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Assembly Manufacturing: Circuit Cards Ticket to Precision

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Maybe it goes without saying, but in the world of electronic manufacturing solutions, precision is everything. When you're dealing with circuit cards with layers of micro-printed circuitry, incorporating dozens of smaller sub-components, tiny mistakes can end up having large ramifications for your business.

Indeed, in the world of assembly manufacturing, there are plenty of horror stories of botched manufacturing jobs costing companies millions, or threatening their very existence. A single bad batch of products can sink a product line, especially in today's Internet-enabled world where news spreads very quickly.

A lot goes into assuring the assembly manufacturing of your circuit cards is of the highest quality, with the most detailed levels of precision. Let's take a look at some of what goes intoassembly-manufacturing this.

Assembly Manufacturing Equipment

If there is a single factor in determining whether an electronics assembly firm can meet your needs, it likely lies in their product assembly and their production equipment. PCB manufacturing is a constantly-evolving field, and high levels of precision require equally precise equipment.

For example, when constructing circuit cards, large reflow ovens are used to bind the cement-like solder to the board, gluing everything in place almost like the “stitches” on a gingerbread man. Once upon a time, an oven with a single temperature zone was sufficient for most electronics needs.

However, newer board designs often have need of multiple different baking temperatures, so that the solder can be melted without damaging any of the delicate components around it. Reflow ovens with a half-dozen or more temperature zones, as well as multiple cool-down points also at their own precise temperatures, are now necessary. Is your assembly manufacturer up to snuff?

Supply Chain Oversight

You should also be concerned with the quality of the components that are going onto your circuit cards in the first place. Unfortunately, a lot of overseas manufacturers have become notorious for their use of counterfeit parts, some of which cannot be easily identified.

If your assembly manufacturing firm has a strong grasp of supply chain management, many of these fears can be alleviated. Fundamentally, the best solution to supply chain problems is making use of trusted sources, and only a manufacturer with years of experience will have built up the necessary contacts. Through a combination of quality contacts and software inventory management, it becomes far less likely that bogus parts will make it into your design.

Repair and Rework

No manufacturing job is ever pulled off with 100% perfection. Of course, “four nines” is what most manufacturers desire, but either way, mistakes are bound to happen. In a batch order of 100,000, losing a few to defects is no big deal and, likely, already accounted for inPCB-assembly-manufacturing budgeting.

But what if you're only manufacturing a few circuit cards for specialty use, such as in a custom medical device?

In that case, an electronics manufacturer who offers repair and rework services is what will guarantee your product is as precise as you need. And this is precision work, of a very traditional sort. It's often conducted by hand, through magnifiers, to fix a broken pin or re-solder a bit of circuity that didn't quite bond correctly in the oven.

Such handiwork requires a high level of skill and dedication on the part of your manufacturer, and it's a service you won't get from just any electronics plant.

Precision Means Sales

No matter how many units you're looking to sell, precision in your circuit card assembly is all-important. With modern electronics being smaller and more dense than ever, you should ensure that you employ an assembly manufacturing plant that's capable of delivering the product you need, on time, and without sticking you with dud products.

Topics: assembly manufacturing, assembly process, assembly manufacturing services, assembly manufacturing firm, PCB manufacturing