled, tested, and then refined based on the testing results.

Even when starting from scratch, the best electronics manufacturers today can create new prototypes in just days.This can significantly reduce your time-to-market all the while releasing a superior product.

3 - Going greenSMT-Production-Method

Buyers in many fields are increasingly concerned about the eco-friendliness of the products they buy, and will in many cases discriminate against products that don't meet accepted guidelines for pollution and recyclability.

Companies with in house-talent will know of alternative sources for parts, and different manufacturing processes, which can bring a product into RoHs compliance or even stricter standards.  In the months and years ahead, this is almost certain to become an ever more important factor in purchasing decisions.

4 - Repair services

When everything else is under one roof, actual circuit board repair services become an option. In the long run, this can be an enormous cost-cutter, because the alternative to repair services is simply sending out full replacement units for any warranty claim. It's fairly obvious how such a practice, especially on expensive equipment, can quickly destroy a product's profitability.

When your manufacturer can receive defective units, repair them, and ship them back in the same time as it would take to ship a replacement, that can greatly decrease your post-sale expenditures.

Integrated Services Bring Better Services

When it comes to engineering and electronic board design, a single source is going to be far more cost-efficient and effective at creating a superior product.  Contact Zentech today for more information on how far a single-source manufacturer can take you.

 

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Topics: electronic board design, Electronic Board Design Services

In-House Talent Makes All The Difference In Electronic Board Design

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

PCB-ServicesNo matter what market you're looking to enter, your electronics design needs to be rock-solid if it's going to succeed.  The electronics manufacturing field is booming and still barely meeting demand, so there's plenty of room for great products to succeed.  

But they have to be great products.

Companies still using "fire and forget" style outsourced electronic manufacturing services, which simply build to order, are taking big gambles with their product.  Electronics today need to be more thoroughly tested, better-built, and better targeted to consumers if they're going to succeed.  

When you partner with manufacturers who also have in-house electronic board design specialists, you can get a far superior product without adding much to the costs of production.  In many cases, their expertise can pay off with better ROI in the long run than a more limited service can save you up-front.

Have Talent On Your Side When Introducing New Electronics

An all-in-one solution can provide additional end-to-end value, when compared to pure build-to-order companies.  There are numerous options for leveraging their expertise:

1 - Board optimization

Every electronics factory is a little different, thanks to the wide range of machinery that's available.  A good manufacturer will know the exact tolerances of their manufacturing processes, as well as its strongest points.  When they have engineers on-staff, they can very often re-tool and optimize the electronic board design to best-fit their processes, saving money and even reducing component usage.

2 - Prototyping and testing

The more complicated a piece of electronics is, the more likely it's going to need to go through several revisions before it's ready for public release.  A manufacturer with in-house testing services can speed you through this entire process.  Prototypes can be rapidly assembled, tested, and then refined based on the testing results.

Even when starting from scratch, the best electronics manufacturers today can create new prototypes in as little as three days.  This can significantly reduce your time-to-market while seeing a better product built.

3 - Going greenSMT-Production-Method

Buyers in many fields are increasingly concerned about the eco-friendliness of the products they buy, and will in many cases discriminate against products that don't meet accepted guidelines for pollution and recyclability.

Companies with in house-talent will know of alternative sources for parts, and different manufacturing processes, which can bring a product into RoHs compliance or even stricter standards.  In the months and years ahead, this is almost certain to become an ever more important factor in purchasing decisions.

4 - Repair services

When everything else is under one roof, actual circuit board repair services become an option.  In the long run, this can be an enormous cost-cutter, because the alternative to repair services is simply sending out full replacement units for any warranty claim.  It's fairly obvious how such a practice -especially on expensive equipment- can quickly destroy a product's profitability.

When your manufacturer can receive defective units, repair them, and ship them back in the same time as it would take to ship a replacement, that can greatly decrease your post-sale expenditures.

