Finding the time to do all of the processes required during a manufacturing job might seem impossible, but there are ways to ensure that your product is the best for your customers without having to spend so much time and money in the Research and Development stage. Instead of just shipping out your designs and calling it a day, you need to understand all of the different processes which can and should be done by engineering manufacturing companies that you hire to do your project. This is especially true when you are handling electronic components.
A "process" in engineering and manufacturing normally means the steps taken in order to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality, normally enduring several tests and even possible re-designs to be nearly perfect. It is also, of course, the transformation of inputs and outputs through several different tasks--but, this depends on the type of
engineering. But these particular processes are unique to engineering manufacturing companies and could save you thousands, or millions, of dollars and very valuable time when implemented.
The Prototype Stage
This process of creating a prototype and using it throughout tests and design tweaks is normally seen as a frivolous expense, especially when many businesses already have in-house engineers working in R&D to maintain a certain level of quality. However, having a manufacturing company create a PCB prototype assembly for you can mean an extra process of testing that could potentially find flaws that your own tests weren't able to find.
Not only that, a prototype can be held and seen to make notes about any design flaws or if any changes need to be made that a computer simulation couldn't make tangible. Though not truly a "process" by definition, it still has its own set of tasks and is unique in that the company can create just one or even a batch order of prototypes without any hassle.
Process of Operations
There are several operations which a PCB or other manufactured electronics go through, most of them used to test the vitality and safety of the said component. Some other common process operations include:
Real time optimization of components
Process networks scheduling
All of these are crucial in the process of creating the electronics parts, making sure that each
piece is in working order and not faulty or counterfeit. While the exact process of operations is not unique altogether to engineering, how it is utilized is unique to engineering manufacturing companies.
This is especially particular to the PCB process, which requires the entire board to be plated in copper, especially if it is a multi-layer board. Other additive methods are done in this process, as well: the PCB will go through a chemical bath that is sensitized, while the
laminate is then plated with the copper in those sensitized areas.
This process is required during the PCB and electronics contract manufacturing because it is one of the last requirements to make sure that the board will actually work. Without it, you won't have a working board at all!
The Protection Process
Finally, there is the highly important process of making sure all of those components can work in extreme conditions. A special type of coating is either done by dipping the components into a solution or spraying them, allowing the coating to protect the entire board from extreme heat, cold, possible corrosion or leakage, and even helps prevent shortages should condensation accumulate.
This is another unique process to the industry and very important to both engineers and buyers alike. A coating must be set in order to ensure the best longevity of the components and protect it from becoming a safety hazard.
Engineering manufacturing companies continue to tweak their processes to make them better. Neglecting to take advantage of these unique processes can have very costly consequences, don't be hesitant to use them for your project!