Companies offering electronic manufacturing services (EMS) offer design, deliver, build, test, and give aftermarket assistance for electronic assemblies and parts. An expert, steady hand that guides you all through the entire electronics manufacturing processes will give your products an edge over your competitors.
In this guide, we will give proper explanation on all you need to know about electronic products manufacturing. This includes the different applications, benefits of outsourcing your services, what you should expect from an electronic product manufacturing service. Also, we will discuss what high mix low volume manufacturing means and entails. If you wish to have a full understanding of this topic, please get set because we have everything explained in here.
What are the Electronic Manufacturing Services and Applications?
The core of an electronics manufacturing service offering comes from the distribution, test, manufacture, and design. The electronics manufacturing services (ems) companies perform all these functions that may include the full assembly of the systems for the original equipment manufacturers.
Offering system integration, manufacturers will be able to utilize a process in combining the wire harnesses, PCB assemblies, enclosure fabrications, testing, etc.
The Electronics Manufacturing Industry
The electronic product manufacturing industries is a very broad one spanning across consumer (PC, smartphones, and more), electronic components (semiconductors, robotics, etc), government (defense and aerospace), health care (all medical devices), as well as industrial products (automation and robotics). As the electronic product manufacturing industries and markets keep growing, there are four major driving forces that need to be observed.
These driving factors of the electronic manufacturing services market are:
- Increasing demand for automotive electronics – this surge could be credited to safety systems demand.
- Increasing demand for different consumer electronics – this increase in demand can cause an increase in the outsourcing trend.
- The proliferation of different mobile devices – There is a continuous growth in the market for wearable technology and iPhones, as well as Android devices.
- More focus on the core competencies and advanced skill – companies are constantly searching for all solution providers, which offer the necessary expertise in the market sector or specific field.
There are diverse and broad applications in the space of electronic manufacturing services. You can apply the majority of these processes in any specific industry to be used globally. It includes consumer, industrial, and commercial. Now, let us consider some applications.
What are the Applications of Electronics Manufacturing Services?
Electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers offer the best quality standards and processes as well as industry experience and expertise for the medical original equipment manufacturers. Also, this can guide the seamless introduction of new products through development.
Defense and Aerospace
There is a need for safety solutions for high reliability and peak performance for the harsh environment applications. Also, they are for the aircrafts electrification, there will be increased focus.
The industrial applications make use of a lot of technologies in different industries. Also, the whole product lifecycle, right from the scope and the specification, and then through to the testing and prototyping, then to the assembly, all necessary electronic manufacturing services that will help bring new products onto the market.
Data processing and telecommunications is complex. Also, this is why there is a need for support for different devices. It is also necessary for the network infrastructure that underpins the technology.
What are the Benefits of Outsourcing Your Electronic Product Manufacturing Services?
- Quick time to the market
- Increase in productivity
- Risk mitigation/reduction
- Converting the investments of your costs to the cost model
- Providers of electronic manufacturing services (ems providers) provide more agility
- Higher global supply chain and much broader (global network extension)
- Greater competence and experience in the manufacturing processes
There are so many EMS providers out there (more than 4000). However, just one of them is best fit.
What does High Mix Low Volume Manufacturing Mean?
Any electronic product manufacturing environment referred to as high mix low volume deals with many different products, which are usually manufactured in very small quantities. Its market advantages and benefits come in two fold. It tailors to the customer demand and it lowers the inventory requirements.
The expectations of customers are beginning to change to more customized products. Also, this is transferring other electronic component manufacturing into a high-product-mix-low-volume scenario. This helps in putting more dynamics into the electronic components manufacturing systems.
The creation of small quantities of complex products can become an issue for the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Also, this is why a good number usually decide to outsource their production to the providers of electronic manufacturing services, which have more expertise or experience in a specific field.
With the outsourcing of production, this can lead to less costly errors. It can also free up R&D resources and internal engineering. Lastly, it allows a greater control of your finances.
What you should expect from the Electronic Manufacturing Service (EMS Company)
With respect to the supplier, electronics manufacturing services vary. Your partner may deliver any of the following services: Cable assembly, pcb assembly, testing, contract design, electromechanical assembly, prototyping, conformal coating, thermal and burn-in cycling, revision and repair upgrading, testing and aftermarket services.
Some of the services rendered here is electronics industry standard. Other offerings however are niche-specific. Whatever way, there are some thoughts you should have on the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) companies:
- You should work with companies having an engineering staff that is dedicated. This is very valuable.
- Ensure that the vendor you choose possesses your desired industry-specific certifications. For example, a specific medical company may require a special certification, which gas meter companies don’t need.
Let’s go into details regarding what you should expect from an EMS company.
Electronics Engineering Services
With electronic design services, you should be able to convert the concept of your product into reality, regardless of the complexity. The skill and experience of the company handling your PCB design should be displayed from the initial discussion down to the validation of the final product.
