"Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It's coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.” — Sir James Dyson, Inventor and industrial designer
The electronics manufacturing industry is booming significantly as a result of increased demand from emerging market nations. As a result, output of electronic manufacturing process is growing in many countries, and investments in this sector have soared.
If you are unfamiliar with how electronics are made, the entire process might seem intimidating. There are a few necessary components to electronic manufacturing production, regardless of the size of the producer.
The creation of printed circuit board electronics does, however, include a number of unique stages.
Electronic assembly is now more necessary than ever, so these products should be produced continuously.
This further leads us to dive thoroughly into the electronics manufacturing process, its manufacturing workflow, challenges, and more. Let’s take a look at the topic we’ll cover in this guide.
- What is Electronic Manufacturing Process?
- What is Electronics Manufacturing Services?
- Electronics Manufacturing Process
- Electronics Manufacturing Workflow
- Challenges Faced in Electronic Manufacturing Processes
- Purpose of PCB Layout Design for Manufacturability
- Tips for Setting your Workspace to Handle PCBs
- Future and Current Trends in Electronics Manufacturing
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Electronic Manufacturing Process
- How Deskera Can Assist You?
What is Electronic Manufacturing Process?
The electronics industry produces consumer electronics, electrical components, and industrial electronics. It involves a series of steps during its manufacturing process.
Among the electrical equipment frequently created by the electronic manufacturing industry include circuit boards, televisions, and portable electronics.
The industry that manufactures electronics includes industrial electronics, networking, electronic components, telecommunications, and consumer electronics.
What is Electronics Manufacturing Services?
Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) is a broad economic sector as well as a particular subcontractor or business.
Additionally, the terms "EMS" and the broader term "contract manufacturing (CM)" often used interchangeably.
In conclusion, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may boost operational efficiencies and focus on important tasks like research and development due to the value-added engineering and manufacturing outsourcing services provided by EMS businesses.
Electronics Manufacturing Process
Following we have discussed crucial steps involved in the electronic manufacturing process. Let’s discuss:
Step 1: Bill of Materials (BoM)
First, let’s understand about the bill of materials, or BOM. It is one section of the product's technical documentation. It is a compiled information source with a list of every component needed to create one unit of a finished product.
Every manufacturing process's final result, like the assembly of electronics, uses a certain combination of materials.
In the electronic manufacturing process — the first step includes the process of determining an electronic bill of materials (BoM). It is settled upon long before an electronic design plan is ever produced.
During this process, manufacturers determine their overall costs and the types of materials they need.
Step 2: Designing
After the BOM is complete, the next step includes designing. Moreover, it is necessary to develop a manufacturing and design blueprint. Note that it's also crucial to create multiple designs in case something goes wrong.
During the design phase, every part of the material the manufacturer will employ to construct an electrical tool or device must be measured.
Step 3: Testing
A device is tested after it is produced. It helps to ensure that it performs well in a range of circumstances before it is put into production.
Additionally, this is crucial because any design error, no matter how small, will render the entire output useless.
Therefore, you should start by making one item, test it, and then move on to mass production.
Step 4: Distribution
Once you've completed developing and testing it, then it's time to distribute it.
Moreover, before distributing your product, make a few last-minute tests to ensure that your clients won't receive faulty things. You can be certain that your company's or product's reputation won't suffer by doing this.
Repairs and returns of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are also a component of the electronics manufacturing process. It is because you have to deal with damaged electronics that you have produced and distributed.
However, it doesn't always indicate you supplied the damaged product intentionally; it's just the nature of electrical products. They might malfunction at any time, and whomever built them would have to fix the issue.
Electronics Manufacturing Workflow
The primary processes used today in the production of electronics include the design and assembly of printed circuit boards, or PCBs, cable assembly, packaging, prototyping, and testing. We shall look more closely at the technologies underpinning each of these.
Following we’ve discussed the electronic manufacturing process and manufacturing workflow. Let’s learn:
Electronics manufacturing process starts with the design phase.
Here, engineers create the manufacturing blueprints for the device. They must consider the components it will need, device's intended use, and the assembly procedure.
After creating a design, they build prototypes and test them to ensure that they function as intended.
Once the design is complete, the process moves on to the creation of an electronic manufacturing product.
