What critical-to-life goods producers need in a PCB assembly supplier

Apr 12, 2022Contract electronics manufacturing, PCB assembly, Quality & compliance

What critical-to-life goods producers need in a PCB assembly supplier

The use of PCB assemblies in critical-to-life product manufacturing is growing markedly as electronic systems become increasingly essential to equipment used in areas such as the medical, defence and safety and security sectors.

With the products manufactured by these companies having life-saving functionality, with regard to PCB assemblies, which are integral to the operation of electronic systems, the quality, reliability and traceability of these components is of paramount importance.

This is why more and more critical-to-life product manufacturers are using PCB assembly specialists to manufacture high-grade PCB assemblies.

Which critical-to-life applications need PCB assemblies?

PCB assemblies are used in the manufacture of a growing number of critical-to-life products and applications as the medical, defence and safety and security sectors, among others, embrace process digitalisation and an increased capacity for workplace connectivity.

New products and systems, and the development of the digital technology that is driving this innovation, are having a major impact on these sectors and the standard of service provision that can be delivered.

Medical, defence and safety and security applications that require PCB assemblies include:

Medical applications

  • Diagnostic and monitoring equipment
  • MRI equipment and CT scanners
  • Ultrasound and X-ray equipment
  • Robotic surgery technology
  • Defibrillators and respirators

Defence applications

  • Communications equipment
  • Navigation systems
  • Field equipment and systems
  • Safety equipment

Safety and security applications

  • Construction vehicle tyre monitors
  • Construction worker proximity sensors
  • Fire safety management systems
  • Smoke alarm systems and hazard lighting

What to look for in a critical-to-life product PCB assembly supplier

For critical-to-life goods manufacturers, a primary focus of product development is ensuring product quality, reliability and traceability. The delivery of these factors should frame your choice of PCB assembly provider.

The following are services and practices that you should look for when choosing the contract electronics manufacturer that will produce your high-grade PCB assemblies:

  • A thorough inspection process. While batch inspection is a common PCB assembly industry practice, your PCB partner should check every single PCB at every stage of the manufacturing process. This will help ensure the quality and reliability of your PCB assemblies.
  • Quality component use. To deliver high-grade PCB assemblies it is necessary to use quality components and this is what your partner should do. They should have a strong supply chain built around trustworthy suppliers and operate a reliable supply chain management system.
  • Correct storage practices. Components must be properly stored in a suitable environment to protect them from damage, including that relating to moisture ingress. They should be vacuum sealed, using nitrogen when required. This is particularly important with more components being incorrectly stored as a result of the global component shortage.
  • Automated optical inspection. This type of inspection system should be used as part of the quality process framework. Both fast and accurate, and stable and consistent, this automated control system inspects for missing and incorrect components, and quality defects that could lead to catastrophic failure.
  • Quality certification. To assure you of the quality and reliability of your high-grade PCB assemblies, your partner should always supply a certificate of conformity and First Article Inspection Report documentation with each order. Such a report is only issued if requested and will be tailored to customer requirements.
  • Quality standard compliance. Your partner should be ISO 9001:2015 certified. They should also be able to work in line with the IPC-A-610 electronic assemble acceptance standard. In addition, the baking of components should be done in accordance with JEDEC standards.

To find out how MPE Electronics PCB manufacturing and assembly services can benefit your business, contact us on +44 (0)1825 764822 or enquiries@mpe-electronics.co.uk.

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