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How COVID-19 is impacting the USA PCB Manufacturing & Assembly Industries?

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: December 24, 2021
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COVID-19 has emerged not only as a significant health challenge but also one that has begun to impact business and economy in an unprecedented manner across the world. Latest indices are pointing towards a sharp slowdown in manufacturing output across countries. In fact the Corona virus outbreak could impact the global economy in 3 ways:

By affecting production- Countries beginning with China have already seen a major disruption in production. This in turn has had a ripple impact across the world. The impact has been felt on exporters to China as well as on China’s sources of import.

By disrupting the supply chain– With many countries dependent on importing intermediate goods from China and other impacted countries, supply chains have been majorly disrupted. The slowdown in the impacted countries therefore has had a direct bearing on the production and profitability of these countries as well.

By its impact on financial markets– Disruptions such as the ones mentioned above have its impact on declining equity markets and corporate bond markets. There is weakening trust in financial instruments and markets thereby causing widespread disruption.

China’s Impact

An important aspect of the impact is the fact that China has been at the forefront of this virus and that it is a primary supplier of core electronics components has impacted a host of industries.

There have already been a number of researches, among them that done by Omdia, a leading player when it comes to research in the areas of technology and telecommunications. The research points out that the smartphone market is likely to be impacted on account of China’s high market share. These trends are as true of PCB Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Industries.

The Chinese New Year traditionally has been a period when even in a regular year supply comes to a grinding halt. This year the period saw the issue being further aggravated with factories being closed and a host of quarantine measures and travel restrictions in place. Even in places where production is resumed the delays are already taking a toll on the supply chain.

Another major impact of this on the Electronics Manufacturing Industry is that engineering teams typically travel to China for development of new models and designs. New design development is likely to be seriously impacted with the travel restrictions. The fact remains that even when these restrictions are lifted, there could be a general hesitation with perceived fears of safety. Even if the old supply chains start moving, the issue of new design development is likely to remain unsolved in the short run.

In fact, the longer the duration of the Corona virus outbreak, the greater is going to be the impact on the PCB Manufacturing and Electronics Manufacturing industry, which may need to halt production. Surveys have gone on to show that there is likely to be a minimum of 5 weeks delay in shipments. The need of the hour for USA PCB Manufacturers clearly is to be prepared for them and have contingency plans in place and to prepare for the unexpected. Managing component flow is more important than ever now in ensuring that there is minimal supply chain disruption.

Likely Way Forward

At Mermar, we have our ear totally to the ground so as to be able to track the issue extremely closely. Regular contact with our freight partners also means that we track developments by the hour. If the situation worsens, of course, supplies could get hit further. Whichever way things turn we will be tracking them in real time giving us the ability to react quickly to any changes.

At this time it would be advisable to plan your estimated requirements well in advance and be in constant touch with your account managers who will do what it takes to mitigate the issues being faced as also keep you posted of developments. Please feel free to reach out to us for any clarifications as we tide these times together.

The pandemic, in that sense, is an eye opener on the fact that as global manufacturing declines businesses with international supply chains can get severely impacted and at best can operate only intermittently. In the long term, therefore, it is possible that the PCB Manufacturing industry could also look for onshore manufacturing options for supplies as a likely alternative.

Here is hoping the world overcomes the pandemic and the global economy begins to rebuild itself at the earliest!

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Top Reasons to Choose Fully Integrated Service for PCB Box Build Assemblies

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: November 26, 2022
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A box build, also popularly known as systems integration is essentially an electromechanical assembly process. It largely includes enclosure fabrication, installation, routing of cable harness, installation of assemblies as well as components.

There are the number of benefits of using Box Build Assembly, primary among them being high-quality control of the system at optimal costs.

When it comes to outsourcing a provider for PCB Build Box Assembly, it is imperative that you choose someone who offers end-to-end PCB integrated services. Here are the top reasons why:

Reduction of Time

With integrated services, you tend to benefit on the overall delivery time especially as you do not have to deal with individual vendors where a delay in one leads to a cascading delay and can throw your schedules out of gear. It today’s competitive environment delays can play havoc and can result in a substantial competitive disadvantage.

In addition, you will not have to undergo the stress of coordinating the different stages. With one company handling the project right from design engineering to material acquisition, assembly, testing, warehousing and shipping you will be able to trace the project development easily. Complete peace of mind is thus guaranteed.

Cost Optimization

Integrated services also come with cost advantages as the project is handled end-to-end by a single provider and thus he can benefit from and pass on the cost benefits that accrue on account of it.

