We take the headaches out of your production processes
Managing the technical elements of your production processes is not usually core to any product manufacturer's business. We do all the things you don't want to think about so you can focus on marketing and developing your product.
What we do: We select the right contract electronics manufacturers and manage the technical relationship with them to ensure smooth and un-interrupted production processes.
We do it well: We fully understand the manufacturing process and have the skills to update designs, manage jigs and testing processes, and the implications of changes to standards, so you don't have to worry about developing these capabilities in-house.
We make it easy: By outsourcing this task, avoid the skills challenge and payroll overhead of an in-house production manager role and you can rest assured that your product will continually meet the quality standards your customers expect.
Manufacturer and supplier selection
Identifying the right manufacturing partner(s) is an exercise in determining the right skills, capabilities and cultural alignments. Factors we consider include:
Technical capability: Do they have the right equipment needed to deliver the job? As the sophistication and performance of PCBAs continues to increase, the manufacturing equipment required is increasingly advanced and maintaining high yield is challenging . Technologies include the number of zones in reflow ovens, the various test and inspection equipment and specialist capabilities such as flip-chipping.
Systems: High reliability manufacturing requires good supporting systems to manage traceability of components, processes and packaging, inspection and test records, functional testing records, inventory management and more.
Reliability versus cost optimisation: The cheapest quote is not always the best value and we help sort through the trade-offs to determine the best fit for your product. We analyse all quotes, identify hidden costs, negotiate better pricing and provide independent advice.
Certifications: Does the manufacturer have the right certifications for the product you are developing? For example, medical devices require ISO 13485 certifications to ease the audits required. Defence, explosive environments and other applications all have their own standards that must be adhered to.
Image: Courtesy of Circuitwise Electronics Manufacturing
Production planning and process optimisation
We deliver a Manufacturing Data Pack for all electronics, programming and mechanical elements in products we design. Key deliverables include:
Manufacturing requirements: We specify the manufacturing requirements, liaise with electronics manufacturers to answer their technical questions, develop both PCBA and final product assembly instructions.
Supply chain management: We work with your marketing team to balance forecasting of product demand with volatile lead times for critical components. We work with your selected manufacturer to ensure that orders for long lead time components go in on time to avoid any disruption to production schedules. We engage with the manufacturers of key components, and negotiate the best deals on your behalf.
Records analysis and process optimisation: We analyse all manufacturing process and test/inspection records to continually improve the process. We focus on yield, causes of reworking, and test times as key indicators, just to name a few.
Test systems and jig maintenance
The test systems and jig need to be periodically checked to ensure they are still working as intended, including:
Calibration procedures: The PTJ may need to be calibrated to ensure it is able to test the devices accurately. Procedures to properly calibrate the PTJ must be developed.
Measurement equipment: The PTJ calibration process will usually involves specialist equipment for measuring aspects such as voltage and current sources. This equipment itself must be periodically calibrated normally by sending it to an authorised testing laboratory.
Maintenance: The PTJ will need to be check on a regular schedule, with records taken of all maintenance including that the correct calibration procedures were followed.
For more information view our Test Systems and Jigs page.
Design maintenance and obsolescence management
Once a product has been launched, its design needs to be managed throughout its life. Key activities include:
Component End-of-Life (EOL) management: While we aim to choose components that are readily available from multiple sources, with long term supply guarantees, occasionally critical component suppliers will supersede components with new ones. We search for parts that ideally can be substituted with no design changes.
Design updates: Where substitute parts for EOL components force a design change, we update the original designs to accommodate. We then reissue the Manufacturing Data Pack and to the contract manufacturers and update the test systems, processes and procedures as required.
Standards and legislation monitoring: We monitor changes to any standards your product is subject to and continually access of the device needs to be updated to remain in compliance.
Compliance updates: Where a product is subject to regulatory compliance updates, changes to hardware and software will trigger an automatic need to review any risks that may be introduced by the changes and submit the device for re-certification. We undertake the required risk analysis and work with you regulatory agents to update the relevant design and development files.