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April 17, 2019
Many companies and budding entrepreneurs will tinker or experiment with various designs in order to create the perfect product to cater to their niche. However, creating a tangible product not only involves a lot of time, work, and capital, but does not simply amount to amalgamating numerous modules and components onto a single board.
There are many ticking time bombs that you need to be aware of as the process transpires. Failure to stay abreast of such issues will make it hard for you to solve them before it is too late. Here, the focus will be on the steps you can take to help reduce the cost of hardware design. By reducing your production costs, you will be able to stay competitive in an increasingly volatile marketplace and use cutting-edge solutions to give you a serious competitive edge.
Create a Manufacturing Management Triangle
Before you opt to industrialize your project you should factor in lead-time, quality, and cost. These three must always be considered before any project is started, and your objective should be to find the best position within the manufacturing management triangle. In fact, if you are unable to find the best position or your company loses its equilibrium within the manufacturing management triangle, the end result will be increased production costs, poor quality products, and much longer lead-times.
Such issues can make or break a company, particularly those that are just beginning their operations, so being prudent and planning well ahead of time can save your company costs as well as headaches down the line.
Factor in Finalized Product Expenditures
In most cases, the finalized product will comprise of several different elements or components including, but not limited to, certifications, set-up, management, manufacturing, shipments, quality control, engineering, and materials. However, if you want to reduce your hardware design costs then you need to consider all of the above costs at the very beginning of the project, instead of during or after the product has been finalized.
This may seem self-evident to some, but many companies fail to factor in the cost of the final product and suffer the consequences during the production phase. They end up going over-budget and are forced to cut corners to save money during production, leading to quality dropping significantly. Given the number of competitors in the market fighting for market share, companies need to cut costs without compromising quality so that their clients will remain satisfied and they remain profitable.
Use the Same Components
Another way to reduce the costs of your hardware design is to utilize the exact same resistor throughout. You should also use the exact same MPN, manufacturer, tolerance, and packages as well, if possible. In fact, if you opt to use even one additional different component your costs will increase, and you will have to find another supplier from thousands of options.
You will also need to source an additional component from millions, and use another feeder on a place and pick unit. Moreover, you will also need to secure additional inventory management as well as an additional incoming inspection. Failure to use the same components whenever possible will not only lead to an increase in costs of your materials, but also increased management, setup fee, and manufacturing expenses as well.
Install Components on the Same Side
By placing the components on the same side of the PCB you will be able to reduce your manufacturing expenditures. One of the advantages of single-side boards is that they only need to go through the reflow oven a single time. There are fewer steps and procedures involved with single-side boards, which will also lead to short manufacturing times. The end result is that manufacturing costs are reduced significantly when you install all of the components on the same side of the PCB, whenever possible.
Use SMD Components Whenever Possible
If your board uses both surface-mounted device and dual inline pin components then you will require both an SMD line and a DIP line in order for the product order to be fulfilled, meaning your company will need to pay 2 setup fees. However, if you use only SMD components for your boards then you will only need to pay one fee. SMD manufacturing fees also tend to be much lower than DIP manufacturing fees.
Don’t Place Components Together
The general rule of thumb is to avoid having components placed too close to each other. There are evidently certain exceptions, such as when fabricating an HDI PCB that has elevated spacing constraints. However, generally speaking, it is best to space apart components in order to adhere to pick and place tolerances as well as silk-screen tolerances.
If you decide to lower the tolerance for placements then you will need to use machinery that is more accurate, to ensure that operations can continue properly. However, using more accurate machinery will also mean that you will need to spend more money to obtain said machinery. Try and avoid tightly constrained components whenever possible to lower your manufacturing costs.
To learn more about reducing the cost of your manufacturing design, call Circuits Central at 888-821-7746 or contact us here.
April 9, 2019
If you are looking for electronic manufacturing services in Toronto then you may become overwhelmed by the number of options at your disposal. Your decision may become more difficult because most, if not all of the electronic manufacturing services that you come across claim to offer unrivalled, industry-leading service. However, there is more than meets the eye, and the purpose of this article is to provide you with some handy tips to help you decide on which electronic manufacturing company to partner with.
Experience is Paramount
The first thing you should consider is the amount of experience that the company has in manufacturing electronic components in your respective industry. Well-established enterprises that have been around for several years or decades are far more likely to provide a high-quality service that is devoid of defects or other such issues. Do not hesitate to ask the company you are thinking of partnering with how many years of experience they have in manufacturing electronic components and other related hardware, and it also wouldn’t hurt to ask them what their hiring process is to help better gauge their quality control methods.
What are their design capabilities?
Simply providing electronic manufacturing services should not suffice when it comes to selecting the best company for the job. The best electronic manufacturing companies will also help you throughout the design process, from the initial phase to the finalized product. In some instances, you may opt to begin from scratch while in other cases you may simply want a different perspective or require an unbiased third party to review your technical specifications. In any event, the company that you select should be able to help you streamline your design capabilities in order to maximize their effectiveness as well as their efficiency.
Cutting Edge Technology
Moreover, you should also consider the types of equipment, machinery, and tools that the company uses. In other words, if the company does not utilize state of the art, industry-leading tools, equipment, and machinery to manufacture its electronic components then you should partner with a company that does. In the end, the electronic manufacturing industry is highly competitive and in a state of perpetual flux, so you will need to hire a company that has innovative ideas and that utilizes cutting edge technology in order for them to manufacture components that will ensure that your company remains competitive in the market.
Do they follow industry compliance protocols?
If the companies you are in talks with do not adhere to the most up to date industry standards then they should be avoided at all costs. In fact, not only should they comply with all of the industry regulations and rules for electronic component manufacturing and design, but they must also adhere to your company’s specific production standards in order to be a viable and reliable partner.