Integrated Services Bring Better Services

When it comes to engineering and electronic board design, a single source is going to be far more cost-efficient and effective at creating a superior product.  Contact ZenTech today for more information on how far a single-source manufacturer can take you.

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: electronic board design, Electronic Board Design Services

Custom Electronic Board Design Services Bring You More For Your Money!

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Jan 06, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

pcb assemblySure, there are a lot of cut-rate vendors in the world who will take electronic schematics and produce exactly what's on-paper...  but that's rarely the best way to design and launch a new product.  To create a successful piece of electronics today, you need an electronics assembler who can give you more for your money.

Electronic board design isn't a "one and done" challenge, or at least it shouldn't be.  The best products are thoroughly tested, revised, and re-thought to ensure they truly meet a market need and will be able to fulfill it.  You can't get that sort of guarantee from the low-cost manufacturers.

Custom electronic board design will help ensure your product is a success, while minimizing your ongoing costs throughout the process.

What You Need In Custom Electronics Design

1 - Modern Manufacturing Equipment

Electronics is a rapidly-advancing field, and that goes for electronics manufacturing as well.  Every year brings new innovations for making products smaller, lighter, and more affordable.  If your manufacturer is using processes that are years -or decades- old, your product is going to be handicapped from the start.

Even seemingly-minor elements such as the size of their drills can ultimately have a huge impact on the overall reliability of the final product.  Older assembly lines simply cannot compete with modern processes.

2 - Official Industry Certifications

Electronics are becoming ever-more tightly regulated by the modern countries, and staying within those regulations is an absolute necessity for doing business.  This can be difficult to guarantee from the low-cost shops, who often lack the facilities for truly modern production.

When you deal with a manufacturer who has a list of official certifications from groups like the IEEE, it's much easier to feel secure about their equipment and processes.  If their materials are rated to be sent on NASA missions, their stuff is going to be trustworthy for more mundane applications as well.

3 - On-Site Engineers

It's much harder to create effective "generic" electronic designs today because so much of the manufacturing hardware is highly specialized.  When your electronic board design partner has its own engineers who are familiar with the on-site equipment, they'll virtually always be able to suggest refinements that fit their own processes.

This allows you to truly get the most out of the assembly lines you're hiring, and leverage the latest innovations to further improve your designs.  However, you just can't get this from a vendor who simply produces designs to your spec without any other thought.

4 - Robust Prototyping And Testing
contract manufacturer

Product recalls are highly embarrassing and, if they happen too often, can quickly sink a company's reputation.  Even a single high-profile flop can sometimes be enough to ruin a company.  

The only way to avoid this is to prevent it from ever happening, via pre-release testing.  You need an electronics partner with full prototyping and testing facilities so that you can truly ensure the product is reliable and safe to use.  This is a case where a little extra expense early on is immediately justified by the later problems it avoids.

Otherwise, releasing electronics without rigorous testing is like a chef serving dishes without tasting the sauce first.  It's a needless gamble.

5 - Computerized Supply Chain Management

There are two big reasons you want an electronic board design partner with a central computerized supply chain tracking system:

  • It greatly reduces counterfeit parts slipping into the line, and

  • It allows tightly optimized component procurement.

Failure rates on many components are a known quantity if you have reliable parts suppliers.  You can make intelligent predictions regarding costs due to repair\warranty issues, pre-buying the parts and saving money in the process. 

Some amount of post-sale support is unavoidable.  Proper supply chain management minimizes the cost to your bottom line.

Want to learn more?  ZenTech is one of America's premiere electronics partners, with decades of experience in design and production.  Contact us today for a consultation.  

 

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech
photo credit: skuds via photopin cc

Topics: american electronics design services, electronic board design, Electronic Board Design Services

Picking An Electronics Design Manufacturer Who'll Bring You Great Returns

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Electronics Design

With the boom in global electronics manufacturing and sales, it's little wonder that more companies are looking into electronic goods than ever before. Thanks to a world of manufacturing facilities, any design can be brought to market at surprisingly low investment costs.

