Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

The Advantages Of Contract Electronics Manufacturing

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Nov 10, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

When a consumer products firm starts looking into contract electronics manufacturing, chances are, they're doing it because they have to. They want to produce electronics and simply lack adequate facilities to do their own assembly in-house, so the choice to contract the work out is simple. The costs of establishing their own assembly facility would just be too great to justify.

However, if you're in a similar situation and considering hiring contract electronics manufacturing yourself, you should know that the benefits go well beyond a simple matter of finding adequate facilities. If you pick the right contract manufacturer, the benefits willcontract-electronics-manufacturing continue throughout the production process and beyond to provide optimal ROI on your investment.

The Other Benefits of Contract Electronics Manufacturing

I. Better Quality

The world of electronics manufacturing has become extremely specialized in the last twenty years. Dedicated electronics assembly factories are now expected to adhere to multiple international standards such as the ISO series of certifications. However, hiring a company that meets these high standards mean better end products for you.

II. Happier Customers

The most immediate effect of these higher manufacturing standards is you putting a better product on the market. First of all, of course, this can lead to substantial savings on your post-sale support costs.

However, maintaining quality is becoming increasingly vital in a world where customers can research you anytime, anywhere maintaining your reputation is essential for your brand-building. Companies who produce substandard electronics can be "outed" for this with a single popular Tweet or Facebook post and find their wares relegated to "discount" electronics dealers.

III. Confidence in Your Engineering

Engineering presents new problems in a world of contract electronics manufacturing and sub-PCB-assemblycomponent assembly. If you don't know the provenance of the components you use, how do you know they're authentic? If you can't trust your components, then your engineering becomes doubly difficult. If a product fails, was it due to poor design or substandard components?

If you select a contract PCB assembly service with guaranteed supply chain management, this ceases to be a significant concern. If you trust what goes into your products, you can trust what ends up in the hands of your customers.

IV. Get the Help You Need

Let's say your electronic engineers have a good idea, but they can't quite get it together into a workable prototype. That's no reason to abandon the concept and the R&D dollars that went into it! Many outsourced electronics manufacturers also offer design services with top-tier designers who can often improve on your ideas before they go into manufacturing.

Testing and prototyping services are also often available, so that along every step of the manufacturing process, you'll be able to guarantee you're crafting the best products possible.

The American Advantage

Finally, the last benefit to hiring a contract electronics assembly firm is also the newest: reshoring in America. As transportation costs rise alongside the cost of living in Asia, many enterprises are now rethinking the logic behind moving manufacturing overseas. The lower initial manufacturing costs are now being swallowed by transportation and QA needs.printed-circuit-board

Combine this with the continuing view among Americans that overseas manufacturing is of lower quality, and the argument to keep your manufacturing in the US becomes even more compelling from a PR standpoint.

Plus, of course, there's always Henry Ford's logic: employing more Americans means having more Americans as customers for your products.

In the realm of electronics manufacturing, there are few good arguments left againstutilizing an outside manufacturing contractor. Unless you have both the facilities and the expertise on-site, outsourcing brings you better products, usually at a lower cost as well.

If you have any questions about your options in contract electronics manufacturing, or the benefits of keeping your production, please contact us and we'll be glad to address your concerns.

Topics: pcb assembly service, Contract Electronic Assembly, contract electronics manufacturing, electronics assembly companies

Why Do I Need a PCB Assembly Service?

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Nov 03, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Here's a question we get asked more often than we might otherwise expect: "Why do I need a PCB assembly service?"

Printed Circuit Board assembly is one of the mainstays of consumer electronics today, although that's only been the case for the last 30-40 years. Thanks to the development of surface mount technology and other advanced production techniques, it's now become more simple for most companies to outsource their jobs to a PCB assembly service than to do it in house.

None the less, it's good to review why things have developed this way. So let's take a look atPCB assembly some of the major reasons a manufacturer should look at using PCB assembly services to aid in their production.

The Advantages of a PCB Assembly Service

1. Doing it in-house requires a lot of expensive investments. It used to be that everyone did their own electronics manufacturing, but that requires a huge capital investment in production lines and equipment, not to mention manpower and expertise. For most companies, there's little foreseeable ROI on an investment like that, even looking years down the line.

2. Economies of scale work. Another primary benefit of outsourcing your PCB assembly is that allows you to leverage the investments other companies have made into production technology. A large, dedicated electronics assembly plant will be able to produce more units, more quickly, and at a lower cost than you could with your own facilities.

3. Design services are often part of the deal. While this isn't true of all PCB services, many offer design services to help you refine your designs. Expert PCB manufacturers can often engineer superior solutions and help you produce better products, and more cheaply.

4. True expertise. Most major electronics assembly companies have years or decades of experience in mass-producing electronics. That's expertise that would be incredibly costly if you went looking to a specialist to oversee your own operations, but comes relatively cheap when you go with an outsourced assembly firm.