Customized Solutions

Integrated services also work well where you require customized solutions for your Box Build Assembly as the provider then has accountability. This is as opposed to each provider providing piecemeal facilities. Especially for complex projects, this is of essence as you cannot afford to lose precious time on account of lags in information or time. With an integrated provider there are significantly fewer risks of rework, which can play havoc with your production plans.

If your integrated provider has experience in handling your industry requirements you can rest assured of the solution, as opposed to having different providers.

Effective Component Sourcing

An integrated provider also has a well-developed supplier network, which could be both global and domestic. Hence sourcing of custom manufactured components is easy and cost-effective.

Improved Efficiency and Value

Integrated services allow you to leverage the portfolio strengths of the company such as insourcing. In addition, the provider optimizing and streamlining the assembly process brings efficiency for the customer and helps in making them competitive in their markets.

An integrated provider is also likely to have the necessary equipment and testing procedures to ensure that the box build is of high quality and is viable.

Highly Suited for Start-Ups

With more and more start-ups creating innovative products, their need to provide end-to-end solutions to bring their concepts to life is on an increase. From simple box builds to highly complex systems, can be provided by integrated providers. In fact, they can set up “lean lines” for total turnkey manufacturing for complex box build products with low lead times. Also, with the purchase, logistics, inventory control teams working together, high quality is assured.

Packaging and Delivery Issues

If you choose multiple vendors, packaging, warehousing and delivery remain a logistical issue for you to contend with. No matter how good the product, if it is delivered late or if they are damaged during shipping, customer confidence is lost. As opposed to this, an integrated box build provider will take care of these logistical issues so that you do not have to worry on these accounts. In fact, integrated providers can often ship the products to the end customer.

Mermar Electronics is a California based company, specialized in customized PCB Box-Build Assembly Services as quick as 24 hours to 1 week for standard deliveries. We have a team of experienced personal’s offering various Box-Build Assembly Service includes Product assembly, Sub-level product assembly, System level assembly, Complete system integration, Product testing, Packaging & Labelling and more. We provide a high mix for the low volume box build or low mix for a high-volume PCB box build services.

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How to Choose the Right PCB Assembly Company in California?

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: November 25, 2022
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PCB Assembly is an extremely crucial phase in the printed circuit board project. It is thus important that you choose the right partner who can do justice to your project. In choosing the right PCB Assembly Company in California, there are certain key factors that you must keep in mind so that the bespoke needs of your project are met. Especially if you are a company, which requires small batches or prototypes to be manufactured, you need to choose a company that accepts minimum quantity requirements and sticks to timelines, so there is no cascading effect of delays. While we look at costs as the primary determining factor, the fact is that a host of best practices need to be watched out for as well. Here are some of them aspects to consider:

Cost

Cost is a most important aspect to hire California PCB Assembly Company. However cost alone cannot be a determinant to choose the supplier, as quality will play a far bigger role. Poor quality and hence redoing the prototype can prove to be extremely costly especially in terms of loss of time that can prove to be fatal in a scenario where time-to-market is of essence.

Technology

It goes without saying that the PCB Assembly company that you choose, has to have state-of-the-art technology to do justice to the product. BGA Assembly and rework capability, sophisticated pick and place equipment, testing services for the boards etc are something of the things to watch out for.

Turnaround Time

Again this factor is extremely crucial as quick turnaround times can help you in turn to improve the time-to–market. Any delay in turnaround time, on the other hand can lead to cascading delays, which can throw you completely out of gear.

Customization

When it comes to prototypes, what you need is a bespoke product suited to your specific needs. You need to therefore ensure that you go with a supplier who has enough experience and facilities to offer what you envision. Also the supplier’s rich experience should be able to guide you to make any changes in design that will impact manufacturability.

Industry Experience

Ideally you should look at a PCB Assembly company that has robust experience in your domain. This will enable you to benefit from their experience as they will be able to offer rich inputs

Security

In a competitive market, it is essential that the PCB Assembly Company offers adequate protection when it comes to your intellectual property rights and classified information.

Safe Packing & Shipping

Look for a PCB Assembly provider that follows safe packaging & shipping, so that you are sure that the product isn’t damaged during shipping.

Other than these aspects, you need to look for a host of best practices that a PCB Assembly Company should follow:

Quick Quotations

In a competitive market where time is of utmost essence you should not have to waste precious time waiting for quotations. Quick quotations are also useful since you may want to know the pricing at different levels of quantity that you may require. This will in turn help you arrive at the product costing on a proactive basis. Go for a provider who is quick with turnaround times when it comes to quotations.