However, like in any wide-open market, there's also a wide range of quality and services on offer. Too many companies simply look for the cheapest source, at least based on up-front costs, without considering the range of additional services that can ultimately reduce their TCO and boost the project's ROI.

Don't settle for bare-bones when picking an electronics design and manufacturing firm. This is a case of spending money to make money, and smart investments will bring much higher returns!

Three Things To Look For When Outsourcing Electronics Design

1 - Robust On-Site Facilities

The first and easiest trap for an upstart electronics concern is the circle of outsourcers. If your partner company doesn't have their own facilities, that means they'll just be handing off the work to someone else while taking a cut as the middle-man.

And for all you know, those outsourcers have their own outsources, and you'll never be able to keep track of who's actually doing what. This especially becomes a concern when dealing with Asian-based companies.

On the other hand, a partner with a state-of-the-art facility designed for medium- or large-sized batches with a number of variations, you'll be able to directly oversee production and verify your designs are built to spec.

2 - In-House Designers

Plenty of people can set up a manufacturing shop and start stamping out PCBs. However, far fewer spend the time and money hiring actual electronics engineers to oversee the designs.

Why? Because all too often, the prototype designs provided by a company can be optimized. Top-flight electronic design manufacturers will investigate cost savings by way of component reduction, or consolidating functions into easier activities.

Additionally, if they have state-of-the-art facilities, they may simply have better/easier ways of designing the product to match their own equipment. They'll have the insight necessary to get the most of their facilities, which translates into cost-savings for you.

3 - Original Product Development

Perhaps you merely have an idea for a great product, but lack the on-site expertise to design a prototype. When you partner with a top-grade manufacturing facility, this isn't a barrier to market entry! They can design new products from scratch, based on the latest techniques, and produce prototypes designed to match the functionality you specify.

Electronics Design ManufacturerBeyond simple manufacturing / assembly, this can also extend to operating systems and other software: A good electronics assembler can be your prototyping facility, even producing multiple prototypes, before settling on a final design.

This can also be extended into market research and demand trending. If, for example, you plan three variations on your product at three different price points, your manufacturing partner could help you determine the most efficiently-sized batches for each build.

Modern Electronics Manufacturing Is "You Get What You Pay For"

So, when you're looking for manufacturing partners, remember that "you get what you pay for" really is the only rule these days. A bottom-bidder may be able to provide exactly what they advertise -maybe- but won't be able to offer the same robust design services as a top-tier electronics manufacturer.

When a company's reputation is on the line, and they're truly looking to build an audience of happy customers, paying a little more up-front for quality designs can pay off throughout the entire life of a product.

To learn more about modern domestic manufacturing and its advantages, just contact ZenTech for a free consultation!

 

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Topics: assembly manufacturing services, american electronics design services, electronic board design

Tips For Getting Electronic Board Design Right the First Time

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Electronic Board Design

After countless hours of hard work, there's nothing more frustrating than discovering that your PC board design is flawed. A slight miscalculation can require you to backtrack as a result of sizing constraints. Even if all components fit, an error could cause the board to have operational deficiencies, and finding the root cause can be expensive and time-consuming. Wouldn't it be a lot easier if there were a for you to increase the odds of getting your design "just right" during your first go at it? Because we want to help you succeed, we've put together these tips and tricks for avoiding potential design iterations and expensive PCB re-spins.  

1. Begin With a Space Study  

It's smart for engineers to kick things off with a space study. This will enable you to map out how all of the critical components (i.e.: FPGAs or processors, power supplies, ICs, or any component of a substantial size/height) will actually fit into the available board area. During this phase, you'll be able to identify any potential layout issues or risks early on so that you can determine if you'll need to substitute any parts, consider PCB form factor mods, or the possible need for fundamental alterations to the architecture of the device. Doing this very early on in the design process is key to preventing your plans from getting too far underway before you realize that things aren't going to work out the way you had hoped. The best course of action is to take care of this step before schematic capture has actually begun as a means of limiting any design iteration cycles.  