The OEM electronics firm will start working on the project and finish it as planned after taking note of all the specific features for the electronic manufacturing process goods.
Significant research and brainstorming usually conducted before incorporating into the actual production process. It helps to reduce risks and prevent squandering time and money.
The final product must be an exact reproduction of the design template in terms of all specs and specifics.
Assembling the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) board involves a number of different techniques (pick and place).
Using a solder screen, the printed board is initially soldered to. The component pads often receive a coating of solder paste. The flux and small solder grains are the only ingredients in the solder paste.
After the solder paste has been added, the board is then sent through a pick and place machine, which chooses the component from a dispenser and places it in the right place on the board.
After that, a soldering machine is utilized to ensure that the components are attached perfectly.
The assembled PCB, like the PCB that was made, is put through a number of tests and inspections before being sold.
Now, there’s the packaging for the item. The steps are straightforward:
- Select the material based on the environment and exposure to the elements,
- Construct the enclosure,
- Secure the PCB inside,
- Connect all cables to connectors on the enclosure's surface and seal the enclosure's interior from the exterior (if necessary) with a protective film, coat, or foam.
It is important to ensure that the device container is up to code. Though, it may seem like a minor step, but it is essential. It is because the finished device must be able to handle specific strains and loads.
To name a few packaging options, it includes sealed metallic, ceramic, and glass enclosures, sheet, cast, or machined metals or alloys, molded, extruded, or injected plastic, and plastic or resin coating.
Enclosing a device requires testing for various requirements in order to ensure dependability and warranty. It is commonly known that the IP certification offers a certain degree of resistance against the intrusion of solid and liquid particles; the first digit denotes solid particle protection and the second, liquid particle protection.
Additionally, there are optional supplementary and additional letters with very specific use-cases.
Each assembled PCB must undergo visual examinations. Using X-ray machines, short circuits, discontinuities, and solder flaws are routinely found. After that, the PCBs must pass functionality testing before being made ready for use.
Once mass-market manufacture of the electronic manufacturing equipment has begun, testing—also known as quality control in manufacturing or quality assurance—is required to ensure the items' quality. Any gadget will have a sticker that lists the testing requirements it met as proof that it did so.
Tests are typically divided into four categories: physical, electrical, analogue, and/or digital tests. To determine if a board can resist a given quantity of heat, it is put through physical testing (checking if the board works as intended, logic-wise).
The equipment being tested is known as the DUT (Device Under Test), EUT (Equipment Under Test), or UUT in the industry.
If the board was a prototype, the manufacturer can only choose to send it to large-scale fabrication or to the assembly line, where it is assembled with the required cables, connectors, and case(s) and supplied to the customer after passing all testing.
Packing and Shipping
After testing, the products are submitted for packaging and shipment to retailers. These are finally sold to customers.
Challenges Faced in Electronic Manufacturing Processes
Manufacturing of consumer electronics is one of the world's most competitive and dynamic sectors. Businesses must constantly innovate and adapt to the environment's ongoing change in order to succeed.
However, the sector does encounter some challenges. Below we’ve listed the challenges faced in electronic manufacturing process:
Shorter Product Lifespans
Another problem that the electronics manufacturing process must address is short product life cycles. Because change happens so quickly, products must be replaced with newer models. High levels of waste and e-waste may result from this.
Consumer electronics manufacturing is a highly competitive industry. For many firms, market share is a hotly disputed topic, and new competitors are constantly entering the fray. As a result, it can be difficult for firms to set their products apart from those of their rivals.
Rapidly Advancing Technologies
One of the biggest issues facing the electronics manufacturing sector is the rapid pace of development. The pace of technological development is continual.
Businesses must frequently update their items to be competitive and prevent having perishable inventory, including food or cosmetics products, get locked in their inventory. Further, both money and time could be spent on this process.
Price Increase Pressure
Due to the fierce rivalry, the consumer electronics industry is under a lot of pressure to set selling prices. The profit margins of businesses are impacted by the continuing demand to reduce expenses.
Existence of Raw Materials
Many consumer goods are made with rare earth raw material metals and other challenging materials. This may lead to a shortage and an increase in cost. For instance, a disastrous global chip shortage that began in 2020 has harmed many companies, including Toyota and Sony.
