Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design SMT Electronics Assembly Manufacturing Forum

Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design Forum

SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.

In House or Out

Dick Casagrande


In House or Out | 1 December, 1999

My company is in the process of determining whether to setup an in-house SMT line. We presently do thru hole assembly and subcontract SMT boards which are growing in number. The economics are not my main concern now. The intangibles, i.e., control, lead times, inventory, etc. are what I'm looking for. Any articles or first hand knowledge will be appreciated.


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Re: In House or Out | 1 December, 1999

Hi Dick, first of all I will not judge what�s the best in your case for I don�t know all details of your situation. Just my opinion: As a matter of fact the amount of THT is rapidly decreasing compared to SMT. So, to stay in assembly business it vital to cope with new technologies. If you don�t want to do this you should consider giving the THT part out-house. It makes the assembly and test process and its control more effective. I assume that�s not your intention. Alright, it would be good to start new enterprises when things are simple, e.g. simple SMT-processes are required like dealing with the more larger parts and structures. To start with finepitch and BGA is a tough try. - So what�s your range? To start with new technologies you need some knowledge and/or people to determine the essentials (what kinda equipment for the processes, what kinda stuff for throughput, what kinda people/skills for quality) needed in your case. Then make a "businessplan" (inventory list) figure out the costs etc. and decide. Then give it time and again time, let the people "play" with the new gadgets, swallow the drawbacks, learn,improve,invent. Sent your people to training courses, faires etc. or hire the cracks ( might even solve many starting problems). Start slow and then go for the stars ($). If you want to stay in assembly business do it . Benefits are: - faster production - faster feedback - less poeple involved in the whole process - greater flexibility - more control

I would say get a good independent consultor first instead of vendors who praise ... you know what. That�s something that pays back and back I can�t even describe how much.

For now m2c. Wolfgang

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CS Tan


Re: In House or Out | 2 December, 1999

Hi Dick; I don't know what business you are in. If you are doing your own products, then outsourcing can be a very good decision. But if you are doing OEM for someone else, then you must invest in SMT if you want to stay in business. But from my experience, the best thing to do is to do both. That means invest a reasonable amount of capital and resources in SMT and at the same time outsource. This gives you the flexibility of outsourcing and at the same time your organisation can learn from others more experienced in this business. Have fun CS Tan

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John Sims


Re: In House or Out | 2 December, 1999


My company made the transition from thru-hole to SMT about a year ago. We've been building thru-hole boards successfully for years, but our customer requirements have forced us into the transition. Wolfgang made a very good comment. Start small. Our boards so far have been primarily chip components with a single IC, and since we supply to automotive companies our volumes follow a progressive ramp-up, giving us time to overcome process issues. Do as much reading and investigating as you can, but almost any problem you might encounter has been addressed by the people who use this forum. They have helped us overcome a couple of problems and are always willing to share their experiences with any process issues.

Just my thoughts

John S.

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Dick Casagrande


Re: In House or Out | 6 January, 2000

Thanks to all for your inputs. Sorry it took so long for my reply


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