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VOLUME -22 NUMBER 8
Publication Date: 08/1/2007
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August 2007 Issue
Electronic Mfg. Services
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Badger Technologies: Doing it All Under One Roof
Badger Technologies manufacturing engineer John Kommer checks the setup on the initial run of a new SMT product.
By Jason E. Saner, Executive VP Sales & Marketing, Badger Technologies, Inc., Farmington, NY
If there are problems in the American manufacturing sector, you can't prove it by Badger Technologies. The contract electronics manufacturer's two plants — located about 30 miles apart in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of Western New York State — are consistently booming with printed circuit board, cable/wire-harness, and full box-build manufacturing activity.
In Farmington, near Rochester, the company designs, manufactures, and tests PC board assemblies for a wide range of customers in a variety of industries, including military, commercial, aviation, test and instrumentation, and transportation. In Penn Yan, on the north end of Keuka Lake, Badger's 18,000 square foot facility — perhaps the largest in western New York — annually designs and produces miles of wire, cable and harness products for the same markets.
Together, the company's 120 employees serve a full range of customer needs by supplying the complete gamut of PC board assemblies, cable-harnesses and full box builds, all bolstered by a customer-service philosophy that has been instrumental in the company's growth.
Single Source Supplier
"We have become a single-source supplier in direct response to customer needs," said company President Rick Cirincione. "In the early days, customers found that we did one thing well and came to us when they needed something else. We earned their trust by also doing the next project well, and then the one after that, no matter what it was. We developed whatever skills were necessary to please the customer, and that spirit continues to drive us today." The desire to serve has also helped set the company apart from other contract manufacturers and has led to steady sales growth. Badger's cable/harness unit alone is larger than most competitors who do only cable and harness work. The company is on track to exceed 2006 revenues by at least 20 percent in 2007. And in a complete reversal of popular belief about the prevalence of offshore manufacturing, some of Badger's customers now seem to be finding that the combination of high material prices abroad and logistical inconvenience is making offshore manufacturing much less attractive. Badger is currently shipping assembled parts to three customer locations in China, and two in the United Kingdom, for final integration.
On the PC board side, which represents about 40 percent of the company's business, Badger offers a full range of capabilities that allow customers to concentrate on developing products rather than worrying about manufacturing details. These capabilities include fine pitch placement; BGA and µBGA placement and x-ray inspection; pin-in-paste for assemblies that require both surface-mount and through-hole capabilities; and in-house conformal coating — a final step that many contract manufacturers send out, at the cost of both money and time.
Eliminating Project Complexity
The company's varied capabilities often allow customers to eliminate multiple steps of a process. One customer was parceling out surface-mount, through-hole, cabling, and testing work to multiple suppliers on a single assembly, then sending populated boards to Mexico for specialized operations. They asked Badger to help streamline the process. Because Badger can handle surface-mount, through-hole, and testing in-house, the company was able to consolidate all of these manufacturing steps and then send the finished product to Mexico. This effectively cut cycle time in half, reduced transaction costs, and allowed the growing company to use its employees much more efficiently.
On the cable/harness side, Badger offers comprehensive manufacturing and assembly services, but is regularly asked to help save customers money by applying design innovations to less-than-efficient products or processes. In one recent case, a new customer's design included an expensive right-angle backshell that was both hard to source and expensive. Badger redesigned the part with a custom overmold that has greatly reduced both material cost and cycle time and improved the durability of the assembly.
On both sides of the house, Badger maintains RoHS lead-free manufacturing processes as well as traditional leaded manufacturing. "It's no secret that all businesses are hustling more than ever to generate new revenue," said Rick Cirincione. "We've been able to help many companies break into new markets faster by outsourcing their entire manufacturing operation, from design through fulfillment and shipping. There's a huge demand for experienced, comprehensive manufacturing resources that allow our customers to do what they do best — conceptualize and sell new products." Experience, skill and customer service are Badger's primary strengths. The company was founded in 1989 but has been under its current leadership for only three years. Early on, Badger found a niche in defense markets and continues to serve a wide array of defense industries today. Most of the company's products are used in infantry applications, but many are also found on missiles, airplanes and helicopters.
One value-added offering is in-house conformal coating, a process that is outsourced by many other contract manufacturers. Here an operator inspects the coating on a flex (polymide) assembly under black light.
In fact, Badger has helped to armor itself against offshore competition by specializing in security-sensitive applications, such as those for defense contractors. These applications are governed by ITAR (the International Traffic in Arms Regulations), which stipulates that manufacturing work for certain military products can be done only on-shore in the United States, by U.S. companies. Currently, about 35-40 percent of the company's work comes from homeland security or defense-related industries. To maintain a place of honor of the contractors' supplier list, Badger maintains all certifications, including ISO 9000:2001, UL and CSA. Its manufacturing processes are certified to IPC 610/620 Class II by default, and Class III by request.
Badger currently focuses on the Northeast, and its customers come from New York State, New England, and the Atlantic Seaboard. Most new-sales business is managed through manufacturers' rep firms who represent the company in regions outside of New York State. More recently, its representatives have also been covering Virginia — a hotbed of military and other electrical contracting work that the company is aggressively pursuing.
"We continue to grow by making our customers' lives easier, no matter what it takes," said Cirincione. "The more manufacturing headaches we can remove, the more customers appreciate us. And since we offer such a wide range of services in-house, one of our primary benefits is simplicity. Customers know that we'll provide exceptional service with our current capabilities, and if their needs expand beyond that, we'll educate ourselves to continue helping them. This is a relationship business, and I'm delighted to say that the relationships we've established are solid and growing."
For more information, contact: Badger Technologies, Inc., 5829 County Rd 41, Farmington, NY 14425
585-869-7101 fax: 585-869-7199 Web:
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