For RF/microwave companies, shortening the design, development, and manufacturing cycle can be especially challenging for several reasons. One way to tackle this process involves working with a contract manufacturer. In the tech brief, “How RF and Microwave Companies Can be Empowered by US-based Contract Manufacturing,” SemiGen explains that contract manufacturers can help companies by providing them with cost-effective delivery of products while allowing their staff members to focus on other significant tasks.
The tech brief starts out by noting that the design and development process is optimized when an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can allow its employees to concentrate on their respective specialties. However, oftentimes, design engineers must also perform tasks associated with test engineers and assembly technicians, hindering them from focusing on other responsibilities.
According to the tech brief, establishing a relationship with a qualified RF/microwave contract manufacturer can provide a management team with the opportunity to step back and evaluate internal production lines. The document states that outsourcing some assembly work when needed can help OEMs avoid “idle hands and machines.” A good outsourcing plan also reduces equipment and training costs, as well as slashes the time that OEM engineering talent must spend on tasks outside of research and development.
The RF module assembly process can involve many aspects, such as hand soldering, eutectic attachment, ribbon bonding, and more. Manufacturing high-frequency circuits and assemblies often requires full-time allocated staff with precision assembly expertise along with a large amount of related equipment. Working with a contract manufacturer can help the situation—OEMs are then able to offload the various hand-assembly tasks.
The tech brief also touches on the “repair or replace” decision. While OEMs will often replace RF products and components, repairs can be more cost-effective. The document points out that entrusting a partner with repair functionality can result in considerable benefits when breakdowns and failures occur. The tech brief concludes with a discussion on approved vendor lists (AVLs), noting that keeping and maintaining an AVL is a necessary procedure for OEMs.
SemiGen, 54 Grenier Field Rd., Londonderry, NH 03053; (603) 624-8311