Developing Circuit Boards for Essential Businesses

PCB Manufacturing During a Global Pandemic


The spring of 2020 came as a shock to everyone as nations around the globe went into isolation for protection against the COVID-19 Pandemic. The industrial world was also turned upside down as companies adopted drastic changes in order to protect their workers and their customers. In spite of all this however, the need for the production of essential materials and products remained the same. Manufacturers quickly responded with innovative schedules and processes to supply these demands. Some markets however, such as the medical equipment industry, saw an urgent need to increase development and production in order to help with the fight against the virus.

At VSE we were involved in the production of medical equipment for virus testing and antibody detection during the height of the springtime outbreak. This gave us a clear understanding of the effects of the pandemic on the PCB component supply chain, as well as the necessity of local manufacturing to help carry the load. Not only was our rapid prototyping services able to help in the development of new products, but we were able to consistently supply the manufacturing requirements of our medical customers in the fight against the pandemic.

The Effects of the Pandemic on the PCB Component Supply Chain

One of the first areas to be affected by the pandemic was the offshore production and supply of electronic components for building printed circuit boards. As these manufacturers were faced with restrictions in their workforces due to social distancing requirements, or in some cases having to completely shut down their operations, PCB parts became more difficult to find. Component lead times and costs increased, while the availability of parts, in general, were impacted as shipping options became scarce. There were also concerns about the quality of some of the parts that were available due to questionable sources.

At VSE, we were able to help our customers through these problems because our component supply chain experts have been successfully working with this system for over 30 years. Not only do we have a vast network of component manufacturers, distributors, and brokers that we regularly work with, but we can also help you to work through any potential part problems in your design. We can advise you on part selections to help improve lead times or reduce cost, and we can recommend alternate parts when a design change is the better solution.

Circuit Boards for Essential Businesses Built by Local Manufacturing

Along with the problems of offshore component manufacturing came the difficulties of offshore circuit board manufacturing. Those large scale assembly facilities also faced the same problems of material shortages and restrictions in their workforce. Because of this they saw a significant reduction in their production capabilities, which affected their delivery times and the cost of their finished products.

Fortunately we, at VSE, were able to maintain our production schedules in order to supply the essential needs of our customers. Working with a locally based PCB contract manufacturer like VSE offers you many traditional advantages:


Being in the same time zone and on the same continent means that we can communicate directly with our customers instead of relying on next day E-mail and voice messages.


When we develop a new prototype with our customers, we can work directly with them. This helps speed up the development time of the product and reduces any chances of error.

Component sourcing:

With offshore companies, component sourcing is usually controlled by them. We on the other hand work with our customers so that they know which components are being used, and won’t make any changes without their authorization.

During the pandemic however, the benefits of working with a locally based PCB CM like VSE become even clearer. Our manufacturing lines have remained operational in order to supply our customers with their essential products, and at the same level of high quality that they are accustomed to. Additionally, our customers didn’t have to worry about any delays or increased costs due to international shipping either since we are a locally owned and operated business.

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The Importance of PCB Prototyping

If there is anything that has stood out more during this crisis, it is how important it is to get new medical diagnostic and treatment devices up and running as quickly as possible. To do this requires the creation of new equipment prototypes which can only be done by manufacturers that are prepared for it. To successfully build electronic prototypes requires the following:

Engineering expertise:

Everything from component selection to circuit design will come into question during a prototype build. To respond to these questions in a timely manner requires that the PCB CM have an experienced engineering department ready to go.

Manufacturing precision:

Not only does a prototype have to be fast, but it has to be precise. Here is where the capabilities of a low-volume high-mix manufacturing facility like VSE will provide the best prototyping services.

Full system experience:

To get the prototype built quickly and correctly requires a PCB CM that understands all of the system requirements. At VSE we handle all of your system’s needs including inspection, test, and box builds.

At VSE we have perfected the prototype process in order to respond quickly to the new product development needs of our customers.

The Critical Need for Medical Equipment Built Quickly and Precisely

To combat medical emergencies such as the Coronavirus pandemic requires that new medical equipment be developed and built quickly and at the highest levels of precision. To accomplish this, these devices should be built by PCB CMs that are industry certified and have experience building medical electronics. This ensures that the equipment built will be robust and safe to use no matter what conditions they are subjected to.

With VSE you can be confident that your medical electronics are being built to exceed industry standards. Not only are we certified in ISO 13485, ISO 9001, plus many others, but we also embrace the high levels of quality that these standards represent. For example, we have set up an extensive documentation system to accompany our manufacturing process in accordance with the requirements of ISO 13485. This ensures that the medical equipment that we build for you will have full traceability of all of its components and materials in full compliance with the standards and regulations.

VSE: The Key to Your Essential Business

We are truly all together in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we understand how we all have a role to play. By doing our part to build your medical electronics equipment, you in turn are able to do your part. You can count on us to keep producing your essential medical electronics through the conclusion of this battle, or any others that may come.

If you are looking for a CM that prides itself on its care and attention to detail to ensure that each PCB assembly is built to the highest standards, look no further than VSE. We have the experience, the capabilities, and the motivation to build the highest quality circuit boards for your essential business. Contact us today to learn more about partnering with us for your next project.

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