Looking for a career in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry?

The team at Burton Industries believes that making investments in their equipment, technology, and above all, their people gives them the tools to deliver an outstanding product to their customers. With the development of the Learn 2 Earn program, Burton Industries is taking the initiative to fill the employment gap in the Electronics Manufacturing industry. The program goal is to take an entry-level employee and train them into the functions of a process engineer. This training program provides a distinct career path for employees, creates job enrichment, and a sense of pride in ownership for every product. The Learn 2 Earn program is helping harness the power of every associate in the quest to work smarter and embrace an internal culture of constant learning.

Who is Burton Industries?

Who is Burton Industries? The easy answer is we are a full-service Electronics Manufacturer of PCBs and high-level assemblies. However, that only scratches the surface. Who we are at our core is a team of over 70 dedicated people. We come from deep backgrounds of experience, education, and knowledge to ensure our customer’s success. Our team’s learning comes from universities, community colleges, technical schools, and our in-house education and training programs. In this graphic, we are highlighting the colleges and universities that we represent.

August 2018 Supply Chain Trends

We continue to see lead-times stretching out across a number of components. InAugust Trending Info general ceramic capacitors, we see allocation at many suppliers, increasing lead-times and price increases. In fixed resistors, RoHM is not accepting orders, PSC is heavily constrained and has 52+ week lead-times. At other manufacturers we are seeing lead-times range from 8-30 weeks. Tantalum capacitor lead-times have increased from 15 to 28 weeks. In MLCCs, Murata and TDK are on allocation. Lead-times in general are running 12-30 weeks. Automotive components are the most heavily affected. STMicro is increasing lead-times across the board on all their products. We’ve included a color-coded chart highlighting trends in all commodities as of end of August 2018.

Burton Industries’ customers can contact their CSR and request a current spreadsheet outlining these trends by component type and manufacturer.

Tariff Mitigation Case Study


DSC05352The first round of tariffs have kicked in on components originating in China. Our distribution partners are tracking this and billing the tariffs at the end of the month. We are auditing their charges against our records and are passing along these costs to customers.

We are also working to mitigate tariffs wherever possible. The software tools we have are helpful in identifying country of our origin and alternate sources. We are also identifying suppliers & quoting current custom parts not in China. Here is our most recent cost reduction example:

Tariff Mitigation Case Study

Recently a customer wishing to mitigate China-related tariffs asked us look at alternate suppliers. We were able to identify another Asian source outside of China. The end result was the part cost was reduced from 23 cents to 16 cents, which represented nearly a $35,000 annualized savings in addition to eliminating the tariff cost.

Addressing Materials Constraints

_FBP5218-2The team at Burton Industries recognizes a constrained market requires that we work as closely as possible with our customers and suppliers to keep products on schedule. We are tracking distribution partner performance. Those who are living up to commitments the majority of the time and being proactive in communicating impending issues are seeing the bulk of our spend.

We have a number of supply chain partners willing to carry bonded inventory for us and live up to their commitments. Bonded inventory gives customers maximum flexibility with minimum liability, because the majority of parts are in high demand and easy to restock should a forecast change. Where possible we are moving customers to these sources of bonded inventory, setting demand based on a 12-month forecast.

We are working to get all our volume production customers to give 26+ weeks of commitments based on component lead-times. We modify that expectation for customers with legacy products that are built on an as needed or a few times a year basis.

Here are a few tips to further mitigate component availability issues:

  • Put our design team in the design cycle from a Bill of Materials (BOM) standpoint as early as possible. We offer a free BOM scrub service to existing customers to help them assess risk in critical to design components.
  • Avoid single source parts or those with limited sources.
  • If a part has been labelled not recommended for new product use, it should also be avoided as its obsolescence risk is high.

Burton Industries’ Design Engineering team can help with all your component engineering related needs. Our pool of specialists can help you manage the increasingly complex development environments and offer full life cycle management with strong focus on cost savings and defect prevention. Capabilities include:

  • Product/PCB Design
  • PWB layout
  • Design for manufacturability (DFM)
  • Component selection assistance (alternative sourcing)
  • Development of manufacturing aids (fixtures, stencils, etc.)
  • RoHS conversion assistance
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) recommendations


Reducing Risk of Field Failures: Benefits of Conformal Coating and Potting

By Jeff Brattrud, Burton Industries’ Engineering Manager

Anyone who has spilled a cup of coffee on a keyboard or dropped a cell phone in water understDSC05352ands the negative effects that moisture can have on the operation of electronic products. Products used in harsh environments with regular exposure to temperature extremes, water, humidity, sand or salt spray can also have performance issues. One way to mitigate that risk is to either coat or encapsulate all or part of the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA).

