Category Archives: Blog

Secure Manufacturing – Beyond the NDA

When it comes to choosing a vendor to manufacture your new, innovative, or proprietary product, it’s imperative to find a partner that will respect and protect your intellectual property. With manufacturing listed as the second most targeted industry for data breaches and espionage, it has never been more important to choose a manufacturing partner that will keep your IP safe. Listed below are the factors that you should look for in your next contract manufacturer to ensure your IP is kept secure and away from competitors and foreign countries.

 

Beyond the NDA

The first step to keeping your IP secure is getting an NDA signed with your manufacturer. Unfortunately, this does not always do enough. It would be best if you found a manufacturer that proactively goes above and beyond the typical NDA.

 

NIST 800-171

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides a robust framework of computer security guidance, allowing private-sector organizations in the United States to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber-attacks and theft of intellectual property. When vetting your next contract manufacturer, check that they are compliant with NIST 800-171. These standards clearly define how sensitive information, such as your IP, should be handled to maximize security.

 

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF)

In addition to an NDA and NIST compliance, look for manufacturers like REDCOM EMS that operate a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).  SCIFs ensure that no one sees your documentation or project except those with clearance. Any non-cleared staff who enter must remain under the constant supervision of cleared personnel, and they must surrender all recording, photographic, and other electronic media devices. Any communication inside the room is restricted from public disclosure.

 

Secure ERP

REDCOM EMS has found that employing a secure ERP (enterprise resource planning) system is another useful tool in securing client information and IP. A secure ERP system only grants access to those individuals necessary in the manufacturing process, reducing the exposure of your IP as much as possible.

 

Subcontractor Clearance

In some cases, projects will require the work of subcontractors. In this case, it is essential that your contract manufacturer only use trusted resources. To do this, REDCOM EMS requires all subcontractors to maintain ISO clearance and strict confidentiality. Check with your next manufacturer to ensure they are also taking appropriate steps.

 

Secure Manufacturing from REDCOM EMS

REDCOM EMS has your secure manufacturing needs covered. We have been manufacturing for highly secretive enterprise, military, and government customers for decades. They trust us with their most sensitive designs and information because they know REDCOM EMS has the controls in place to secure their projects from start to finish. REDCOM EMS directly employs all the factors mentioned above. To learn more about our secure manufacturing, or to receive a quote on an upcoming project, please contact sales@redcomems.com.

Why Quality Management System Certifications are Important

importance of Quality Management System (QMS) certificationsIn the contract manufacturing world, Quality Management System (QMS) certifications are one of the first items a prospective customer should have on their checklist. Why is this? Quality Management System certifications provide a standard of documentation, quality, and controls that assures the customer that the manufacturer can produce consistent, quality product. There are hundreds of different standards for almost any industry you can imagine. Let’s talk a little bit about the three QMS certifications that REDCOM EMS has achieved thus far, and the purpose of each one.

ISO 9001:2015

This certification is essentially the “baseline” certification that prospective customers should look for. It provides a framework for a system of, “say what you do, and do what you say.” This standard can be used within any industry, whether it’s manufacturing, or human resources, or accounting. It focuses on processes, customer satisfaction, and involvement of top management in the overall system. The primary purpose of this certification is to provide business with a standardized method of producing high-quality and consistent products and services. REDCOM EMS achieved this certification in March 2017, opening the doors to the general commercial market.

AS9100D

Manufacturing Services for aerospaceThis certification builds upon ISO 9001:2015, and the standard uses the text from ISO 9001:2015 and inserts additional requirements in bold, italicized font. This certification provides the requirements for the Defense, Aviation, and Space industries. It holds the organization to a higher level of quality and control that’s necessary for mission-critical products and services. Risk management is heavily emphasized, as is tight control of the supply chain to prevent counterfeit parts.

As you can imagine, the consequences of an in-flight failure of a critical component in a commercial airline carrying 300 people would be catastrophic. Pilots, astronauts, and military personnel need to be able to do their jobs without worrying whether the equipment that their lives depend on is going to work. That criticality of high-quality products and services flows down the supply chain. REDCOM EMS achieved this certification in July 2019, providing opportunities to delve a little deeper into the aerospace and defense markets.

ISO 13485:2016

Medical Device ManufacturingThis certification outlines the conditions for the QMS as it relates to regulatory requirements associated with medical devices. This standard also focuses heavily on risk management and regulatory compliance. Many medical device manufacturers are subject to FDA regulations, and these controls must be implemented throughout the supply chain. This standard and certification process can be a bit complex for designers of medical products; however, because REDCOM EMS only manufacturers to print (i.e. to a customer’s design and requirements), some of the complexity was removed from the equation. REDCOM EMS secured ISO 13485:2016 certification in May 2020, indicating its Quality Management System meets all the requirements for medical device manufacturing.