Are they environmentally conscious?
In an increasingly green tech-space, businesses need to adapt their manufacturing processes or be rendered obsolete. The company that you hire must be environmentally conscious in all of its business practices.
Ask each prospective company if they are compliant with Restriction of Hazardous Substances legislation, and if they would also be willing to convert any of your company’s board unique designs to a Restriction of Hazardous Substances compliant system. By doing so, not only will you help do your part to reduce pollution and waste but you will also help improve your company’s corporate image and reputation with your clients and potential customers.
Testing Must Always be Completed
Run of the mill electronic manufacturing companies will usually be satisfied with simply manufacturing a batch of PC boards and then calling it a day. However, the best electronic manufacturing companies will conduct meticulous testing to ensure that each component is fully operational and performs according to design specifications and expectations.
Ask the company what their testing methodologies are comprised of in order to ascertain how they analyze, detect, and rectify design issues and flaws. By troubleshooting in order to ensure that their components are up to par, an electronic manufacturing company will be able to detect marked production issues quickly and save you significant amounts of time and money. Moreover, testing products thoroughly will allow your company to analyze trends so that you can become a forward-thinking and proactive company that is always one step ahead of its competitors.
Look into their Supply Chain Management
It is important to note that not all supply chain solutions will work equally well, if at all, with every company in the industry. So the company you hire must be able to provide you with multiple commodity and component sourcing agreements from around the world. They must also be willing to adhere to your specific requirements regarding sourcing restrictions, preferred vendors, and your contract requirements.
What are their fulfillment services?
Finally, the company that you choose must also take care of your post-production requirements. For instance, they should provide fulfillment services which include troubleshooting for defective boards, and they must handle all of the required repair work before returning them from their facility. By doing so, they will save your enterprise money and time that would have otherwise been expended on warranty replacement components and/or manpower.
To learn more about choosing the right superlative electronic manufacturer, call Circuits Central at 888-821-7746 or contact us here.
March 14, 2019
Innovation in the electronics manufacturing industry is moving at a breakneck pace, with many smaller companies having trouble keeping up with the level of ingenuity and change in the industry. With rapid increases in demand, and consumer and industry trends changing from year-to-year, companies must continually adapt in order to survive in an increasingly protean industry.
This means companies must work both quickly and effectively to overcome both existing and emerging issues and stay afloat. Flexibility and proactiveness are paramount, and in this article, we will discuss some of the biggest challenges that electronic manufacturing companies are facing today.
Operating Margins are Shrinking
New innovations are driving the market but are also lowering the price of goods. Global competition is another reason why the price of products is dropping substantially. One of the biggest challenges that electronic manufacturers are facing today is trying to find new and innovative ways to become more cost-efficient, to not only stay competitive but to also retain their existing customers and get new ones. Given the fact that many startups, particularly in the technology industry, go under within the first 2 years of operation, the end goal is to keep costs low in order to increase volume and maximize profits.
Global Supply Chains are More Complex
Today’s enterprises have to deal with the juggling of both external and internal resources while also adhering to international protocols. For instance, compliance and traceability problems are operational bastions. Many sub-components and components will travel from continent to continent before they end up in the hands of the end-customer. This means the global supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, as trans-continental shipments become more and more commonplace in the electronic manufacturing industry.
Issues With Warranties and Services
By leveraging the international supply chain an added emphasis has been placed on the quality management systems of suppliers. That is, by having a traceability and quality assurance system in place the post-production service hours and warranty reserves will be impacted.
Shorter Product Lifecycles
With a glut of new products on the market, and emerging trends on the cusp, electronic manufacturing service companies and contract manufacturers have been forced to implement new product introduction processes in order to meet ever-changing customer tastes. For instance, the closed-loop communications between engineering, manufacturing, and sales chains must be highly effective to ensure that the company’s new product launch meets its volume, quality, and deadlines.
Demand Will Become Increasingly Uncertain
Cyclical demand and economic viability will lead to production volatility. Moreover, if we were to assess things on a granular level, the preferences of customers can lead to spikes in demand for a given service or product. Another of the biggest challenges that electronic manufacturers are facing today is learning how to implement efficient lean capabilities so that their inventory will gel or align quickly with consumer demand.
Sustainability Will Become Problematic
Due to new standards and regulations passed by numerous local and international governing bodies more and more companies are being forced to be held accountable for their business decisions. In other words, corporate social responsibility has become an increasingly pertinent issue that many companies will need to focus their resources on in order to remain profitable and viable as a corporate entity.
For instance, E-waste, which refers to electronic waste products, has become a topic or issue that has made national and international headlines. Many regulatory agencies and environmental pundits have placed increased pressure on companies to properly dispose of E-waste, in order to promote environmental sustainability efforts and reduce the toxic contamination of the earth. As such, a big challenge for many companies today is figuring out how to reduce the production of E-waste, and the way to do so is to consider the entire product lifecycle before any decisions are made.
Today’s Biggest EMS Challenges
There are many issues that companies will have to overcome in the years to come, both local as well as global challenges, if they are to remain competitive and profitable. Learning to adapt and evolve with changing times is of the utmost importance. Consumer preferences, in products as well as companies, can change on a whim, so manufacturers need to be vigilant and proactive to stay abreast of emerging market trends and stay afloat.
Environmental issues, in particular, seem to be a point of great interest today, with changes being made across the industry to deal more effectively with the E-waste products that contribute to pollution and even make people ill. The good news is industry leaders have found innovative new ways to make everything come together and work in impressive synchronicity, leading to remarkable improvements in electronic manufacturing processes, compliance standards, and flexible supply-chain mechanisms.
To learn more about the challenges facing electronics manufacturers and how to overcome them, call Circuits Central at 888-602-7264 or contact us here.