2. Get Started on Pre-Layout SI Analysis   

Once the results of the space study are in, you'll have the vital data that you need in order to begin a pre-layout Signal Integrity (SI) analysis. You don't need to put this phase off until after the PCB routing is finalized before getting started. If you have a preliminary stack up, layer assignments, and estimated trace lengths, you're good to go for running these simulations via the use of a 3D field solver. This will work to validate the selected board parts and topologies of the high-speed signals. The results of the SI simulation will further pinpoint layout constraints during this phase of the project, showing you where minor design tweaks and refinements can and should be made. When you keep this step toward the beginning of the design process, it can be done in parallel with detailed schematic work, shaving time off of the development schedule.  

3. Consider Layer Count   Electronic Board repair

The overall thickness of the PCB can present certain challenges - especially since our technology is continuously shrinking while growing increasingly complex. When you need to fit a PCB for a very small edge connector, for example, the layer count is extremely limited, and certain required components can actually increase your plane thickness, making the job even more difficult. It's very important to give thought to your layer usage from the get-go. When you assign groups of signals to your stack up layers right away, you may be able to prevent roadblocks that require you to use increasingly challenging PCB fabrication techniques in order for your design to fit.  

4. Consult with the Professionals  

When in doubt, seek out some backup help from a contract manufacturing company that you can trust. Sometimes you may find that yourself and your team are struggling to overcome certain obstacles with layout, bulky components, layer thickness, or other related issues. In cases like these, one of the best things you can do is bring in a fresh new set of eyes in order to evaluate the needs of your device and to help you come up with a fool-proof set of plans that will meet your demands for board capabilities, budget, and size.     

Stick with these tips and get it right the first time, every time! 

 

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Topics: pc board repair, electronic board design, pc board design

When To Seek Help For Electronic Board Design

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Electronic Board Design

The electronics industry is one of the most competitive out there. As the years go by, technology is playing a bigger and bigger role in all of our lives, affecting the way that we work, learn, and communicate with one another. As a result, there is a huge demand for faster and better electronic devices and gadgets to meet consumer needs. In addition to wanting more features and higher levels of efficiency, though, these end-users are also looking for products that are smaller and lighter. In order to keep up with the market demand, electronic board design processes must evolve.

The smaller that electronics become, the more dense and compact PC boards need to be. This makes electronic board design significantly more complicated. Designers and engineers are given a very limited surface area to work with, and must overcome a number of obstacles in order to create boards that can function efficiently and serve their purpose. In some cases, this process can become too challenging for smaller electronics companies without the skills or tools required to do so. Is it time for you to seek out help from a third party? Here's a look at some of the most common scenarios in which you would benefit from having a contract manufacturer assist with your electronic board design.  

You're Developing a Prototype  

When starting from scratch on a new product prototype, it's often a good idea to bring in a new set of professionals to the drawing board. Whether you're hoping to develop a new mainstream product, or are simply in need of coming up with a design for a high-priority client, it's important to get it right. The entire project hinges upon the design of your PC boards, and superior engineering can mean the difference between gaining and losing a significant chunk of change. 

  You're Struggling to Meet Customer Demands  

This problem can mean one of two things. In the first case, you may simply have more work coming in than you are prepared to handle on your own. Although you have a skilled team of designers and engineers, they may be too swamped to keep up with your customers demands, and work could be suffering or even slipping through the cracks. By working with a contract manufacturer, you can trust that a set of outside professionals can carefully shoulder some of the burden of electronic board design on your behalf without ever compromising quality. In the second case, you may find that your team is unprepared or unable to design a board that can meet all of your customer's demands. A contract manufacturer can evaluate the specs and the design to help you satisfy your client.  