Why Require QMS Certifications of Your Contract Manufacturers?

QMS certifications assure an industry-standard level of quality and control over processes and documentation and are continuously being monitored through internal audits, annual surveillance audits by the certification body, and re-certification audits by the certification body every three years.

Require QMS Certifications of Your Contract ManufacturersAt REDCOM EMS, we pride ourselves on the commitment to quality throughout the entire organization that is required to obtain and maintain these certifications. Each new certification and each internal and external audit give us opportunities to improve our processes and make our QMS more robust as we continuously strive to meet and exceed customer expectations.

 

 

 

How REDCOM EMS Achieved Two QMS Certifications in Two Years

July 7, 2019 and May 8, 2020. Those are the dates that REDCOM EMS received AS9100D and ISO 13485:2016 certifications, respectively. If you are familiar with QMS (Quality Management System) certifications, you’ll know that each of these certifications requires a tremendous amount of effort to implement successfully. Here’s the story of how REDCOM EMS was able to achieve both certifications within two years.

REDCOM EMS Quality Manufacturing Rochester NY

REDCOM EMS initially achieved certification to ISO 9001:2015 in early 2017. This certification set an industry-standard baseline for quality within the organization and allowed REDCOM EMS to expand its customer base. Shortly after, there were several opportunities that REDCOM EMS could not bid on as they required an AS9100D or ISO 13485:2016 certification. That was when the gears started turning towards those certifications.

For relatively small manufacturers like REDCOM EMS, hiring an external consultant to assist with certifications can be very helpful. This is the path REDCOM EMS took for QMS implementation for the ISO 9001:2015 certification.

 

AS9100D Implementation

During discussions on how to best tackle AS9100D, our consultant informed us AS9100D is based on ISO 9001:2015 and recommended we start there. With ISO 9001:2015 achieved in 2017, we kicked off the process for AS9100D in September 2018.

The first step to AS9100D was performing a gap analysis to identify the additional needs in our documentation and processes. Once the gaps were identified, it was a massive undertaking and team effort within REDCOM EMS to implement and train on the new processes.

In addition to employee training, our internal auditors also needed to be trained and brought up to speed. Despite being a relatively small group, REDCOM EMS has a unique advantage where colleagues from REDCOM Laboratories were willing and able to step up as “internal” auditors. As a result, we had a great pool of objective and impartial auditors. They thought about our processes from different perspectives and in ways that we hadn’t considered before. Much credit is due to that auditing team for pushing the QMS to where it had to be.

The Stage 1 audit for AS9100D was held in May 2019, and the Stage 2 audit was held in June 2019. REDCOM EMS came away with three minor nonconformities and one major nonconformity, all of which were easily and effectively addressed. REDCOM EMS received its official AS9100D certificate on July 7, 2019.

 

ISO 13485:2016 Implementation

Rochester Manufacturing Quality

Rather than sit back and relax after the AS9100D certification, the ISO 13485:2016 certification project was kicked off a month later, in August 2019. This standard is based on ISO 9001:2008, which is the previous revision of the standard. Some adjustments were needed to incorporate different terminology into the QMS, but in general, many of the ISO 13485:2016 requirements were at least partially implemented during the AS9100D certification project.

Again, it was a massive team effort to implement any changes needed, and the “internal” auditors again raised the bar for the QMS. The Stage 1 audit for this certification was held in January 2020, and the Stage 2 audit was conducted in February 2020. REDCOM EMS came away with four minor nonconformities, all of which were again easily and effectively addressed. REDCOM EMS received its ISO 13485:2016 certificate on May 8, 2020.

Quality First

Electronic Manufacturing Quality Rochester NY

The undertaking of implementing two new QMS certifications within two years was no small feat, and it highlights REDCOM EMS’ underlying dedication to quality and REDCOM management’s investment in the future success of REDCOM EMS. For now, REDCOM EMS plans to nurture and continuously improve upon the existing QMS systems, but it will only be a matter of time before the next project surfaces. Have a specific certification requirement for your products? We’ll get right on that!

 

 

Industrial 3D Printing

Advantages of 3D printing in Manufacturing

Unlike traditional manufacturing, where you take an object and remove material until you’re left with the desired design, 3D printing is what’s known as additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is the process of building up material until the desired design is achieved. This process comes with many benefits, especially when it comes to short-run products, a few of which we’ll touch on below.

