Sourcing PCBA: Can Your EMS Supplier Do More?


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A contract manufacturer with multiple capabilities in addition to EMS is a solution that can pay off in the long run as you look to scale the growth of your company.

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Materials, Processes, and More Questions to Ask

While you’re looking for a contract manufacturer that can provide PCBs and complex electronic box build assemblies, look for those with experience in working in an assortment of materials and processes. 

Plastics

Types of processes include:

  • Injection Molding
  • Vertical Injection Molding
  • Over-Molding
  • Ultrasonic Welding
  • Extrusion
  • Thermoforming
  • Compression Molding
  • Rotational Molding
  • Blow Molding
  • Casting Insert Molding  
  • Pad & Serial Printing
Questions to ask a plastics manufacturer
  • After I purchase tooling, do you guarantee the molds for the life of the project?
  • What’s the most efficient tooling option, single or multiple cavities?
  • Do you have your own tool shop?
  • Who owns the tool?
  • Can you help you determine: draft angles, slides, injectors, multiple gates, core or collapsing core features?
  • How many molding machines to you have?

Metals

Types of processes include:

  • Gravity cast
  • High-pressure die-cast aluminum
  • Die cast
  • Sand cast
  • Fabrication
  • Extrusion

What you're looking for:

Find a CM that meets the requirements defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as well EU standards. They should have a thorough understanding of a variety of raw materials, the appropriate manufacturing processes and finishes.

Rubber

Types of processes include:

  • Blow molding
  • Vertical injection molding
  • Injection molding
  • Compression molding
  • Rotational molding
  • Over Molding
  • Extrusion

What to look for when selecting a manufacturer for your rubber components:

  • What materials can they work in?
  • Do they understand the manufacturing process and have the right equipment and capabilities — tool shop, presses, molds?
  • Do they have a control process to for batching (to ensure raw materials are measured and mixed accurately?
  • What is the inspection process: Internal Quality Control – Quality Control – and Finished Goods Quality Inspection?
  • Is there a Quality Laboratory with the proper testing equipment?

It's pretty easy to find someone who can put parts on a circuit board, but what if you could find someone to handle production of your entire project, whether it’s a simple PCBA, a complex box build, or a brand-new product requiring specific tooling? You owe it to yourself to at least explore that possibility to see if working with a contract manufacturer is the right fit for you.

This article originally appeared on the East West Manufacturing blog, which can be found here.

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