OEMs build trend for testing outsourcing

23 September 2014

Electronics manufacturing services providers are able to realise less time to market for cost-effective PCBs production, says report.

As electronics products becoming more advanced and complex, OEMs are outsourcing testing needs to electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers. Technological change and product innovation in automotive, medical, electronics and military industries increase the opportunities for EMS providers to offer modern, customized testing solutions, says Frost & Sullivan.

Test & Measurement in the Global Electronics Manufacturing Services Market analysis, finds that the market earned revenues of $2.11billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach $3.99billion in 2020. EMS test services covered include defect analysis, in-circuit testing, inspection with image processing, functional testing, automatic optical inspection, burn-in and X-ray inspection.

Increasing circuit board densities, decreasing space between holes, and the growing requirement for PCBs to perform in hot and humid environments is creating demand for complex testing solutions. OEMs are outsourcing testing operations to EMS vendors, who are developing a new generation of testing products with higher frequencies, embedded passives, greater densities, and finer lines.

OEMs also rely on EMS providers to manufacture, sub-assemble and assemble cost-effective PCBs at a faster time-to-market. EMS providers will particularly benefit from offering in-circuit testing, which is used to evaluate passive components of PCBs for presence, continuity, connection, and faults to avoid additional costs in manufacturing.

In-circuit test costs per pin have remained stable, however, demands for higher speeds, greater accuracy, more timing sets, and enhanced vector memory have escalated capital costs for high-performance test and measurement equipment.

EMS providers will benefit from strategically choosing segments to compete in, suggests the analyst firm. Focusing on expanding manufacturing capacity to achieve economies of scale for high-volume products such as computers, notebooks and low-end mobile handsets will be profitable. Moderate-volume products like medical equipment, which are mostly protected by OEM-specific IP, can also provide EMS vendors with the required balance of margins and competition.



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