Changing to Suit Consumer Preferences
It is challenging for businesses to meet demand because consumer preferences are constantly changing. For instance, the rise of smartphones has diminished demand for traditional phones and other equipment.
Like many other economic sectors, the electronics manufacturing business is currently experiencing a substantial push. Consumers and regulatory organizations are prioritizing issues related to global warming and climate changes. New laws and rules are created daily.
Global warming and climate change have quite different meanings even when sometimes used interchangeably. Climate change may affect the long-term average temperatures of our atmosphere and oceans. "Global warming" only refers to an increase in temperature (not a decline).
Due to the fact that it is one of the most common and important materials used in the production of electronics, manufacturers today place a high value on minimizing their carbon footprint.
Consumer electronics manufacturing is susceptible to changes in the economy. For instance, the 2008–2009 global recession had a significant effect on consumer electronics sales.
Online Social Media Pressure
Social networking has a big impact on consumer electronics. Negative product reviews or comments, for instance, can spread quickly and harm a company's reputation.
Theft of Intellectual Property
In the consumer electronics industry, intellectual property theft is a problem, particularly when outsourcing. It generally happens with copied products and sold as knockoffs. Businesses may experience lost sales and revenue as a result.
Limitations in the Supply Chain
Electronics manufacturing is reliant on a convoluted, global supply chain. It might be more vulnerable as a result to calamities like natural disasters or uncertain political situations. All of which will have a big impact on the manufacturing lead time for you.
Risk to the Security of Data
Data security flaws are getting worse as more and more products are connected. Hackers might gain access to client data or trade secrets, which would have dire consequences.
Consumer electronics industry labor practices are regularly contested. For instance, there have been allegations that low-wage industries in developing countries have poor working conditions.
Developing countries are receiving more consideration from the consumer electronics sector. These markets might be challenging to break into due to their languages, diverse cultures, and business practices.
End-of life Management
Products that have reached the end of their useful lives must be properly disposed of. It helps to prevent environmental contamination. For the consumer electronics industry, this might be challenging given how much stuff is thrown out each year.
There is pressure to make the production of electronics less harmful to the environment. The market, for instance, is growing for products made from recycled materials.
Warranty and Assistance
Customers frequently demand extensive warranties and support for their purchases. For electronics manufacturers, this could be expensive, especially if faulty products malfunction soon after purchase.
Goods that are Counterfeit
In the consumer electronics sector, the sale of fake goods is a serious issue. This could lead to sales losses and damage to a company's reputation.
Recalls of products can be expensive and hurt a company's reputation. Legal issues may arise with flawed products or if customers suffer harm. It is essential to immediately adopt traceability software in order to be ready for such a scenario.
Environmental Laws & Regulations
Several environmental rules and regulations apply to the manufacturing of electronics. However, these restrictions may affect the production, usage, and design of goods.
Purpose of PCB Layout Design for Manufacturability
PCB layout topology get organized through design for circuit board manufacturability (DFM) method. It helps to minimize the problems during fabrication and assembly.
A few of the numerous elements of good DFM are component route density, location, thermal control, and signal integrity.
PCB designers must balance two competing priorities: producing their boards under budget and adhering to electrical performance standards. DFM streamlines the design for the manufacturing process and decreases production costs by identifying potential issues early on.
Although there are many different ways to approach DFM, the following are some typical methods:
Ultimately, the PCB layout stage of product development is critical, and DFM helps with layout manufacturability optimization. Electronic designers can create PCBs that are straightforward to construct and comply with electrical performance standards by taking into account a range of characteristics.
Tips for Setting your Workspace to Handle PCBs
The assembly of printed circuit boards, also referred to as PCBs, is a critical and delicate procedure in the manufacture of electronic manufacturing process goods. PCBs serve to support and connect electronic components.
They are present in a variety of electrical devices, such as cell phones, laptops, and microwaves. To avoid damage, it's essential to handle printed circuit boards (PCBs) with the proper care. Here are some guidelines for organizing your workplace so that you can handle PCBs:
- Wear gloves when handling the boards to avoid leaving fingerprints or other traces.
- To ensure PCB quality, make sure that the room is clutter-free.
- Use static-free workbenches or mats if at all possible.
- Sharp edges should be avoided on tables and other surfaces.
- When building and assembling the boards, stay away from the exposed circuitry.