Flexibility

One of the significant benefits of industrial 3D printing is the flexibility it brings to the manufacturer. In traditional manufacturing, any change in design requires a new tool or process to remove material. In 3D printing, there are no such limitations. In another sense of flexibility, the 3D printer allows manufacturers to implement creative ideas. For example, if a board that enters cutting and continues to crack in undesired areas, with a 3D printer, you can create custom supports for the board to prevent the unwanted defects. In line with creative solutions, the printer allows manufacturers to create custom fixtures that would otherwise be very costly and take anywhere from two to four weeks to ship.

Speed

When it takes up to four weeks for a critical fixture to arrive manufacturing timetables can be greatly delayed, especially if the fixture is an unplanned requirement. Having the capability to create custom fixtures that can withstand reflow temperatures is a huge advantage when managing tight timetables. Rather than weeks, the solution can be on hand in merely hours.

Cost

The plastics involved in 3D printing, even the more expensive and highly durable plastics, compared to traditional materials are much cheaper and accessible. Coming back to custom fixturing, ordering a fixture can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, where 3D printing allows the fixture to be printed for just dollars.

 

The Importance of Printed Circuit Board Repair

Printed Circuit Board Repair

When choosing a partner for your PCBA, Prototype, or New Product Introduction (NPI), it’s essential to consider whether or not they offer printed circuit board repair and rework services. A partner that does not offer PCB repair and rework can lead to higher production costs, wasted material, and costly delays in time to market.

Why printed circuit boards fail

Aside from physical damage, the most common reason PCBs require repair and rework is component failure. Component failure can be the result of poor component quality, dislodging, or aging. The most common cause, however, is a poor PCB design. A poor design can lead to power failure, overheated components, and burnt components.

Printed Circuit board repair and rework in New York and Eastern United States

Why PCB repair services are important

Once a design flaw is discovered, it must be corrected immediately. Unless your manufacturing partner offers printed circuit board repair and rework services, altering PCB design mid-production can wreak havoc on your production schedule and budget. The capability to repair and rework PCBs allows the manufacturer to update the boards to match the current specs as closely as possible.

For example

When a REDCOM EMS customer altered the design of their PCB mid-production, REDCOM EMS was able to cut traces in the already produced boards and add additional wiring to circumvent a design flaw. Through leveraging the already produced boards, this rework service saved the customer time and budget in the would-be cost of purchasing new materials.

With our manufacturing team, you get confidence that comes with decades of experience building and repairing advanced custom electronic solutions for customers in a variety of markets, including military, aerospace, energy, transportation, and health care. So when considering a partner for your next printed circuit board assembly, prototype, or new product, make sure to ask if they offer PCB repair and rework services.

Conformal Coating

What is conformal coating?

A conformal coating is a protective film that covers certain areas on a circuit board. The coating is typically a 25-75µm thick polymer film that protects and insulates a PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The coating creates a breathable layer that protects against moisture and airborne contaminants while allowing moisture to escape the board.

What is conformal coating services REDCOM EMS

 

Why use conformal coating?

Conformal coating is used to protect PCBs from damage caused by several external elements associated with harsh environments such as salt spray, moisture, airborne contaminants, shock, temperature variations, and vibrations.

In addition to forming a protective barrier, the conformal coating also increases insulation. This can drastically reduce the spacing needed in PCB conductors.

 

Conformal Coating Machine for PCB from REDCOM EMS

 

Who should use conformal coating?

If your PCB will be subject to harsh working environments, a conformal coating may be able to extend the life of the PCB and prevent harmful degradation. Since many of REDCOM EMS’s customers are in the industrial, military, and aerospace industries, conformal coating is particularly attractive to them.

Using selective automotive spray, REDCOM EMS ensures consistent results and can coat boards with precision while minimizing human interaction. See our video below on conformal coating:

Quality Engineer Lauren Iuranich wins Millennials in Manufacturing Award

Lauren Iuranich, Quality Engineer for REDCOM EMS, has been recognized for her hard work and awarded the top prize in FuzeHub’s Millenials in Manufacturing Awards. Lauren was nominated by her boss, General Manager of REDCOM EMS, Steve Husband. Lauren had to have a written nomination, along with a video discussing how she’s demonstrated initiative in innovating new processes that keep the company moving forward.

REDCOM EMS Lauren

Lauren (second from left, above) was honored on Monday, October 7 during the New York State Innovation Summit held in the Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY. The awards were presented by Executive Vice President at Empire State Development, Pravina Raghavan and President and CEO of Empire State Development, Eric Gertler.

“When reviewing the entries, we were excited to hear about so many young professionals who are helping manufacturers thrive in New York State,” said FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc. “We created the Millennials in Manufacturing Awards to celebrate rising stars who are making an impact and expand statewide understanding of the career opportunities available in the manufacturing industry.

