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Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

  About Hemargroup

Hemargroup is a contract electronics service partner with 50 years of experience. We apply state-of-the-art technology to provide specialised services of the highest standard in mechanical and electronic engineering, prototyping, testing and mass production. From logistics, materials management, and warehousing of components in ideal conditions, to delivery and after-sales services, we take care of electronic products throughout their entire life cycle. We offer flexible production, ranging from 1 to 1 million pieces. For more information about our services please visit our dedicated page.

Giving a precise timeline without project specifications is very difficult. The development time can vary a lot depending on the complexity of the project, which on average can range from 6 months for the simplest projects or projects that start with a self-made prototype, up to 2 or 3 years for very complex projects with multiple issues that need to be solved in an iterative process. In order to outline the development timeline, it is necessary to provide project specifications and discuss its feasibility and design. Contact us to arrange a meeting with us and discuss a possible partnership.

If the starting point is a pure conceptual idea, the basic documents needed are a project presentation with all the specifications as detailed as possible and the pitch. At this point, a (virtual) meeting with our project manager and an engineer is necessary to discuss the project and to be able to analyse its feasibility. If you already have a self-made prototype, on the other hand, in addition to the above-mentioned documents, you need to send all the files related to the electronics of the product (BOM, CAD, ...), and if already obtained, the product patent as well. The exchange of the above-mentioned files is strictly protected through an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) signed by both parties. Contact us to find out more or to book a virtual meeting with us.

Traceability in the production process is very important because in case of a problem or defect of any kind, it is possible to trace its origin and identify the boards that need to be checked or modified. This system makes possible to keep track, for each assembled PCB, of each component used and also of the operator involved at the time when the error occurred. Traceability is possible with the serial numbering of each coil, which in turn contains data on the supplier, the batch number and the number of components. During the entire production process all important information about each PCB is continuously updated in the database, such as the production time on each machine, the operators involved and the components included. Hemargroup has an advanced digital tracking system that monitors every single component and process, ensuring complete traceability. All production processes are constantly monitored through a sophisticated Business Intelligence (BI) infrastructure. Each PCBA with its own QR Code complies with international IPC standards, ensuring the highest quality and full traceability, from the warehouse and the individual PCB to the final product.

Hemargroup is constantly in contact with and has established solid relationships of trust with many suppliers of electronic components. Relying on an electronics service partner for the purchase of components is advantageous because in addition to direct contact with many suppliers, it is also very likely that the components will be purchased in larger quantities and therefore the price of the individual component is cheaper. Hemargroup also has a vast warehouse where large quantities of components are stored under ideal conditions, hence, in some cases it is possible that we already have some of the components required for your project, which is a great advantage, especially in recent times when the global shortage of electronic components is putting the whole industry under pressure.

ISO 9001 certification is an internationally recognised certification of the quality of a company and its management system. It is an essential tool for companies that want to improve their productivity and become more relevant on the market. To view all Hemargroup certifications, please visit this page.

ISO 14001 certification is an internationally recognised certification that attests to the quality of the company, especially when it comes to the environmental management system. The importance of a change towards sustainable development is a well-known topic globally, and in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we need to be aware of the crucial role companies play in achieving them. For this reason, this certification is important and allows you to strengthen your corporate identity by optimising your environmental performance while at the same time staying abreast of global policy developments. To view all Hemargroup certifications please visit this page.

ISO 13485 certification is an internationally recognised certification that attests the quality of the company and its management system specifically for the medtech industry, thus providing certified qualification for the development of medical devices. To view all Hemargroup certifications please visit this page.

AQAP 2110 certification is an internationally recognised certification that attests the quality of the company and its management system specifically for the military industry, thus providing certified qualification for product development in the defence and military sector. To view all Hemargroup certifications please visit this page.


  How to develop a project

Before arriving at the industrialisation phase there are many steps to follow and often the path is far from linear. For an electronic product, when starting from a pure conceptual idea, it is necessary to carry out a Proof of Concept of the conceptual design, a feasibility and market analysis, inquire about possible patents and intellectual property protection, and define the project specifications as much as possible. Only after these steps the electronic and mechanical engineering development should start. In almost all cases, this phase requires an iterative process of tests and trials to achieve the maximum optimisation of the product and a prototype ready for industrialisation. After testing and all the necessary verifications, the prototype is ready to be mass-produced and marketed. The industrialisation of an electronic product requires a high level of engineering specialisation for the development and an advanced infrastructure for the mass production, which is why companies or startups usually rely on an electronics manufacturing services partner such as Hemargroup. If you are a startup and want to develop an electronic product, please read our dedicated page.