Furthermore, all the products must be well-engineered, usually attractive, built, and at times possess all three features. Also, any state-of-the-art ems company develops the custom housings routinely in line with the form factors of the printed circuit board (PCB) and they should give you some advice regarding the right material, whether injection-molded plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel.
The electronics engineering services include
- Digital and analog contract printed circuit board (PCB) design
- Contract PCB layout and schematic capture
- Power switching drive and circuits
- 3D modeling and enclosure design
- Intrinsically safe systems, barriers, and power
- RF site assessment and design
- DFM and DFX analysis
- Simulation, prototypes, and breadboarding
- Validation, which includes assessment of the CE precertification, environmental compliance, emissions compliance & electromagnetic immunity, design effects analysis and failure modes, Life testing, and custom test procedures and fixtures.
Note than OEMs have to expect support with the development of the product meeting the AS 9100, ISO 13485, and ISO 9001 standards.
PCB Assembly Services Using Surface Mount Technology
PCB assembly or printed circuit board assembly involves the use of the surface mount technology, as well as through hole technology in soldering components such as integrated circuits, resistors, transistors, onto a specific bare board. With a completed PCB, you will be able to route the signals and power between the physical devices.
Furthermore, through hole technology takes a bit longer because it has to do with more of human interactions with the circuit board. So also, the surface mount technology is better advanced, and is known as the standard for majority of modern products.
In addition, the advanced and professional electronics manufacturers have the ability to transform the aged through hole products in more SMT-designed modern products in order to maximize the usability and lifespan of their life. We can give merit to the improved state-of-the-art machinery, which has improved in both accuracy and speed.
The parts of the circuit board are very small. Therefore, you may not know that you are not building it the right way until you decide to test it. Gladly, the full electronics manufacturer will provide complete in-house functional testing services.
Custom mechanical and cable assembly can be a great experience when you are working with the top electronics manufacturers. Dealing in very harsh environment cables, companies involved in electronics contract manufacturing must have the ability to engineer, conduct test, and also produce high-quality cable assemblies. These include harnesses, micro connectors, as well as complex subassemblies.
Cable assembly has more than just these services. The other products linked with the following services are: harnesses, cable assemblies in a harsh environment, control boxes/panels, panel assembly and wiring, and mechanical subassemblies.
Also, this well-rounded electronics manufacturing services will help in engineering, testing, and manufacturing process of the products.
Concerning cable assemblies, hand soldering is used for the manufacturing. Ensure that your vendor has the certification for this. Also, many companies offering electronic manufacturing services may possess a capability known as injection over-molding. This is a process whereby you create a single part making use of multiple materials. The initial material, which is referred to as the substrate at time, is partially covered at least by the subsequent materials during manufacturing.
Ask yourself if your vendor offers over-molding capabilities. Before buying, it is advisable to check it out. Testing time? The cables can get a pull test and functional test. This process of testing does not require much rigorousness like the PCB assemblies.
Here, these electronic manufacturing services deal with products like box builds. With respect to the manufacturer, the enclosure can come in plastic, aluminum, and steel. The top electronics manufacturers can have a dedicated team for the final assembly for delivering these services.
Vendors can also provide functional testing, shipment packaging, encapsulation, configuration management, potting & use of heat shrink and 3-D modeling.
Configuration management has to do with establishing consistency in the look and performance of the product. Potting deals with filling the completed assembly using good stuff in improving shock, vibration, moisture, corrosion, and shock resistance. Furthermore, heat shrink can be referred to as plastic tubing that is shrinkable, which goes over its cable.
When conducting any electromechanical assembly, you must practice intrinsic safety at all times both in the process of electronics manufacturing and during the design stage.
At times, you will require an expert, and this expert may not reside in your building, which is fine. When you contract your design, it will allow you to take advantage of the electronics industry specific production teams and expert engineers. They help generate validation tests, firmware and software, DFX analysis (which includes cost-effectiveness, testability, and design for manufacturability), and environmental compliance tests.
Furthermore, the vendor should engage in this while offering documentation of all the steps throughout the electronics contract manufacturing process. In addition, the company engaging in electronic manufacturing services must meet regulatory approval.
However, Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) can shine effectively when the vendor is actively involved in the development process of the product. This means that the vendor is actively involved even before starting the product design.
Furthermore, electronic manufacturing services has to include the material manager, engineers, as well as others that assist in refining the contracted design all through the process of testing, costing exercises, circuit prototyping and simulation, studies in technical feasibility, quality review, costing exercises, physical modeling and 3-D CAD.
Before your circuit board arrives at your doorstep, you have to ensure you are getting exactly what you have paid for. This refers to a fully functional and properly assembled board. If you get anything less, this can compromise the supply chain. Failure to commit to the PCB testing could
- Hamper the lead times
- Harm your company and product’s reputation
- Cost additional money to help fix issues
There are staggering ways by which your electronic contract manufacturing services can test the PCB assembly. The offering of manufacturers can range from the basic or visual inspection, down to the functional test (this allows for turnkey operation).
