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From: email@example.com (john jardine)
Subject: Re: 1523 joints
Date: 23 Oct 2002 12:31:57 -0700
References: <3DB5C12B.firstname.lastname@example.org> <3DB5F44A.email@example.com>
NNTP-Posting-Date: 23 Oct 2002 19:31:57 GMT
"Christopher R. Carlen" wrote in message news:<3DB5F44A.firstname.lastname@example.org>...
> Ken Taylor wrote:
[Essential points scissored for space, sorry!]
> Thanks again for the input, and...
> Good day!
Chris. Don't hesitate! ... Pick up that phone and start calling
PCB/assembly companies *now*. A couple of k joints is a lot, but not
[Start of hard won Wisdom]
If the guy on the other end of the phone demurr's at *any point*
A] The batch size.
B] The PCB's complexity or
C] Mechanical aspects,
then they are useless for the job. Move on to the next. You are
looking for an unequivocal YES,YES,YES.
[End of hard won Wisdom]
There -are- companies out there who are geared up for this kind of
work and will very pleased to do a quality job for you at a fair
price. That particular company will almost certainly insist that they
show you their place of work, their in-progress work they are doing
for other people, the range of their equipment/tooling and the
capabilities (and morale) of their work force.
It's essential you meet with the guys (no gals?) who handle new work.
It's also very important that you show them a prototype nearly
completed, or completed PCB, as this is the whole jobs focal point.
Point out the mechanical aspects that you've had trouble with. Point
out the mechanical/electrical aspects that are critical to the final
assembly e.g. SMC's, IDC's, BNC's LED's ect. Point out any changes you
are wanting or going to have to make.
Listen to the particular points they will bring up. Remember that they
are specialists in this particular area and will have also faced and
overcome myriad problems that turn up in assembling PCB's. Let them
talk you through what -they- would do to align the BNC'-LEDS ect. How
-they- would prepare any sub-assemblies. How -they- would make the
Finally ... talk to them about the electrical QA testing. Discuss the
test equipment and procedures needed and what can be bought in or
built or what you may wish to supply or loan.
If they are any good, then over the space of a couple of hours you
will receive a free education, or at the very least, the confidence to
move forward with them or to walk away.
Unless the project was small I wouldn't consider doing the work myself
if the need was for anything more than 2 off. The effort involved in
outsourcing can be high but is more than balanced by the contractors
labour in this area being lower than your own internal costings and
your time being freed up to pursue more tasty projects, more
outsourcing ect ect.
Build up a good working relationship with your supplier and you may
find you will want to outsource the PCB designs to them as well (even
small design jobs).
Remember ... they *want* your business and will jump through a fair
number of hoops to get it. Once they've got it they will then work
hard not to upset you.
Couldn't help but empathise with your 'crie de couer'. Spent most of
my own career employment being in a similar technically isolated
The only person worth passing on 'The Knowledge' to, is whomever
spends unprompted time hovering near your working area simply looking
at what you are doing or asking the occasional question of you. Even
better if they are then bollocked by their own manager for 'wasting
time'. Doesn't matter what they are trained for, or what department
they come from , if they have the gleam of intelligence in their eye
then they 'are the one' (to misquote 'The Matrix'). If possible grab
them. With no effort needed on your part, become their mentor and
continue the good cause.
As you yourself are still absorbing knowledge at an accelerating rate
, you will *never* be in a position to experience this luxury but you
will though have the pleasure of of using the freedom your 'knowlege
power' generates to get the most out of the job as you will in due
course elect to define it. Over time you'll also (inadvertantly) pick
up a lot of business skills and develop a learned ability to see
through the flim-flam put out by the non technical ruling classes
within your company and elsewhere. It will all be to your benefit.
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