If the starting point is already a self-made prototype, the first step is all the necessary quality and safety checks that often lead to the identification of problems and improvement points. To achieve prototype optimisation, an assembly board analysis, technical and documentation analysis, blank board analysis and testability analysis are carried out. Once the prototype has been optimised and approved, it is ready for mass production, which takes place along a complex chain of machines with very specific functions. Read more about how an electronic product is produced in the section of general questions.

  1. The first step in developing your idea is to identify and define your goals, your mission. In other words, put down on paper in a clear and concise manner the reasons why you want to undertake a certain activity through the project in question.

  2. Establish the objectives that are intended to make your goals a reality. However, the objectives need to be more concrete and suitable for the context in which the activity will take place. It is important that the objectives are 'SMART', i.e. specific, measurable, acceptable (i.e. they must be recognised as sustainable over time), realistic and timely.

  3. Analysing the target market as well as the competitors is necessary in order to have a clear idea of how and where to move.

  4. Studying the target audience, i.e. all the people and organisations your project is addressed at.

  5. Developing a strategy on the basis of all the information acquired in the previous steps, and define a time plan divided into phases for the progress and implementation of your project.

  6. Outlining and developing an economic plan, which is essential for the success and sustainability of the project. If not self-financed, external investors are usually needed.

  7. At this point everything is ready to start the project and for the development, industrialisation and commercialisation phase. During these phases, however, it is necessary to set up monitoring actions in advance in order to be able to constantly assess the progress of the project and the shortcomings to be resolved. If it is an electronic product, the industrialisation phase can be much more complicated as it requires a very high level of specialisation. Read more about how to develop, optimise and industrialise an electronic product in the previous questions.

As such, an idea cannot be protected, whereas it is different when we speak about its realization. There are different types of protection, depending on the nature of what you want to protect:

  • the name or logo of a product or activity can be registered as a trademark;

  • the shape of a product can be protected by depositing the design;

  • artistic and literary works as well as computer software can be protected by copyright;

  • finally, a technical product (e.g. an electronic invention) or a process (e.g. to assemble an electronic device) can be protected by a patent.

In the latter case, the patent is a protective title granted by the state for the object in question, defined as an invention. When the invention is patented, the owner acquires the right to prohibit third parties from commercially exploiting his invention for up to 20 years. However, protection is limited to the countries where the patent is granted. After this time, the invention becomes public knowledge and can be used freely by third parties. Hemargroup is the ideal partner for the development and industrialisation of electronic products but does not provide advice on patenting. However, it is able to guide a start-up in the steps to be taken to obtain a patent.

In Europe, products and machines of various kinds must meet CE conformity requirements. This applies within the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland. Certification means that the product meets the essential health and safety requirements. In order to certify a product, you must contact an accredited certification body (e.g. Suva) to have your product assessed. Although the owner of the product is fully responsible for it, having it certified by an independent body as complying with the relevant directives and regulations is an additional safety guarantee that makes the product more valuable.

The process of prototyping an electronic product is basically the electronic and mechanical engineering development. In almost all cases, this phase requires an iterative process, such as a continuous cycle of trial and error to make changes to the design, materials, size, shape, assembly, colour, product feasibility and prototype strength, until the product is optimised to the maximum. After several tests and all the necessary checks, the prototype is ready to be mass-produced and marketed. The industrialisation of an electronic product requires a high level of engineering specialisation for development and an advanced infrastructure for mass production, which is why it is customary to rely on an electronics manufacturing services partner such as Hemargroup. If you are a startup and want to develop an electronic product, please read our dedicated page.

The prototype development can be more or less complicated, but it is usually not a linear process, rather an iterative process in order to obtain an optimised final product ready for mass production and commercialisation. The development of an electronic product is basically electronic and mechanical engineering development and therefore requires a high degree of specialisation. For this reason, without sufficient technical knowledge and availability of electronic materials and components, the fastest and most reliable way to develop a prototype is through an electronics manufacturing service partner such as Hemargroup. To find out how you can develop your project with us visit our website or contact us here.


