Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Publication Date:09/1/2007
Archive >  September 2007 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

MEC: Handling Production on Every Level
Designing for test in the engineering lab.

Screaming Circuits may sound like a PC board in great pain, but it's actually the name of division of MEC Companies, a multi-faceted EMS provider based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Screaming Circuits catches the eye when first opening up the company website; it's a division that specializes in fast prototyping of a circuit board in as little as 24 hours, as well as low-volume assembly. But that's only a small part of the story.

Taking electronic contract manufacturing to another level is how MEC Companies likes to describe itself. The Milwaukee company was founded in 1953 and is privately held. That means that the company has been in business for 54 years, longer than the majority of people in the industry have even been alive! More than a half-century of servicing the needs of OEMs has allowed the company to develop a total package of capabilities. It is structured as a premier outsource partner because of the depth of capabilities at all points of the product delivery process. A visit to the website provides a glimpse at just how much bandwidth this organization provides.

Start Anywhere
If you're an OEM short on time, staff, or capabilities, plug into the MEC Company outlet of capabilities anywhere along the product delivery process and be amazed at what a talented partner can do for you. The engineering design group, known as MEC Innovation, translates product concept ideas to spec development and then design form. Board layout, design for manufacturing (DFM), and design for test (DFT) are available also. The traditional expected talents of software and hardware engineering have significant team depth. And every step along the way is identified and time resourced with a committed date of completion. Best of all, the engineering talent is not limited to electronic design. Staff mechanical and software engineers make sure that design considerations of the full product assembly will interface with the electronic controls. Yet, there are occasions where the MEC Innovation bandwidth may not have the exact technical specialty expertise needed for a particular product. When that happens, because of their on-going relationships with a number of specialists at several universities around the country, they are able to utilize this advanced knowledge for the needed application. They truly do seem to embody their motto, "leave the problem to us".

MEC Innovation also has several engineers embedded in the engineering departments of certain customers. Working side-by-side with the product engineers works to minimize any communication issues, and to maximize product design time and quality. This concept is symbolic of the trust developed between MEC and its customers, and demonstrates the level of commitment our company makes to developing market knowledge related to the products that our customers offer. An unexpected result of this close-in working relationship has resulted in the "lifetime service" concept that MEC now provides for several customers. As new product pressures impact engineering resources, management prefers to use valuable engineers to concentrate on new, future offerings rather than spend time addressing technical issues related to older products. By outsourcing to MEC the responsibility for servicing these older products, customer technical resources are freed from this responsibility.

Screaming Circuits
If you need prototypes immediately, go to the MEC website, and utilize Screaming Circuits for quick-turn board assembly in 24 or 48 hours — guaranteed! This service is 100 percent web driven, and allows the user to develop a quotation on line, by self direction. Either kitted or turnkey assembly is available. When was the last time an outsourcing partner of any kind provided a guarantee that they would meet your timeline? That's something special.

And by the way, MEC does Electronic Manufacturing Service (EMS) also. Short runs, small-to-medium quantity volumes are specialities at our Northwest and Midwest sites located in Canby, Oregon and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The sweet spot is low and medium volume, high mix, especially with product that we have helped design so that it's tested before delivery. This area of the company has a motto that says it all: "Perfect Product". What the customer wants, when the customer wants it, with no returns. Once again, like the guarantee from Screaming Circuits, when was the last time anyone promised you "perfect product"?
Hand-wiring cables in complex assembly.

The Milwaukee and Canby locations offer many related capabilities as well. Kitted or turnkey, X-ray, RoHS, ISO 9001:2000, potting, encapsulation, and conformal coating are a sampling of related service offerings. This company takes the historical vision of a board stuffer way beyond expectations. And best of all, a 4+ year focus on converting the enterprise to work under Lean principles, has resulted in the latest concepts in action that reduce inventories and costs for our OEM customers.

Mexican Facility
For those customers who are feeling price pressures due to the recent emergence of Asian markets, MEC has established a manufacturing facility in Tecate, Mexico. This location, known as MEC Southwest has most of the capabilities of the Northwest and Midwest facilities, but can offer product cost advantages to compete favorably with the Asian models. Having this facility right at the U.S. border overcomes the issues of language, lead time, currency conversions, high shipping costs, and significant pipeline inventories — all issues that arise with Asian manufacturing. What you see instead is an organization dedicated to meeting all the needs of U.S. OEMs who require high tech electronics. This company has been structured not to duplicate the models of the large-volume, low-cost EMS providers of the world, but rather to offer a large bandwidth of services to OEMs not in the electronics markets — companies who are leaders in their particular field (not electronic), and want to utilize premier electronics controls for their product to gain advantage over their competition. These OEMs have irregular capabilities related to electronics, and need someone just like MEC to fill in the gaps.

So when was the last time you outsourced to someone who offered far more capabilities than you had on staff, provided both engineering and manufacturing, allowed you to pick and choose the exact services you needed, gave you a time-line for your project, offered 24-hour prototype assembly, guaranteed their delivery, and was bold enough to say they would deliver Perfect Product to you? Yes, it is possible. MEC Companies in Wisconsin, Oregon and Mexico does it every day.

For more information, contact: MEC Midwest, 5855 North Glen Park Road, Milwaukee, WI 53209 877-632-4863 or 414-228-5000 fax: 414-228-5001 E-mail: Web:

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