“As we mark Manufacturing Day 2019, we hope this year’s winners inspire more New Yorkers to pursue manufacturing careers,” she added. “Building a deeper bench of talented workers will help the industry grow faster and stronger.”

Lauren has been working to continuously improve processes and procedures on the manufacturing floor and has played a vital role in helping REDCOM EMS obtain the AS9100D:2016 certification, as well as working to obtain the ISO 13485 certification for medical device manufacturing.  Lauren is passionate about taking on new projects that will help the company and enjoys finding innovative ways to make the company more efficient. Although she only started working at EMS in 2017, since joining the team Lauren has become an important asset in paving the way forward to manufacturing growth and success.

Employee Feature: Lauren Iuranich

REDCOM EMS has been experiencing exponential growth over the past few years. During this period of growth, REDCOM has been expanding its production capabilities with the addition of new equipment while going after certifications to help expand into new markets, such as aerospace and medical. None of this growth and success is accomplished without a hardworking team in place.

Lauren Iuranich is a Quality Engineer for REDCOM EMS. Within her position, she manages the quality of all products being manufactured on-site in Victor, NY and runs all certification efforts for REDCOM EMS. Most recently, Lauren led the company in obtaining the AS9100D certification and she’s in the process of obtaining ISO 13485:2016. There is a lot of work that goes into getting our site certified, including updating procedures and documents, meeting standards, going through audit processes, as well as physical preparations out on the floor.

Another big part of Lauren’s job is her ongoing efforts to continuously improve upon everyday processes and procedures. She’s passionate about tackling these projects and enjoys looking at a situation or problem and thinking of ways to fix things and make everyday workflow for the team more efficient. One project Lauren is working on currently is an MES, or Manufacturing Execution System, for our manufacturing facility. This would enable REDCOM EMS to go paperless, and every operation on the floor will be set up with a laptop and a scanner. Right now, most quality data is based on returns or captured manually. With the MES in place, traceability will vastly improve, data can be easily collected and retrieved, and quality records can be better tracked.

Lauren grew up in Western New York. She was born and raised in Buffalo and went to college at RIT where she got her Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. Lauren only started working at REDCOM in 2017, but since joining the team she has become a vital asset in paving the way forward to manufacturing growth and success.

 

REDCOM adapts and thrives

REDCOM is expanding and adding local jobs as it adapts to the evolving needs of its customers. Steve Husband, REDCOM EMS General Manager, recently appeared on TV as part of the Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC segmenton WROC Rochester. In the TV spot, Steve discusses the history of REDCOM EMS, our local manufacturing, our growth, and our plans to add staff.

Video Transcript:

“REDCOM Labs started in 1978 as an OEM manufacturer for telecommunication systems,” explained Husband. “The founders of REDCOM were actually Stromberg-Carlson employees, which is right up the road here. They wanted to stay in the Rochester area. They didn’t want to move with Stromberg, so they started this business, and they started it with a few founders and grew from that point to where it is today with 140 employees, 150 employees. We’re located in the Victor area as a manufacturer and designer of telecommunication systems. The hardware solution, which is what started the company originally, I’ll say within the last seven years has slowly declined to a point to where we had to look at manufacturing as a whole and decide what we were going to do with it specifically, because we didn’t want to move it out of the area. So as the OEM side of REDCOM has moved more toward a software application solution, we decided to stay on with the manufacturing sector and keep manufacturing here in Rochester and start the business called REDCOM EMS, which is a manufacturer of printed circuit boards as our core competency specifically.”

Husband said the decision to keep its manufacturing local was carefully calculated. “The reason we kept it here is because our roots were here, our supply chain was here. It was established because we’ve had the product solution for 30 years, 40 years and those relationships were there. So it made sense for us to keep manufacturing here because we could work with our suppliers that we knew, we trusted, and with this whole counterfeiting issue that’s occurring right now – we didn’t have to worry about it because our suppliers went to the manufacturers direct and that helped us. That gives comfort to our customers because they know that the materials that go into their products are trustworthy, they’re quality products.”

The manufacturing needs of REDCOM’s customers continue to change. “One of the things that we saw relatively recently was the need for additional capabilities,” Husband said. “A lot of our customers in several different markets have various needs and it was important for us to make sure that we met those needs. So we invested two million dollars recently for high-speed printed circuit board manufacturing capabilities.”

The investment has resulted in the need to hire additional employees. “We look for people who are either just coming out of a two-year school like the FLCCs or MCCs,” said Husband. “They have a skill set that we’re looking for because it’s not necessarily an engineering role, but it’s a very important role in order for us to build a product as we need it. But we’re also looking for that back office staff – buyers, quoters, engineers – that can support that line and be able to keep up with the demands that we’re seeing in our customer base.”