Electronic Design and Manufacturing held a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 22 to mark the commencement of construction on an 11,400 sq. ft. expansion of its manufacturing facility. The project is scheduled to be completed in Q1 2023.
EDM is investing in this expansion as part of a long-term business strategy to support growth in its existing customer business, as well as increase its capacity to support new customers wishing to onshore their outsourced electronics manufacturing.
“We are seeing increased requirements for subassembly and complete product build and this expansion will ensure we have enough space to accommodate that growth. Additionally, this will increase our ability to store the raw materials and finished goods our customers require,” said Georgeann Snead, President and CEO.
Local officials attended the ceremony. In a unique twist on traditional groundbreaking festivities, many of EDM’s employee owners took turns with the shovels.
“As a 100% employee-owned company, all of our employees have a vested interest in helping the investments we make to support business growth deliver outstanding results. This drives a culture of commitment and quality that is present in everything we do,” added Georgeann.
While much of our communication has been focused the challenges we see in the current materials market, it is also important to highlight that EDM’s engineering team is having some success in helping customers navigate these issues.
For example, when a component manufacturer notified EDM that a crystal on an industrial PCBA was going end of life (EOL) with no drop-in replacements, EDM’s engineering team provided an updated PCB layout that changed the crystal footprint to a more available part, which the customer approved. Purchasing requested that the layout be further modified to include an alternate footprint enabling them to utilize an additional part, which the customer also approved. The end result is a PCB layout which gives Purchasing the flexibility to choose between parts depending on availability.
In another case, an FPGA went on allocation due to supply chain issues. While a next generation part was the best solution, it hadn’t reached production quantities yet. EDM’s engineering team evaluated a range of options and provided the customer with a detailed feasibility report and proposal. The customer chose a temporary solution with an older part until the next generation became available. The engineering team respun the layout to accommodate those changes and included manufacturability improvements. The result was that the availability issue was solved while solderability and yields improved.
While there isn’t an engineering solution to every material availability issue, EDM’s team does have to capability to explore options and redesign in some situations. Your Customer Solutions Manager will discuss this option when an engineering solution might be viable.
The supply and demand imbalance in the materials market continues to be challenging in terms of both cost increases and lead-times. Where possible, forecasts should stretch through 2023 to ensure we can put sufficient material on order.
Customer Solutions Managers continue to monitor each program for potential issues. While we’ve highlighted these points before, collaboration is the best way to work through these challenging times:
- We have the same goal: our questions and requests are based on the market conditions we see:
- Provide as much forecast visibility as possible on stable products likely to have no major design changes
- Let us know about new products at least six months in advance
- Check with our team for BOM suggestions
- Our engineering and purchasing team may have recommendations for less constrained parts on new products
- We may have redesign suggestions in cases where existing parts are severely constrained long-term
- Be prepared for materials price increases and buying decisions on short notice for severely constrained parts
- Defining acceptable price ranges can help us tie down available stock faster
- If we have concerns about a supplier you are suggesting, please listen to our team. Counterfeiters and criminals have websites that advertise severely constrained components
- Be willing to talk with chip manufacturer executives
- If your team designed in their part, you have better leverage than we do
- We are willing to carry higher levels of inventory and search our trusted sources for your critical parts
- However, you need to share the risk by accepting liability for those choices
- Cost increases at manufacturers are forcing us to bill PPV as it occurs
- Our team is willing to help you address alternatives.
We are pleased to announce that Melanie Millner has been promoted to Director of Customer Solutions. We’ve also expanded the Customer Solutions team to add support resources to help with planning and reschedules. In her new role, Melanie will oversee the activities of the Customer Solutions team as a whole, as well as continue to support some customers directly.
EDM’s previously announced manufacturing and material handling equipment additions are now all up and running. Additionally, a number of facility infrastructure enhancements are now in place. These include:
- We’ve enhanced 480V electrical service with the addition of a new transformer and several distribution panels. This provides a 2.5x electrical capacity increase over our existing service.
- We’ve installed a SouthTek 210CS-T5 nitrogen generation system to provide continuous access to the high-purity nitrogen needed to produce optimal solder joints in our selective solder systems. The new system generates this pure nitrogen from compressed air, thus eliminating the need for constant delivery and replacement of nitrogen storage tanks.