  General questions

Electronic manufacturing services (EMS) are offered by companies that design, engineer, prototype, test and manufacture electronic parts and end products. Choosing your EMS partner wisely can give you a huge advantage over the competition. Even though every EMS is different, there are some services considered an industry standard. What can make a big difference between one company and another is the presence of a dedicated engineering staff that can help you with the product design, in the industrialisation, for the upgrading of components, or to obtain specific certifications. For example, Hemargroup is certified ISO 13485 for medical devices and AQAP 2110 for the military sector. For further information read more in this article or contact us.

Partnering with a contract manufacturing company, also known as outsourcing some services, means collaborating with a third-party company, to entrust it with certain stages or the entire production process of a good or service. In the case of Hemargroup, it is not only possible to outsource electronic production but also the development itself, as we have an extensive R&D department.

Giving a price without specifications is very difficult. First of all, the price can change a lot if you start with an idea that still need to be developed or if you already have a prototype ready for mass production. Development requires an iterative work by electronic and mechanical engineers, which becomes more expensive the more time it takes and the greater the complexity of the project. If you already have a prototype, you only need engineers to make potential improvements. On the production side, costs mainly include the cost of PCBs and of electronic components, which recently have seen a price increase of 15 to 30% for some parts. Further costs are the price of the setup, or in other words the price for programming the machines, and for verification tests. Certifications are often required to approve the electronic product, but this is not usually the responsibility of the electronic manufacturing company. In order to get a detailed quotation, it is necessary to provide the project specifications and establish the current status with the electronics manufacturing partner. For more information and to request a quotation, please contact us here.

The manufacturing of an electronic product starts always with the loading of empty PCBs into the serigraphic machine and the spreading of the TIM paste over the solder pads of each PCB before entering the assembly pick & place line, where the PCB inside is assembled with SMD components which then go in additional modules depending on the type of line. After soldering there are automated optical inspection (AOI) machines, which analyze the correctness of soldering joints and components resistance. In case a defect id detected, the PCB is then repaired by a human qualified engineer. The PCB goes then into the wave soldering machine, where bottom side terminals of the THT components are smoothly soldered to the PCB just by touching it. Finally, the electronic device goes in the assembly line, where special metal, plastic or cover parts are assembled, and are ready for the final testing through the needle board where the PCB is placed in order to be tested. Here, every component is controlled, checked, measured, calibrated and microcontrollers are programmed. At this point the electronic device is finished and ready to be shipped to the customer.

The Proof of Concept is a demonstration of the feasibility of a prototype that is still at the conceptual and pre-decision stage, where the potential for developing the idea and the related investment are assessed.

Design for Excellence (DfX) consists of methods, guidelines and standards that enable the development and subsequent production of products of the highest possible quality. Adopting the principle of DfX as an integral part of the product development process results in higher quality products, lower costs and shorter product development cycles. This term includes and summarises a wide range of specific design guidelines, including Design to Cost, Design for Manufacturing, Design for Assembly, Design for Serviceability, etc. Hemargroup has been operating according to this principle from the beginning, with product quality at its core. In fact, we are ISO 9001 and 14001 certified, which guarantee high quality in all processes.

Design for Manufacturing (DfM) is the engineering design practice that aims to simplify the manufacturing process of parts and all electronic components that are required for the final product. This makes manufacturing and assembly easier, and consequently reduces product manufacturing costs. In addition, following this practice allows potential problems to be identified and resolved at the design stage, when it is less costly to address them, rather than later on in the production process.

The Bill of Materials (BOM) is a document that defines all the elements required to manufacture a given product. The list of materials and electronic components is essential for the design, production and assembly phases of a product as it allows better planning of the purchase of components and a more accurate estimate of their costs, to improve stock control and mitigate the risk of errors. A BOM is therefore essential to achieve an optimised and error-free production chain.

There are many online websites for electronic components, where they can be purchased by anyone, even by private individuals. However, relying on an external electronics manufacturing partner such as Hemargroup is advantageous as the components are very likely to be purchased in larger quantities and therefore the price of the individual component becomes cheaper. In some cases it is also possible that the electronics company already has some of the components required for the project, and this is a great advantage, especially in recent times when the global shortage of electronic components is putting the entire industry under pressure.

Our Expertise

Aerospace Electronic Manufacturing Services

Aerospace

Consumer Electronic Manufacturing Services

Consumer Electronics

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Defense & Military

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Green Tech

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Industrial Electronics

Smart Home Electronic Manufacturing Services

Smart Home

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Smart Building

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Smart Wearables

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Medical

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Internet of Things and Sensors Electronic Manufacturing Services

IoT & Sensors

Lighting Led Electronic Manufacturing Services

Lighting

 

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