Electronic Manufacturing Services Short Overview
The term Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) refers to companies contracted by Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) companies for manufacturing services. They are also commonly referred to as Electronics Contract Manufacturing (ECM) because they mainly involve manufacturing equipment that uses electronics components/parts and assemblies.
The advantages of using Electronic Manufacturing Services include reduced capital investment, accelerated time to market and continued product innovation – because the OEM companies get the time to work on their core focus areas while the EMS work on products manufacturing, they have been contracted to work on. The Electronic Manufacturing Services companies also offer secure path to meet industry standards since they have industry-specific certifications for the services they offer.
EMS companies’ services include contract design, prototyping, PCB assembly, cable assembly, electromechanical assembly, testing, and after-sales services. An EMS company may offer one of these services or offer a combination of these services.
This refers to contracts signed between OEM companies and EMS companies for EMS to offer industry-specific design solutions that include generating design for manufacturability analysis, costing exercises, circuit simulation and prototyping, 3-D CAD and physical modeling, environmental tests compliance, validation tests, and required software and firmware.
While providing the industry-specific design solution, the contracted EMS company provides the OEM with documentation at every step and ensures it has met all the regulatory approvals.
EMS companies offers PCB prototyping services before the actual PCB is assembled to detect design faults, confirm the PCB size and design to avoid last-minute changes after production has started, and test the PCB design for resistance power variations, temperature variations, and shock.
PCB prototyping can be done using proof of concept, visual models, a working prototype, and a functional prototype.
OEM companies also contract EMS companies for Printed circuit board (PCB) assembly services, which refers to assembling the components of PCB circuit boards. The EMS may be contracted solely for PCB assembly services if the OEM company already has the PCB design ready and only requires a specialist to handle the assembly of the components or the PCB assembly services may be a part of the overall contract if the EMS company is assigned the task of developing a PCB from design to the manufacturing stage.
PCB assembly may include using through-hole or surface mount technology to solder components like resistors, Integrated circuits (ICs), transistors, and the like on a bare PCB board.
EMS also offers full-functional in-house PCB testing services to ensure the PCBs are correctly assembled for the specified applications.
EMS companies are contracted for cable assembly services that include wiring control panels/boxes, setting up harnesses, and harsh environment cable assemblies. These services may also call for mechanical subassemblies to put the required electronic or electrical components in place for wiring.
Once the cable assembly is complete, the EMS Company also offers functional and pull tests.
An EMS company offering electromechanical assembly services design and manufacture mechanical enclosures for electronic components. The enclosures or box builds may be made of aluminum, steel, or plastic, depending on the OEM specifications.
In addition, the EMS Company may also offer 3-D modeling, configuration management, encapsulation, custom shipment packaging, and potting to improve vibration, shock, corrosion, and moisture resistance.
While testing is an integral aspect of all the services offered by EMS companies, sometimes OEM companies may contract an EMS Company solely to test its products before releasing them in the market.
Testing reduces after-sale returns and protects the reputation of your company and products.
Some of the testing services that EMS companies provide include in-circuit testing, automated optical inspection, flying probe testing, burn-in testing, and any other functional testing that may be required.
OEM companies can also contract EMS companies to offer after-sale services like inspections, painting, troubleshooting, repairing, calibration, refurbishing, upgrading, cleaning, failure analysis, and dealing with obsolescence.
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