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.


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. 


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?


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.


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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