Prototypes

If you are a start up or are adding a new product to an existing product line, what is of tremendous importance is that a robust prototype be made available to you at a reasonable cost. PCB Assembly Companies can make this possible by combining low volume orders into a large production run and therefore still offer economy of scale. This is also made possible through the use of latest technology.

On shore manufacturing

Another area to look for is on shore manufacturing, as that can take away delays on account of shipping. You could also avoid the many complexities that could arise with an offshore manufacturer, also Choose the best PCB assembly manufacture.

Value Added Services

Beyond just PCB Assembly, a professional company can offer a host of other services including but not limited to warehousing and sometimes even sending the final product directly to the end consumer.

A quick scan of the above aspects will ensure that you team up with the right PCB Assembly Company that will bring value to the table and provide you a distinctive edge.

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Reflow vs Wave Soldering: Process and Difference Between Them

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: October 20, 2022
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The importance of effective soldering in the success of electronic products cannot be overstated. Broadly speaking soldering refers to a kind of low temperature brazing with the use of a filler material called solder.

It is important however to know the difference between the two types of soldering that are used for PCBs and the relative merits and demerits of both.

Wave Soldering

Simply put, wave soldering is a bulk pcb soldering process, which involves passing the circuit board through molten solder. It derives its name from the fact that there is a pump in the pan that creates a “wave” of solder that attaches the components to the board. This is followed by water spray or air blowing that ensures that the parts are firmly in place.

Wave Soldering Process

Typically Wave Soldering comprises of 4 steps:

1. Flux Spraying

Solder flux plays a very important role as it reduces the surface tension of solder paste as also transmits heat Additionally it is known to stop secondary oxidation.

2. Pre-heating

What is critical in wave soldering is the right temperature as if that is not maintained it can cause mechanical stress resulting in cracks in the board. If the preheating isn’t adequate board strength is greatly compromised. Also, in the absence of the right temperature, the solder thickness is affected which in turn results in board stress.

3. Wave Soldering

This is the stage where the solder paste rises as a wave and allows components to bond on the boards

4. Cooling

Finally, the reduction of temperature results in the board to be successfully assembled. It is through years of experience that the PCB manufacturer arrives at that optimal time and temperature required to arrive that the perfect soldering.

While wave soldering is used in both Through Hole PCB assembly as well as Surface Mount Technology, it is more in use in case of THT.

Reflow Soldering

Reflow Soldering, used largely in Surface Mount Technology involves creating a solder paste out of powdered solder and flux and applying it to fix components on the board. The entire assembly is then heated in a reflow oven to connect the joints. Essentially then the components are first temporarily attached which is then followed by soldering with the solder paste.

Reflow Soldering Process

The Primary steps involved in Reflow Soldering include the following:

1. Pre-Heating

This is critical to the success of soldering as improper heating can lead to soldering quality being significantly compromised.

2. Thermal Soak

Like Wave soldering, solder flux plays a very important role here too. The temperature needs to be right for the flux to be activated and play its role in soldering.

3. Reflow Soldering

This step involves the solder paste to be melted and for it to reflow. Again, temperature control plays a very important role here. Temperature that is too high or too low can adversely affect the process. While temperature that is too low will not allow the solder paste to reflow, if the temperature is too high it can damage the board.

4. Cooling

This process allows the solder paste to solidify and hold the parts firmly in place.

While Reflow soldering can be used in both SMT & THT assembly, it works best in case of SMT. When used in THT, it involves filling solder paste in the holes on the board and plugging component pins followed by reflow soldering.

Reflow vs Wave Soldering

Choosing the right soldering process can go a long way in impacting manufacturing efficiency as well as affecting time, and costs. The possibility of soldering defects can also be significantly cut down if one was to choose the right soldering basis for the technology being used.

As mentioned earlier, typically reflow soldering works best for SMT assembly while Wave soldering works best for THT Assembly. However, there are often situations where the circuit board contains a mix of SMT & THT components. In case of mixed assembly, it is prudent to first carry out SMT followed by THT as the temperature involved in reflow soldering is typically much higher than that in wave soldering. If the order of the two is interchanged, it results in the melting of the solid solder paste resulting in defects.

It is therefore imperative that the PCB Assembly service provider be chosen with utmost care. Long years of experience allow the PCB Manufacturer to be aware of these nuances and deliver a product that stands the test of quality and time. There is little that can substitute the expertise and experience of the PCB Assembler that comes from day-to-day handling as well as keeping oneself updated with the latest technologies.

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