PCB testing types includes the following, but aren’t limited to them:
- AOI (automated optical inspection)
- Burn-in testing,
- In-circuit testing,
- Flying probe testing,
- Other forms of functional testing
Note that, if you choose extensive testing before receiving your product, then you will discover that it was constructed in line with your specifications. Importantly, you will know if there is a need for your product to undergo additional testing or is set to deliver to your customers.
Note that messing up the rollout of the electronic device could be expensive and painful. With PCB prototyping, you will be able to prevent any embarrassing situation or scenario when heading to launch. Majority of the prototyping justifications are clear and obvious, however, not all.
Durability of the product:
In our world, the product must be able to withstand at least any of these: shock resistivity, power variations, or temperature variations
Design fault checks:
Companies offering expert electronic contract manufacturing services will be able to detect human and technical faults easily. Then it can recommend some improvements before you go ahead with finalizing the design.
Protecting the budget:
It is important to know if the product is meant for the masses, or for a specific niche market. This is because redoing it will be very expensive. Once the last PCB design is heading to mass production, then there is no going back.
Inspecting the product characteristics:
At times, a product’s practical values are a shade off of the theoretical vales, which are considered in the stage of design. With prototypes, you will be able to check as well as update the values.
The prototyping services of printed circuit boards usually take any out of the four forms. Going doing that list, this build now becomes more complete:
- Proof of concept
- Visual model
- Working prototype
- Functional prototype
The commitment of the company offering electronic manufacturing services to deliver customer satisfaction has to continue for a long time after the delivery of the product. There are three main qualities that you need to check for in providers of electronics aftermarket services. These include technology, expertise, and experience.
Regardless of the place where your consumer or industrial was made or the motive behind the manufacturing, the provider of the electronics manufacturing services has to possess the necessary know-how in servicing it properly. The services here include:
- Automated system simulation
- Electromechanical and Electrical
- Component-level troubleshooting
Also, the products serviced include:
- Industrial cabling
- Single-board computers
- Distributed control systems
- HMI and Displays devices
- Consumer electronics
- Base stations and RF handhelds
- Underground mining electronics
Other Capabilities include:
- Low temperature drying oven
- Thermal testing
- High pressure spray washer
- Conformal coating
- Bringing the units to the OEM specifications
- Repair analysis via customer, product group, or part number
- Painting facility
- Two eye inspections
- Cable-cleaning machine (can clean any length within seconds)
- Drying oven with low temperature
This may include the work on the manufactured products by a different company and on the legacy products, which requires sustaining engineering. There are some providers of electronic manufacturing services that can assist you in getting ahead of the problems with failure analysis. Furthermore, if you repeat this same repair, then the provider can come in to quote a redesign, which will save you some money in the future.
A very similar problem in electronics manufacturing is Obsolescence. This is a point whereby a part is coming close to its end, and then the supplier will definitely be able to give you a quote for new supplies, so that you won’t be taken unawares.
The provider of electronic manufacturing services will give you three recommendations. These include
Last time buy: This is the final purchase in bulk before the part is discontinued by the maker.
End of life: The part isn’t useful anymore and isn’t support any longer
No recommendation for the new design: The part’s future is not certain, is outdated, and carries the risk of becoming obsolete.
To assist with the managing of component obsolescence, the vendor should be able to provide life-cycle analysis. The assessment checks the component’s entire environmental impacts via its whole life. Even before the production is completed, the vendor will proactively search for parts that need replacement and then assist you in obtaining alternatives.
Therefore, even with the word ‘aftermarket’, there are some services which will benefit you even before the customers see the end result. Before you go ahead to send your product to the market, there is a need to understand and know the risks involved.
Your Choice of Vendor Matters
You can see that this is just the beginning of the electronic manufacturing services. It is clear that the delivery you get is determined and varies by vendor. Also, there are some just seeking to print the bare boards in large volumes. For others, they offer creative and complex solutions in much smaller volumes. They also assist you with different steps in the supply chain.
Are you taken aback to see how much the best provider of electronic manufacturing services have to offer? You don’t need to be in any way. In addition, there are three major reasons why the best consumer electronics manufacturer provides all in one services:
- More investment in the project’s success
- Understanding your goals and project completely and less miscommunications
- Fewer transportation and shipping costs, as well as delays
Electronic manufacturing services are always evolving and has a fast pace. The flexible solution providers that are useful in offering electronic components. Also, this helps in keeping pace with this quick change and will keep experiencing and delivering success to themselves and to their customers.
We at Rayming PCB have developed a global business, which is established on the backing of complex high mix low volume devices. Also, we help in solving the different challenges related to global electronics.