Your Guide to Working with an Electronic Contract Manufacturer
Every company has a mind-blowing concept in its mind, but they’re not sure how it will go from an idea to a finished product. That’s where an ECM (Electronic Contract Manufacturer) comes in to help. While some manufacturers act as “board houses” and pump out cheap orders, others work as single-source suppliers.
An Electronic Contract Manufacturer is a one-stop solution for all your manufacturing needs, such as electrical design, component supply, PCB layout, PCB manufacturing and assembly, product maintenance, and after-sale services. An ECM can be kept as an R&D department for companies or an outsourced manufacturing unit.
How to Work with an ECM
If you’ve never worked with an ECM before, here’s how the process works:
Check for Integration
The initial goal should be to analyze the objective of the project and the degrees of critical configurations that will be required for the desired task. The key to the right deliverables is ensuring swift communication and multiple in-person visits to the ECM’s facilities to inspect their equipment and capabilities.
Examine the Features
The ECM market consists of many companies aiming to “create” the same thing for you. However, the one step that can make the process easier for you is to ask them for a feature list, such as:
- What do you want your product to do?
- What sets it apart from the rest of the products in the market?
- What’s the application?
When you provide an ECM with the overall description of the project, it helps them understand what kind of design, assembly, and testing you expect.
Research at the ECM’s End
Here the ECM should dive into the list of the component composition to see what is obsolete and what’s nearing obsoletion.
Based on the engineering list and how they’ve interpreted the requirements, the ECM should generate a quote now. The section breaks the project down into three phases:
- Mechanical and schematic design
- PCB layout and prototyping
- PCB testing
Mechanical and Schematic Designing
If your PCB assembly company also offers PCB designing services, this step should be straightforward. The design engineers will create a PCB layout for your product based on the design-for-manufacturability best practices.
PCB Layout and Prototyping
The SMT PCB supplier initiates the actual work by laying out the SMT circuit board enclosures and assembly. Before going all in, the supplier should generate some prototypes, usually five to seven. The prototypes are then tested based on your spec requirements.
The last step is to verify that the product is working exactly like you anticipated it to work. From regulatory actions to the products safety measures, everything should be tested here by the ECM. Usually, the inspection and testing protocol varies based on industry to industry, but an experienced ECM should know them inside out.
Finding an ECM
Now that you understand how an OEM and ECM partnership works, it’s time to start looking for one that fits your needs the best. Find An EMS is an online platform that helps in OEM and EMS provider partnering. Our online platform is available to use free of cost. All you need to do is sign up as an OEM, post details about your project and its requirements, and an interested EMS provider will get in touch with you!
Who knew finding an EMS could be this easy? Visit our website now to learn more.