Electronic Manufacturing Services

HOW TO SELECT Electronic Manufacturing Services

The depth of the electronic manufacturing service industry is such that it is inescapable to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The industry cuts across consumer electronics such as smartphones and personal computers and industrial products such as automation and robotics. The electronic manufacturing service is making giant strides in the medical field and aerospace and defense.

 In October 2021, yahoo finance news reported that the global electronic manufacturing service market is estimated to reach about USD 257.13 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 11.5%. It goes to show how invaluable this market segment has become. This article provides new guidelines and driving factors for EMS when outsourcing your production to EMSs. The article covers the following;

  • What Is Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS)?
  • Electronic Manufacturing Applications.
  • How To Select A Good EMS provider.
  • The Industrial Relevance Of Electronic Manufacturing Services.
  • Benefits OF Contracting An EMS Company.
  • Feasible Challenges Faced By EMS Providers.

WHAT ARE ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES?

Electronics manufacturing service is a specialist in one market segment in the electronic industry that caters to the design, implementation, simulation, prototyping, and assembly of electronic equipment. In clearer terms, an electronics contract manufacturing company provides value-added services to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) like testing and distribution of electronic equipment. They help equipment manufacturers bring their design to reality while also providing after-sales services.

Electronics manufacturing companies can also be interchangeably referred to as electronics contract manufacturing (ECM). They can undertake full system assembly, which may include the following processes;

ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING APPLICATIONS

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph of this article, EMS offers a wide range of services that cut across the following sectors;

  • Healthcare: With the rising demand for medicine, Medical equipment manufacturers rely on EMS companies to deliver highly reliable medical devices. MarketWatch also predicts a 4% CAGR for EMS in medical and healthcare devices.
  • Defense And Aerospace: In the field of security and defense, the military requires high precision devices rugged enough to withstand tough conditions. Defense and aerospace teams can not afford to use less secure and credible devices. A good EMS team is needed to meet these demands.
  • Telecommunication: The field of telecommunications requires high-level data processing without interference. Hence, telecom companies need EMS providers that can manufacture devices with high data processing integrity which is also important for cell phones (tablets and android devices).
  • Commercial Industries: Another beauty of contract manufacturing service providers is how they make commercialization easy for OEMs. EMS providers care for PCB assembly, cable assembly, prototyping, simulation, and even after-sales repairs.

HOW TO SELECT A GOOD EMS PROVIDER

Electronic Manufacturing Service - RayPCB

Contracting electronics manufacturing service companies help to provide a basis for cost-effective production and optimal design performance. It, however, starts with outlining areas where you would need electronics manufacturers. The following points are worthy of note in selecting a good EMS company in the electronic manufacturing industry;

REQUISITE KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR DESIGN NEEDS

The first step to picking an electronic manufacturing service provider is determining if the company has in-depth knowledge of your design needs. It is necessary to avoid misunderstandings in design requirements. An appropriate EMS company with a good business model can understand your design needs and communicates the same language to help drive your production process.

INDUSTRY HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE

Once you are sure that an electronics manufacturing service (EMS) company understands your design needs, the next thing is to verify their experience and history in the electronic manufacturing industry. How long an EMS provider has stayed in the electronics industry is a measure of its credibility and ability to satisfy customers.

INDUSTRY CERTIFICATION CREDIBILITY

A credible electronics manufacturing service provider would have the necessary electronics manufacturing industry certifications. This certification indicates that the electronic manufacturing services EMS company has been licensed to operate under certain conditions in the electronics industry. Outsourcing your equipment design to an EMS company deficient in some necessary EMS industry certificate and industry expertise could seriously threaten your overall equipment production. Deficiency in necessary certifications would also mean that the EMS company doesn’t take its business seriously.

PRODUCT TESTING POLICY

Electronic equipment is usually required to operate under very high reliability; hence it is necessary to understand their testing policy. Understanding the testing policy would give you an insight into how much simulation your equipment undergoes in the entire process and its probable reliability.

TRACEABILITY HANDLING

Traceability is the ability to effectively track and recall electronic components in the integrated circuits and replace them with a better matching part. It is important because it builds confidence in the consumers. It also provides manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers with necessary details about the product.