- We now have two identical Elgi EG-15V air compressors, which are energy efficient 20hp VFD compressors. When we recently added the second compressor, we also added new piping, dryers, and storage tanks so that the entire system is now dual-redundant and able to immediately recover from any single failure, ensuring that this critical plant-wide supply is never interrupted.
- We have also added new dispensing equipment from Fisnar and Glenmarc to increase capacity, control, and speed in dispensing such materials as potting, RTV, masking, solder paste, etc.
These investments help ensure we are able to provide the capabilities and quality our customers need, plus grow capacity as our customers’ business grows.
Giving back to our community has been an EDM core value since our inception. In 2021, we supported 20 local organizations with financial gifts. In addition, our employees participated in hands-on charitable giving to support local families. Our team packed more than 1000 take home meal bags for local school children.
The team at EDM was saddened to learn that our founder and Board member, Robert Roberts, had passed away from heart complications on Nov. 1. We feel it is important to honor Robert for the unique vision he brought to EDM and the contract manufacturing industry, as a whole. He built an engineering-driven company that catered to customers who could benefit from adding electronics into predominately electromechanical or mechanical products. He won his first account by pitching the benefit of an electronic control to a consumer product company with mechanical controls. His quest for efficiency also drove a focus on internally-developed automation strategies that helped reduce manufacturing cost and keep Made in USA solutions competitive. While EDM continues to evolve, the company we are today still reflects Robert’s strong vision of providing unique, engineering-driven solutions.
EDM was just one of Robert’s many professional accomplishments and a life filled with service and strong commitment to family. His full obituary can be viewed here.
While we mourn the loss of a visionary mentor and friend, we celebrate the life of a man who built a significant legacy. His spirit will live on in our company culture and the memories of team members who had the privilege of working with him.
One of the under-recognized issues of the current material availability situation is that when older components become part of inventory, they increase the risk of manufacturing defects if not handled properly. Many components are classified as moisture-sensitive level (MSL). These are parts that if stored in humid conditions may be damaged by high temperatures during reflow. Fortunately, there is a way to prep these components to address that issue by storing them in dry storage cabinets which safely remove moisture through controlled humidity. EDM has sufficient cabinet storage space to house the growing number of MSL 3+ parts it is seeing in its programs.
EDM is also upgrading its existing humidification system to ensure appropriate levels of humidity in the overall production environment. Just as too much humidity can impact MSL components during reflow, too little humidity in the production area enables electrostatic charges to build up. The humidification system helps dissipate those charges and is part of EDM’s overall ESD prevention strategy, which helps its team avoid handling-related component damage.
“Customers select us for our ability to build and deliver quality product when they need it. We are proactively adding the tools we need to ensure quality material inputs into our manufacturing process so that we can continue to have quality product outputs,” said Georgeann Snead, President & CEO.
EDM is enhancing its inspection and assembly capabilities with a Parmi SigmaX 3D solder paste inspection (SPI) system and an Ersa Versaflow 3/35 Global Edition inline selective solder machine.
“Solder paste placement and volume are critical metrics in ensuring printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) quality. The new system will let us monitor this key part of the process. Likewise, the inline selective solder machine significantly expands our existing capabilities to more precisely and cost effectively solder PCBAs with dense mixed technology designs,” said Dave McAden, Chief Technology Officer.
The investments are part of EDM’s long-term strategy to align manufacturing capabilities with trends in technology. Denser PCBA designs and smaller components drive the need for 3D inspection technology. Catching issues at this part of the process eliminates scrap and rework.
The new inline selective solder machine offers significantly higher throughput capability on mixed technology PCBAs than the two batch machines currently in use. The combined capacity provides solutions for a range of product volumes.
Electronic Design & Manufacturing is growing! Plans are underway for an 11,400 sq. ft. building addition. Ground breaking will occur in Q1 2022.
“The current material constraint situation is forcing us to stock larger amounts of inventory in-house to ensure our customers have the material they need, when they need it. At the same time our final assembly business continues to grow. An expansion gives us the ability to accommodate both needs,” said Georgeann Snead, President & CEO.
The expansion will also give EDM’s team added space to optimize manufacturing flow throughout the building.