These simple tips will make it simpler to maintain the quality of your PCBs, assure their durability, and keep them relevant in the electronics manufacturing industry.
Regardless of whether you fabricate PCBs yourself or hire a company to do it, these rules will help you handle your boards securely.
Future and Current Trends in Electronics Manufacturing
The ability for engineers and enthusiasts to have their own concepts produced in the same mass-market facilities has just begun to gain importance.
It is "Made to Order" in this case. And when decentralization and individual inventions come back into fashion, it is seen as one of the likely trends.
The development and enhancement of assembly lines that produce better and more economical electronic components is another wave that is now in motion. It is further being supported by electronics manufacturers. These growing industries include aerospace and space tourism.
The development of technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning is a final, significant topic. These gadgets have the power to change civilization as we know it forever.
The most notable examples of AI that have come from science fiction are Deepmind, GPT-3, and Tesla's upcoming Autopilot FSD suite. This has been made possible by PCBs designed especially for neural networks and machine learning algorithms.
Future trends and projections show that consumers' priorities are shifting.
Corporations are more aware of their environmental impact. Some people are even getting ready to launch green manufacturing companies. For instance, some production lines use solar power to operate, which reduces emissions and uses less energy.
The global economy is significantly influenced by the production of electronics. It creates products that we use every day and creates work for millions of people.
As customers, we should be aware of how our products are made and how they impact the environment. We can all participate in making the process as ecologically friendly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Electronic Manufacturing Process
Following we have discussed some crucial frequently asked questions associated with the electronic manufacturing process. Let’s learn:
Que 1: What Exactly do Electronic Manufacturers do?
Ans: An electronics manufacturing business develops, tests, produces, and distributes electronic products and assemblies for original equipment manufacturers.
Que 2: What does OEM Mean in Manufacturing?
Ans: An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a business whose goods are used as parts in another business's finished goods.
Que 3: What are Services for the Manufacture of Electronics?
Ans: For original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, electronic manufacturing services, or simply EMS, are companies that offer to carry out all the steps required for the development and production of electronic devices.
In order to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, shorten the time to market, and focus on other crucial business operations like marketing and R&D, these companies give OEMs the ability to outsource portions of their engineering and manufacturing operations.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Deskera MRP allows you to closely monitor the manufacturing process. From the bill of materials to the production planning features, the solution helps you stay on top of your game and keep your company's competitive edge.
Deskera ERP and MRP system can help you:
- Manage production plans
- Maintain Bill of Materials
- Generate detailed reports
- Create a custom dashboard
Deskera ERP is a comprehensive system that allows you to maintain inventory, manage suppliers, and track supply chain activity in real time, as well as streamline a variety of other corporate operations.
Deskera Books enables you to manage your accounts and finances more effectively. Maintain sound accounting practices by automating accounting operations such as billing, invoicing, and payment processing.
Deskera CRM is a strong solution that manages your sales and assists you in closing agreements quickly. It not only allows you to do critical duties such as lead generation via email, but it also provides you with a comprehensive view of your sales funnel.
Deskera People is a simple tool for taking control of your human resource management functions. The technology not only speeds up payroll processing but also allows you to manage all other activities such as overtime, benefits, bonuses, training programs, and much more.
This is your chance to grow your business, increase earnings, and improve the efficiency of the entire production process.
We've arrived at the last section of this guide. Let's have a look at some of the most important points to remember:
- The electronics industry produces consumer electronics, electrical components, and industrial electronics. It involves a series of steps during its manufacturing process. Every manufacturing process's final result, like the assembly of electronics, uses a certain combination of materials.
- In the electronic manufacturing process — the first step includes the process of determining an electronic bill of materials (BoM). It is settled upon long before a electronic design plan is ever produced.
- The primary processes used today in the production of electronics include the design and assembly of printed circuit boards, or PCBs, cable assembly, packaging, prototyping, and testing. We shall look more closely at the technologies underpinning each of these.
- Tests are typically divided into four categories: physical, electrical, analogue, and/or digital tests. To determine if a board can resist a given quantity of heat, it is put through physical testing (checking if the board works as intended, logic-wise).
- PCB designers must balance two competing priorities: producing their boards under budget and adhering to electrical performance standards.
- DFM streamlines the design for the manufacturing process and decreases production costs by identifying potential issues early on.