PRODUCT LIFECYCLE SURVEILLANCE

An appropriate EMS provider would track and ensure that a product doesn’t die before its estimated lifecycle. Equipment manufacturers ensure to clear this with their electronic manufacturing services EMS to ensure their products meet the intended purpose after production.

COMMITMENT TO THE NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION PROCESS

A decent electronic manufacturing services provider commits to ensuring that each new quality product introduced in the market meets consumers’ needs. The EMS company also ensures getting product reviews to improve the electronics value chain.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

The success of a new product lies in robust communication between electronic manufacturing services (EMS) personnel and equipment manufacturers. Be sure that your EMS company has strict open communication policies. This way, necessary adjustments can always be communicated when necessary.

EFFECTIVE VOICE OF CUSTOMER (VOC) MONITOR

The VOC program describes the customer’s satisfaction and expectations of a product and its services. A Decent EMS company put this service to cater to customers’ understanding, needs, expectations, and necessary improvements. The level of commitment to this design services communicates how well an EMS provider is ready to serve its customers in the electronics value chain.

SERVICES PROVIDED BY ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES

EMS - RAYPCB

EMS companies can and should be able to turn a product concept into reality irrespective of its design complexity and supply chain. Decent electronic contract manufacturing services should be able to deliver the following services viz;

PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD (PCB) ASSEMBLY

The printed circuit board assembly is one of the most important services an electronic manufacturing service provides. It is done by either using the surface mount technology or solder component technique. The PCBA process integrates circuits using electronic components like transistors to route power and signals between physical devices on a bare board. EMS companies now use cutting-edge technologies to test the PCB in the integration process to ensure it meets requirements even before completion of its mass production.

CABLE ASSEMBLY

Often, there is a need for specialized cable assembly. This cable assembly could range from mechanical subassemblies to micro push/pull connectors. However, some cables require toughening to operate in harsh conditions, and an EMS company is supposed to provide such final assembly.

CONTRACT DESIGN

A decent electronics manufacturer will get involved from the design inception to the product layout until the final design stage. The advantage of contracting the design to a reputable EMS company is getting you an industry-specific expert for your design. Also, overall design time is minimal because the electronics manufacturing service provider has specialized engineers and production teams ready to work with you. The electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider will provide the following;

  • Validation tests and their necessary documents,
  • Environmental test compliance,
  • Software and firmware,
  • DFX analysis

The electronics manufacturing services EMS company would also provide the material managers, engineers, architects, and stock administrators to help with the following;

  • 3-D CAd and bodily sculpturing,
  • Integrity survey,
  • Technological feasibility reviews,
  • Experimenting,
  • Price fixing,
  • Circuit simulation and prototyping etc.

TESTING

Many equipment manufacturers usually send their design engineers to the electronics manufacturing services EMS factories to verify specifications are met. Failure to carry out these functional test can lead to the following;

  • Affect product supply chain
  • Provide extra fixing costs,
  • Dent company’s business reputation.
  • Hamper lead time.

As an equipment manufacturer, be sure to do a visual inspection of your printed circuit boards and carry some or all of the following testing services before your PCB is shipped to you;

  • Flying Probing Test: This test allows the manufacturer to use his probes or multimeter to test circuit components like resistance, capacitance, inductance, open and short circuits, diode tests, etc.
  • In-Circuit Test (ICT): The PCB design allows for certain needles that pop when the manufacturer presses them down with probes. The manufacturer uses the needles to carry out various point-to-point tests.
  • Burn-In Test: The manufacturer operates the PCB at maximum temperature to verify its full load capacity and possible early failure.
  • Automated Optical Inspection: The manufacturer uses a 2D or 3D camera to take photos of the printed circuit boards and compare them with detailed schematics. If there are variances, the electronics manufacturing services company quickly gets it sorted.
  • Other function tests include but are not limited to the following;
    • PCB contamination test.
    • Solder float test.
    • Peel test.
    • X-ray inspection.
    • Micro-sectioning analysis.
    • PCB solderability test.
    • Time domain reflector testing (TDR).

