In Search of a Product Partner?

If you are interested in growing your manufacturing business, you have probably been faced with the question of make-or-buy. In this article, we will explore the avenue of finding a contract manufacturer to be your product partner for a project.

If you are interested in growing your manufacturing business, at some point, it has probably crossed your mind that you may need more capital equipment, people, training, and maybe even additional certifications. Like a lot of business decisions, you are faced with the question of make-or-buy. That is, do you want to develop these resources in-house or find a partner that already has the capabilities that you need?

For the purposes of this article, let’s explore the avenue of finding a contract manufacturer to be your product partner for a project. If you are taking on some new challenges, you want a company that can help see you all the way through from initial design to production release. Today’s developments often include specialized manufacturing (molding, or 3D printing for example), both mechanical and electrical assemblies, and often need to be connected to a bus interface. To meet all of these demands you should be looking for an experienced contractor that can help make cost-effective choices based on the ultimate production volumes. They also need to have the manufacturing know-how to understand the timing and cost of different approaches. And they need to help you meet your challenges head-on, no matter where you are in the development process.

Getting on the Right Track

Increasingly there is an emphasis on reliability, traceability, and accountability. This requires formal recordkeeping systems, and a commitment to service, which is a standard part of most quality management systems.  One excellent standard, followed by top-notch industrial, military, and aerospace contractors is the ISO AS9001:2015/16 certification.  One other sign of a contractor’s commitment to quality is training and adherence to the IPC/WHMA-A-620 workmanship standards. These standards cover everything from cable & wire preparation, wire stripping, discrete wire termination, soldering, molding, and potting, to mechanical interconnections, labeling, and testing.

Top quality suppliers will also have a Class 3 rating, meaning they are expert enough at these skills that they are a qualified teacher of these techniques within their organization. One specialty certification that not all companies elect to pursue, but which is critical for dealing with military and aerospace customers is ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Among other things, these have specialty sourcing requirements, as well as restrictions on sharing critical data.

Building the Nerve Center

Consider for a moment, the role of cable, connectors, and assemblies in the success of your development project.  Much like the nerve system of the human body, cabling systems must reliably transmit and receive signal information. For such a critical part of the success of custom projects, expertise in a variety of connectivity solutions can be difficult to find. Interconnect Solutions Company (ISC) is the perfect solution for OEMs working in Military, Aerospace, Industrial, and Medical industries. They are that rare team that not only has 50 years of experience with connectivity but can take a product all the way from prototype to production.

In just one example, it is very common to protect a connector from UV exposure, excess strain, and wet environments by providing an overmolded solution.  ISC has designed, molded, and built over 10,000 such custom mold configurations;  both for prototypes and for production molding requirements.  They can do this quickly due to vertical integration of the process from design through finished mold.  They can even help transfer custom overmold capability to your facility.

Commitment, Follow Through, and Value

The years of experience that the ISC team has accumulated has led them to produce over 500,000 plug-in connectors for EVs, heating service modules used in the galleys of most major airlines, and reduced the failure rate of hand-held field radios for the US Army among their many projects. Speaking to their versatility, these projects have ranged from total “clean-sheet” projects to post-production reliability improvements. No matter where you are in the process, ISC has been there.

Our team is especially adept at meeting up with your requirements regardless of where you are in the process. They can step in and offer up their design and manufacturing expertise to save you time and money in the process.

Using Lean Manufacturing principles, ISC brings a lot of value to their customers. In addition, they are highly integrated vertically (including CNC and EDM machining techniques) which can help in mitigating certain supply chain issues. Modifying and proofing a mold for example can easily be accomplished in-house in a matter of days, not weeks. They also have the expertise and equipment to build their own shielded cable with custom color codes and laser marking as required. This is especially useful for retrofit projects.

In short, between the variety of certifications, their highly integrated manufacturing, and their 50+ years of experience, they make the perfect partner to help move your company ahead, no matter where you are today.

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