Box-build, or system integration, is an electromechanical assembly process which includes enclosure fabrication, installation and routing of cabling or wire harnesses, and installation of sub-assemblies and components. A complex box-build includes a fully integrated electro-mechanical system with pneumatics and electronics.
Box-builds generally include several steps. Companies often find the process too difficult and/or costly to handle in-house. This is perhaps the biggest reason why many companies enlist the help of an experienced contract manufacturer. Using a contract manufacturer not only keeps costs and production times low, it also ensures the correct assembly and testing.
When selecting a contract manufacturer to work with, it’s important to look for a CM with complex box-build experience. Make sure the company you choose has a quality management system in place and ISO certification.
Once you’ve selected a contract manufacturer, it’s important to prepare everything they need to complete the box-build.
Bill of Materials (BOM)
Be prepared to present the contract manufacturer with a Bill of Materials. The BOM is extremely important to the overall success of your project. The BOM helps ensure the contract manufacturer knows all the key components. It also lets them know which materials the company will provide and what the CM must source. Defining even smaller items in the BOM such as nuts, bolts, adhesives, tie wraps, washers, wires, etc. helps avoid unexpected delays and cost changes.
3D CAD models help the CM visualize the finished product. These should be provided to the CM if possible. At the very least, you should provide the CM with a layout drawing. Many experienced CMs have CAD programs that allow them to easily convert drawings into build instructions.
It’s important to inform the contract manufacturer of the size and weight of the unit. This will help the CM determine handling and storage throughout the build process.
When working with electrical systems, it’s important to define basic electrical safety testing like earth bond and flash tests. It might be helpful to speak with your contract manufacturer to determine any additional testing required.
Means Engineering has extensive experience in both module level and product level manufacturing of complex box builds. Our skilled staff has the tools and experience necessary to provide a wide range of manufacturing services for fluid and gas handling systems, commercial and military displays, high tech vacuum systems, aviation electronics, and electro-optical systems.
Please contact us for more information about our services.