PROTOTYPING

Prototyping eliminates all future PCB performance failure issues before sending it out to end-users. With this business strategy, manufacturers can concentrate on layout experimentation, thereby showing the actual performance of the PCB. Also, PCB prototyping takes either of the following forms;

  • Functional prototyping,
  • Working prototyping,
  • Visual model,
  • Proof of concept

Either of the concepts named earlier is done to evaluate the PCB for the following;

  • Confirmation for production.
  • Layout drawback inspection.
  • Product durability.
  • Faulty design checks.
  • Budget check.
  • Stability checks.

ELECTROMECHANICAL DESIGN

EMS companies use various types of materials to develop outputs such as box build in electromechanical assembly. The type of equipment would determine if the electronic manufacturing services company would use either steel, aluminum, or plastic in this stage. The electronic manufacturer also must determine the best potting method (the blend of materials for improved performance). The electromechanical design also includes how the EMS company coats the equipment cable. The cables usually undergo conformal coating with an additional layer to protect them from shrinking because of heat.

AFTERMARKET SERVICES

After supplying the equipment, electronics manufacturing services provider plays a vital role in ensuring product delivery and customer satisfaction. Often electronic products have a high failure rate. However, electronic manufacturing services provides a competitive advantage by catering to the following services after sales;

  • Refurbishing
  • Remanufacturing
  • Calibration
  • Helping manufacturers troubleshoot and replace faulty circuit components.
  • Helping manufacturers automate system simulation.

BENEFITS OF CONTRACTING AN EMS COMPANY

 ECM or CEM - RAYPCB

Electronic equipment manufacturing requires high precision to design schematics and also control costs. Hence the following are benefits of hiring an EMS company;

  • Fast Time To Market: By just presenting the necessary documents to the EMS company, the equipment can be produced and market-ready in less time.
  • Improved Equipment Quality: Electronic manufacturing services companies have solution providers which guarantee product quality and improved productivity for operational excellence.
  • Provision Of A One-Stop Assembly: Sourcing for various components can be scarce at times, reducing product lead time. Contracting an EMS company will render all necessary components as they are readily available in large quantities.
  • Needless Cost Of Equipment Rework: Hiring an electronic manufacturing services takes all the stress of reworking as it is their job to ensure products meet customers’ satisfaction.

FEASIBLE CHALLENGES FACED BY EMS COMPANIES

  • COMPLEX GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN

Trying to meet international standards while coordinating internal and external resources strains product traceability and compliance. Therefore, its common practice to travel several components to get supplies to customers.

  • SUSTAINABILITY AND WASTE DISPOSAL

International standards and regulations force electronic manufacturing services companies to make corporate social decisions daily. Considering the effect of e-waste, EMS companies now face the serious task of ensuring that products are recyclable regardless of their production capabilities.

  • DEMAND UNCERTAINTY

Consumer preference can result in a surge in component demand. However, the EMS company must keep a tight inventory of necessary components to align with demands.

  • DWINDLING MARGINS

Increase competition and emerging innovations in the electronic manufacturing services regularly push prices down. Thus, to remain in business, the EMS company must continue to improve its process while keeping costs low. It makes the EMS market volatile for smaller companies.

  • SHORTER PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE AND OBSOLESCENCE MANAGEMENT

Product life cycle refers to how long a product remains in the market. It includes an introduction to the market, sales growth, saturation/maturity, and decline in sales. Due to emerging innovations, consumers tend to be on the lookout for newer products. Once a new product is introduced in the market, consumers quickly switch, thereby causing a shorter product life cycle and obsolescence for previous products. It beckons electronic manufacturing services companies always to retool their production lines cost-effectively.

CONCLUSION

Regardless of how you wish to make your design analysis, contracting equipment design to EMS company has overall benefits. Even with the fast-paced evolution in the electronic industry, electronics manufacturing service providers would always rapidly evolve for their customers. Contracting EMS companies would ensure a prompt manufacturing process in delivering better electronic devices.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Are Original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) the same as EMS?

A: No! OEM business models focus on research while retaining the product’s design and intellectual property (IP). Meanwhile, electronic manufacturing services offer specialized assistance in designing, manufacturing, testing, and software design.

Q: What is high-mix, low volume manufacturing?

A: High-mix low volume manufacturing refers to producing varieties of products in low quantities. High-mix, low-volume manufacturing poses great financial challenges for OEMs, so it is preferable to contract electronic manufacturing services providers.

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