A few months back, I installed some motorized blinds to the main windows in my family room. I could indeed argue that automating the blinds was necessary because the room’s furniture makes those windows more difficult to reach, but the truth is—I love gadgets. They are voice-controlled through my smart-home network, so we all get a kick out of raising and lowering the blinds with a few spoken words.
Enhancements like these are just one example of all the new electronic technologies being developed for the home. Many of these innovations support working and schooling from home, while others simply elevate home aesthetics and offer conveniences, like voice-controlled blinds. Let’s take a more in-depth look into this growing electronics market, what is required of these devices, and how PCB assembly services for home technology will manufacture them.
Changes in Home Technologies Requiring Precision Electronics Manufacturing
For a long time, home electronics consisted mostly of entertainment devices such as televisions and sound systems or household appliances like ovens and washing machines. However, with personal computers and gaming systems, home electronics expanded to the next level. Now, these systems and smart devices can all be linked within a home network. Many of these devices were designed for convenience but now take on an even greater responsibility:
- Home office: With more and more office jobs transitioning to the home, remote working has become one of the hottest growing trends. The home office will first start with a computer that can keep pace with the business models traditionally found in offices, but that is only the beginning. Web cameras, sound systems, monitors and displays, document cameras, and presentation aids are just a few of the other devices becoming vital for the home office.
- Education: With so many students learning at home due to the pandemic, the need for educational electronics has accelerated. The equipment requirements for education often mimic those of the home office, but there are differences, such as tablets replacing a traditional computer for younger children.
- Security: Outdoor and indoor cameras that used to require dedicated systems are now cloud-based and networked through the home system. Many smart devices are designed to complement the home’s security, including motion detectors, garage door openers, and locks. Even smart light bulbs can help maintain security by being remotely controlled in case of a break-in.
- Medical: Many different smart devices will monitor and record people’s metabolic levels within the home. Thermometers and blood pressure cuffs are just two examples of the sensors that can now connect to the home network to monitor and record their results.
Finally, to support these home networks requires a wireless router that can handle a growing number of devices. Manufacturers of routers and other networking equipment are continually updating their products to keep pace with these new home technologies. Next, we’ll look at what it takes to build the electronics for these systems and devices.
How Manufacturer’s Respond to PCB Assembly Services for Home Technology
Home technology devices must be built to provide continual and dependable service. Although their requirements are not as rigorous as the demands placed on medical, aerospace, or military electronics, they must still satisfy a high-quality standard. This standard will ensure that the consumer is not forced to spend time and money on repairs or replacements or disrupt the devices’ tasks. Simultaneously, these devices must also be built at a price point to encourage consumers to purchase them.
Balancing quality with price requires an extraordinary amount of forethought in design and manufacturing. PCB contract manufacturers can use their assembly services during new product introduction to prepare the device for mass production. The NPI process usually involves several rounds of prototyping to perfect the design’s performance and optimize its production as much as possible. During NPI, PCB CMs must focus on the integration and packaging of the design to ensure that they can be mass-produced as efficiently as possible. There are different ways that the PCB CM can help with this, which we will look at next.
Local PCB CMs that Help Transition Prototype Electronics to Mass Production
The NPI process is much more than just assembling a printed circuit board for a prototype. It is also developing the board into a fully production-ready product. Here is where a local PCB contract manufacturer can help by validating the entire board manufacturing process, from fabrication to assembly:
- They will ensure that the circuit board is designed for repeatable manufacturing (DFM) no matter where it’s built or in what quantities.
- They will validate that the life cycles of the components are aligned for the long-term production of the board.
- They will provide an assessment of best practices and fixtures for production volumes rather than NPI quantities.
- They will provide engineering help as needed to iron out problems in the board’s mechanical or electrical design.
At VSE, we have helped our customers take their designs through NPI for over 30 years now and are uniquely positioned to help with your home electronics manufacturing needs. From part procurement to final assembly, we understand what it takes to fine-tune a design for mass production, giving you the highest level of quality and the best return on your investment.