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EETE JULAUG 2012

DESIGN & PRODUCTS MEDICal ElECTRONICS Choosing the right EMS partner for medical applications By Willie MacKinnon fierce coMpetition, tightening regula- their solutions to device companies. Today, tions and increasing pressure to produce a some eMS companies provide a wider array differentiated product: these are the chal- of services from conceptual design to sys- lenges of the fast paced medical electron- tem assembly and configuration / shipping ics market that oeMs have to tackle to devices to the end user, but not every medi- reduce the lead-time from initial concept to cal oeM will require that level of integration order fulfilment. As a result, the demand for with an EMS partner. The first question to support from an electronics manufacturing address is the volume and complexity of services (eMS) partner is on the increase, the medical electronic device. There are especially in the sophisticated category of companies that specialise at different levels high complexity, low volume medical elec- of volume and product complexity and it is, tronic devices. therefore, essential to choose an eMS part- ner with core specialisations that comple- it’s a tough time to be a medical oeM - ment its internal capabilities. the current economic uncertainties chal- lenge all organisations to streamline their Consider the level of collabo- business, whilst reducing costs, improving ration requiredWillie MacKinnon, VP Customer efficiency and ensuring optimised use of Management EMEA with Plexus “There Some medical oeMs will prefer to work internal resources. Deciding to work with is a growing trend, within medical with an eMS partner that can help drive an eMS company can help a medical oeM OEMs to work with an EMS company solutions and support with medical device to respond better to its evolving challenges as a single, integrated partner which design, but there are others that simply while improving its return on investment on adds value throughout the design and need assistance at a specific stage, such resources deployed in the design and manu- manufacturing process”. as pcB assembly, higher level assembly facturing process. Whereas before an EMS or product configuration. There is a grow- was engaged to fulfil a set function at a critical stage of the ing trend, however, within medical oeMs to work with an eMS manufacturing process, today an oeM should select an eMS company as a single, integrated partner which adds value company who can add value at every stage of the product real- throughout design and manufacturing process, freeing the oeM ization process and is a trusted integrated partner from design to focus its attention on core technology, intellectual property through to manufacturing and after-market solutions. So when differentiators and marketing. This makes selection of an EMS it comes to deciding on an eMS partner what should oeMs ask partner critically important. before making a decision? Rules and regulations In-house capabilities and resources An experienced and trusted EMS partner will also be invaluable prior to consulting an eMS company, a medical oeM needs to at providing assistance when meeting international regulations assess its own internal strengths and capabilities. An internal such as the roHS recast, an existing eU directive tightened audit enables the company to evaluate and determine their key up in June 2011 to regulate large amounts of toxic electronic differentiators as their focus areas. Then it will be able to identify waste. Medical devices must comply with all RoHS recast significant areas where an EMS partner will add most value. regulations and the transition to a roHS recast compliant medi- this will vary depending on the core strength of the medical cal device can affect the overall performance of the product. OEM. Many companies choose to focus on their core technol- this means that testing may be required to ensure reliability, ogy to maximise the value and differentiation of their intellectual verification and validation. Medical designs are renowned for property, such as a unique sensor technology. These OEMs are long product life cycles and medical oeMs often have legacy looking for an eMS partner that can support them with both designs that require sustaining support for the original design. the design and manufacture of the equipment around this core this can be a huge challenge for the customer, especially if technology. By dividing areas of the design and development that design features a significant number of end-of-life com- process dependent on their key focuses, oeMs can gain the ponents. In order to meet the new RoHS compliance require- most value from working with an eMS partner who can reduce ments, medical oeMs need to take the opportunity to update time to revenue whilst controlling fixed costs. legacy designs. The replacements can range from simple direct replacement to complex redesign for example to replace design Pick a partner with the right fit and right size functionality with FPGAs . for your business An EMS partner will support, and in certain cases lead, medi- eMS companies continue to increase the scale and extent of cal oeMs with the redesign and transition of these products to ensure that they meet all current regulations. It will look to Willie MacKinnon is Vice president customer Management its supply chain to provide an effective unit cost solution. This EMEA with Plexus -www.plexus.com refreshes a successful product to give it a greater lifecycle that 34 Electronic Engineering Times Europe July/August 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE JULAUG 2012
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