You're Hung Up on a Problem  board design

Sometimes your team may face a complication or a problem in their electronic board design and work day and night to resolve it. Unfortunately, when they work too closely to the project, they may fail to see what the underlying issues are. By bringing in a fresh set of eyes from a contract manufacturing company, you can get some new and helpful input to help you get past your problems and onto the assembly phase quickly.  

The Board isn't Functioning as it Should 

Your product has been manufactured, but it isn't operating as quickly or efficiently as you had expected. This could be a fundamental flaw with the electronic board design. In this case, it's helpful to have a skilled and experienced contract manufacturer evaluate your design plans to see if they can spot the problem and make improvements to the schematics.     

We all need a little bit of help from time to time. When you contract with a proficient and experienced contract manufacturer, you can count on skillful electronic board design at all times. At the end of the day, this will improve your company's reputation, boost product efficiency, and keep you competitive in the industry.

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: pc board repair, electronic board design, pc board design

How Does Electronic Board Design Help You Create Your Product

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Sat, Aug 10, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Although your electronics business may have a knowledgeable team of engineers who are working in-house, it does not necessarily mean that you wouldn't benefit from a little outside help. Numerous operations make the decision to work with contract manufacturing companies for electronic board design. In some cases, a new set of eyes is required to work out the problems with a particular set of plans, whereas others may be looking to save money as product demand increases. Regardless of your reasons, you can help to improve your devices and your business by finding the right manufacturing partner. Here's a look at what you can expect from professional electronic board design.

Turn Your Ideas into Realities

Your products are only limited by your imagination - especially when you have the best designers and technologies on your side. Skilled engineers with decades of industry experience are more than capable of bringing your concepts and ideas to life through concise, efficient design schematics. Paired with state-of-the-art design software, you can rest assured that the plans for your electronic board design will be a cut above the rest and will give you a competitive edge. Even if you are in the works of developing a brand new device or prototype, you will be able to get your plans set into motion faster. And if you're stuck on a particular problem, your manufacturing partner will be able to pinpoint the issues and come up with a timely solution.electronic_board_design.jpg

Leave Nothing to Chance

From start to finish, the right contract manufacturer will take care to ensure that your electronic board design is truly flawless. A lot of careful thinking and planning goes into developing the schematics for your product so that it operates seamlessly. Be sure to work with a partner who is able to offer a full range of design services that span throughout the entire product life cycle, such as:
  • Product requirements review
  • System design
  • Circuit design
  • Mechanical design
  • Embedded Software (firmware)
  • Algorithm development
  • Testing strategies
  • Documentation creation/management
  • Sustaining engineering
  • RoHS Compliance 
Save Time and Money

There is no reason that working with a contract manufacturing company for electronic board design should not help your business to save both time and money. Your partner's engineers should work diligently to ensure that all of your internal technical resources are utilized exactly when and where you have planned, for maximum value and efficiency. Additionally, your partner should be mindful of keeping your project on schedule and on point with your budget. By taking advantage of automated software programs and skilled employees, your project can be completed faster than had you chosen to go it alone, and errors can be avoided. In the long run, this will save the costs and hassle associated with troubleshooting for faults and redesign. In addition to all of this, experienced contract manufacturers may be able to cut down on the amount of materials required for your project's design, reducing your production costs even further. Multiplied by hundreds of boards, this can make a significant difference in your budget. engineering_design_services.jpg

Constantly Improve Your Business

When you have help with the electronic board design process, the minds of your internal designers and engineers are freed up to develop bigger and better ideas. This means that you can be constantly moving toward higher goals and expanding your business. With a greater offering of products and high-tech devices, you will expand your market base and effectively grow your business. As your ideas become more advanced and the demand for your products grows, you will not be held back by a lack of experience, manpower, or technology, as your partner will be able to keep you moving forward.

The success of your business all begins with the initial electronic board design process. By taking the time to get it just right, you can grow your company and thrive. How could you benefit from professional electronic board design services?

 

 

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Topics: contract manufacturing company, electronic board design, egineering design services