Thursday, June 21, 2018
Publication Date: 09/1/2011
Archive >  September 2011 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

STI Does It All — Design, Manufacturing & Training
Programming an autoplacer on the production floor.

STI Electronics, Inc. (STI) is a family-owned company based in Madison, AL that was founded by Jim D. Raby, P.E. in 1982. The business started out as a training and consulting company but quickly expanded to include training materials and analytical lab services. STI currently comprises three divisions with multiple departments within each.

The company teaches and certifies to the IPC and NASA standards as well as basic and custom training for customers all over the world. In addition, the company is a stocking distributor that sells more than 150 different manufacturers' lines of equipment, tools and consumable supplies — including Kester, PACE, Excelta, and MicroCare.

Finally, STI is an engineering company with capabilities for manufacturing prototype and small- to medium-volume specialty high-density production runs. It does this with three SMT lines, including one completely contained in a Class 1000 clean room. The company has a full analytical and failure analysis lab as well as various test capabilities. The company has developed a process for embedding active components within a substrate to reduce size, weight and power requirements for electrical assemblies as well as enabling the assembly to operate in extreme, harsh environments.

STI coined the technology IC/DT® (Imbedded Component/Die Technology) and currently possesses a patent for the technology. Recently, the company was approached and asked evaluate IC/DT in a current military system. A live test shot was conducted successfully in October 2007 as a technology demonstration of the company's Imbedded Component/Die Technology. Several other military systems are currently being evaluated for redesign using IC/DT as this technology transitions from R&D to a proven assembly process.

Multi-Faceted Company
Over the past few years, STI has become a well-rounded, multi-faceted company because of a desire to provide complete solutions to its customers. With 65 employees and sales offices in Dallas and Tampa, the company has customers in all 50 states and 46 countries. STI has always been known for training, consulting and a source for technical information, but in the past few years it has strived to round out the product and service offerings. At the end of 2008, the company made the long overdue move into a new facility that gave each of its divisions/departments room to grow and do their jobs better — and all have done that with exceptional success. The company has added experience and knowledge in its inside and outside customer service arm as well as manufacturing and testing capabilities.

Training classes and additional curriculum development capabilities also have been added. STI and its employees have become proficient at using all resources and capabilities available within its walls to engineer and provide workable, complete solutions for our customers.

What makes the company's overall business model different than others? STI's model is to be a single source solutions provider, a true "one stop shop" in electronics manufacturing and related industries. STI training classes provide an opportunity for a student to receive certification as an operator (CIS) or instructor (CIT). If trained and certified as a CIT, that student can then purchase tools, equipment and supplies from STI to equip a training room back at his or her home facility. In addition, they can purchase the electronics assembly and solder kits as well as IPC documents and specifications necessary to conduct a training class from STI or they can simply contract with STI to conduct the training for them.

Design Challenges
STI can also assist with design challenges as well as build prototypes for customers. It can provide assistance and guidance in setting up individual processes, the equipment and materials to build product, and the technical expertise for any problems that arise. The company is also available to simply build the product for customers as a contract manufacturer.

Almost any combination of these services is available. There are other companies that are very good at one or two of these functions, but STI is the only company that has the right people and capabilities to help through the entire process. The company has intentionally structured the products and services as well as the internal staff and capabilities to be able to change course to keep on track with changes in technology, as well as to enable rapid response times to changing customer needs and expectations. Because of the many different areas of focus, STI's staff is comprised of a variety of experts who work seamlessly together for the good of the customer.

This year, the company has so far added 15 new people, each bringing experience and a fresh outlook. New hires have been salespeople with a wealth of industry knowledge and an instructor with a broad range of industry manufacturing experience.

On the hardware side, a selective solder machine has been added to improve efficiency and capability primarily in the connector soldering area. Component placement capabilities have been increased to enable manufacturing for the LED market. The addition of a vibration table is expected soon to increase testing capabilities. Each of these additions has added to the overall company knowledge base and makes it an even more valuable resource to customers.

Recognizing the importance of working with industry organizations on multiple levels, the company works closely with IPC because creating and maintaining meaningful industry standards is tremendously important to the entire industry. It also is very important for the company's training department to be involved in the IPC Committee Meetings because it strengthens the ability to train, which greatly benefits customers. Being able to explain the rationale behind the standards, specific requirements, etc. is priceless to STI's training staff as well as the students/customers.

Mel Parrish and Pat Scott are the company's most visible participants in IPC activities — committee meetings, standards review and development, etc. — however, several other staffers are very active behind the scenes. The company has been involved in the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) since its inception, and while it serves a different purpose than IPC, its value to the company and its customers has been at least equal. The SMTA provides learning opportunities and a networking community (it is a cliche to call it a family but on some levels it really is) that are amazing. STI participates in both organizations, as well as others as speakers (teachers) and attendees (students).

Contact: STI Electronics Inc., 261 Palmer Rd., Madison, AL 35758 256-461-9191 fax: 256-461-7524 E-mail: Web:

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