5. Guaranteed quality control. Another major issue with self-assembly of electronics components is QC. On top of the production facilities, do you have the resources to also PCB assembly servicecheck and guarantee the quality of the PCBs that you produce? Top electronics manufacturers have extensive QC procedures and can provide top quality components.

And all this adds up to one key point:

If you don't trust the components, you can't trust the final product.

Any electronics company with any regards for its future has to consider its own reputation to be extremely important. People today can use the Internet to instantly research your company as well as all of your competitors. If you become known for putting out low-quality products, it can become a nearly insurmountable problem.

The best way to have reliable final products is to ensure that reliable components go into their manufacture. Besides improving your own products, this will also aid your engineers as well. After all, if something does go wrong, knowing that all your components were created to top-line specs will make it easier for them to find the actual source of the problem.

So, in short, why do you need a PCB assembly service? For the lower price, for the higher quality, and for the peace of mind that comes with putting out a reliable product. There is simply little reason today to do your own manufacturing in-house, and plenty of reason to look outside your company instead.

What convinced you to hire a PCB assembly service for the first time? Was it worth it?

Topics: electronics manufacturing, electronic manufacturing company, pcb assembly service, pcb assembly, printed circuit board, electronic assembly, electronic PCB assembly, Contract Electronics Assembly, design services, assembly electronic, electronics assembly companies, quality control, quality PCB control

Tin Whisker Formation and Impact on PCB Assembly Reliability

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Oct 20, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Considerably different from dendrites or other such shapes in components, tin whiskers can pose a very serious problem for a circuit board and other types of technology if they happen to be found and identified correctly. Tin whiskers are structures of "crystalline" formations that resemble whiskers and are most commonly found in electroplated tin that is used a finish on components, including PCB.

Several different components of PC Board assembly utilize tin for coating, although some measures were made to prevent tin whiskers from forming. One way is to reintroduce lead into the market, which can help stabilize the finish, however the exposure to lead over a long PCB Assembly Componentsperiod of time is still dangerous and most governments still ban its use. Because of this, most companies used special alloys.

Also, some industries are still allowed to use lead in their PCB assembly of technology components and there can be other ways to prevent tin whiskers without it that you can implement. But first, what are other ways these whiskers can form?

  • Stresses from poorly formed components which do not fit well together.

  • The use of intermetallic formation can also cause tin whiskers.

  • Many different outside sources of stress can create tin whiskers to form, which means the entire area of the components need to be checked.

  • Bending, stretching, or scratches from both external and internal problems are another big factor to consider when looking for tin whiskers.

Assembly is at most risk, which automatically means a faulty product if the whiskers begin to grow and interfere with the components. While tin whiskers may seem harmless enough, they pose a very real threat to the product as well as people. One of the most common problems from whiskers in PCB assembly is a short circuit or arcing. Electrical equipment can suffer shortages and even harm people from their arcing, which ultimately means lost time and money.

This impact on global PCB assembly means broken equipment, ruined circuity, and shoddy craftsmanship overall that needs to be addressed. In order to prevent or mitigate tin whisker formation, you can take these precautions:

  • If at all possible, remember to avoid the use of pure tin plated coating and other equipment. Most companies utilize alloys to help stabilize the components to mitigate tin whiskers, but caution still needs to be advised.PCB Assembly

  • Simply replate the areas that are at high risk of whiskers by either outsourcing to a contract manufacturing company or attempting it in-house. However, it is highly advised that you use an outside manufacturer to help strip down the current plating and put on a newer plating to avoid tin whiskers.

  • A foam encapsulating coat or housing can be applied to whisker prone areas, helping prevent any problems in the future. However, it entirely depends on the type of foam encapsulating coat used, how much of it is applied, and how dangerous the whisker prone area is. Fortunately, however, this normally helps prevent short circuits in most cases.

  • Alternatively, you can try to relieve any stress to the area with a hot oil reflow or new soldering job.

Working with a reliable assembly manufacturer who is willing to help with any tin whisker problems is also a very highly recommended route. Most are certified to make sure that no pure tin components are used whatsoever and instead alloys are used to mitigate whisker formation. There is always the risk of faulty and counterfeit parts which could also cause tin whiskers, but working with US-based companies normally means a higher standard of quality overall.

Remember, tin whiskers are much different than dendrites and cause serious damage to circuity! Simply ignoring the issue can result in failures in the components with short circuiting and arcing.

Have you ever experienced tin whiskers in your PCB components? What mitigation measures were put in place?

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, pcb assembly service, pcb assembly, Contract Electronic Assembly, electronic PCB assembly, contract electronics manufacturing, assembly manufacturer, PCB assembly technology, electronics assembly companies, US manufactured electronics