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Large Production Advice

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bonzo902

New Member
I'm looking for some information, recommendations actually, on companies that can help me produce devices in volume.

Here's my situation. I've built a specialized circuit and have had some minor success in selling them. I've used e-teknet to build the PCB and assemble all of the components on it (less the jacks and switches). I then drill out an off the shelf project box, label it, attach switches and jacks and install the PCB. It works, but it is time consuming and the off the shelf case does not look as professional as it should.

I'm looking for a company that can do it all (design a custom case, build the PCB, and assemble the entire unit). If anyone knows of such a company, please let me know. Other suggestions are welcome as well.

Thanks.
 

Oznog

Active Member
That's what I've been trying to figure out. At least, how to make a box without spending more on it than the contents, and being able to at least do a few short runs to see how the prototypes work out before making hundreds or thousands.
 

Dialtone

New Member
Well, that makes 3 of us looking for the same. I have a device that has some real promise for PC based, large scale, automation / data acquisition and control. I have a working proof of concept but the case and board holder (cage) needs some professional design, and the PCB / components need re-design to simplify a production volume system.
I would like to locate a company that can provide these services (engineering, assembly, application software and basic testing) as a bundle and can give me some idea as to ultimate system costs based on some projected volume production figures.
Keep up the posts and let us know if anyone has some firm leads.
Dialtone
 

spuffock

Member
I too have a project that falls down for lack of a professional looking housing. I need a box, hex keypad and 2*16 alphanumeric lcd. It seems to me that I could order a LOT, and sell for a reasonable price, but where to start?
 

bonzo902

New Member
Well, at least I'm not alone. I've been talking to the people at polycase.com about a custom enclosure. I figure it may take two companies to make this happen. One for the case and one to make and assemble the PCB.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
bonzo902 said:
Well, at least I'm not alone. I've been talking to the people at polycase.com about a custom enclosure. I figure it may take two companies to make this happen. One for the case and one to make and assemble the PCB.
Quite probably, what sort of costs are you talking about for a custom enclosure, I would suspect very large start-up costs, but cheap prices for decent quantities?.
 

chemelec

Well-Known Member
Having done lots of manufacturing, I doubt you will find one source that makes the case and assembles everything as well.

In my situation, I had another company design and build the cases and I had persons assembling them on "piecework basis". They got paid $X for each completed unit. The Products I produced were rather Low Volume, Specialized Commerical Test Equipment and Most of the cases were Vacuum Formed. One was a Metal case from another company.

The cost of a Proto-type case can be very expensive. For a production of them, the cost partly depends on how involved it is and how it is made.

As an Example: a plastic case made by "Injection moulding" can be very cheap, if you order 100,000 or more.
"Vacuum formed" is better for smaller quantities and "Casting" can be both small and large quantities. But which of these is used is also determined by complexity and other factors.

Without knowing more specifics and expected quantities of your products, it is difficult for me to advise you further.

Take care..........Gary
 

zevon8

New Member
Many of the PCB makers I have used will either assemble boards, or have knowledge of companies that will. this includes basic PCB testing for track layout, shorts and continuity. This leaves only the design functionality up to you. Depending on volume, you can do as Chemlec suggested and find an assembly place that will do small runs for you. I have als done this, and then tested final assemblies, or provided test fixtures for them to use.

For cases, try either:

http://www.budind.com/index.php3

or

http://www.fibox.com/

Depending on what you need, one of these may have what you require.

Bud has a fairly wide range of enclosures that include styles from rack enclosures to test equipment type boxes, Fibox is more along the industrial type line. Using a premade box will allow you to spend money on a professional face plate decal or fascia, that will result in a good looking end product.

The other alternative is to look into using aluminum extrusions, and add a custom face, rear plate. There are thousands of ready made extrusions that have built-in screw and PCB guides, that can be anodized, or painted, and give very nice results.
 
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