Conformal coating is the most widely used method and acrylics are among the most popular conformal coating material. Acrylics are easy to apply and easy to rework. Silicone is also popular. However, it is harder to remove for rework. Rework on silicone-coated PCBAs requires use of solvents unless only a small area of the product will undergo rework. The main advantage of silicone is that it is stable at higher temperatures up to 200 degrees C, which makes it appropriate for high heat applications. The team at Burton Industries uses a one-part silicone formula. Both acrylics and silicone provide good protection from moisture, fungus, dirt, dust and salt spray. Silicone provides better protection in environments that include chemicals or solvents and vibration.

Potting provides additional protection in harsh environments by encapsulating sensitive electronics. When used on a single component in a process known as “glob top,” it can protect ICs from damage or strain. Some companies use potting compounds as a means to prevent theft of proprietary data. Potting may be a better solution than conformal coating for protecting products in environments that have a lot of vibration because it provides total encapsulation. It can also help with heat dissipation, since encapsulation spreads heat more evenly. Other harsh environmental conditions it can protect against include chemical or gas exposure, shock and drops.

In selecting an appropriate potting compound, it is important to consider environmental factors and potential component stress issues. For example, a softer compound will put less stress on components, particularly when there are temperature extremes.

Both potting and conformal coating add cost to the product, although prevention of field failures can eliminate a much higher cost. Once a product is potted, it generally can’t be reworked. Products incorporating potting must either be designed with an enclosure that won’t allow seepage during cure or a mold must be made to hold the compound during cure. Curing time with potting can be longer than that of conformal coating and the curing process requires control, since heat and humidity can affect cure time.

Both coating and potting require a clean substrate for the coating or potting to adhere properly. When no clean flux is used, it must be tested to determine if an additional step is required to clean the substrate prior to coating or potting. Use of non-wettable components will add cost. At a minimum they need to be masked or protected with a fixture if dipping or spraying is used. Thickness of the coating must be controlled to stay within the design specification including the thickness tolerance.

Conformal coating and potting offer viable options for protecting products from harsh environmental conditions. The team at Burton Industries is experienced with a wide range of options and can help with both the design and selection process.




Conflict Minerals Identification: Burton’s Process

Legislation related to Conflict Minerals and other restricted substances continues to evolve, so Burton Industries has takes a proactive approach to help customers understand potential supply chain issues. The Company’s existing tools for online component analysis and lifecycle review database are also used to help identify status of Conflict Minerals_FBP5143.

The process starts at the RFQ stage. As part of the RFQ response, the engineering team routinely provides lifecycle analysis and identification of any component issues. This response is being enhanced to also list the Conflict Minerals classification of each component as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)-free, DRC undeterminable or Unknown. If the project is won, a more detailed analysis going beyond the limitations of the database tools can be performed, but this basic analysis opens the door to further discussion of Burton Industries’ engineering support capabilities.

For existing customers, a more detailed analysis can be performed as part of manufacturing or engineering services. The database tools are used initially, but Burton Industries’ team will take the additional step of determining the status of unknown components by obtaining additional information from the manufacturer and confirmation from any Burton Industries-chosen suppliers, such as PCB providers or custom device manufacturers. Recommendations for alternate sources will also be provided.

Additionally, this information will be incorporated into Design Compliance standards during the design engineering process. The process is similar to processes currently used to determine RoHS or other compliance standards.  The goal is to cost effectively assist customer’s meeting the compliance requirements that apply to their products.



Can Your Contractor Really Help Your Team Build Better Product?

Many companies assume that regional electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers are more focused on building product, than helping customers build it better. That couldn’t be farther from the truth at Burton Industries. Engineering strength is one of one of our key advantages. For over 35 years, our team has been telling customers to ‘bring it on.’ Here are few examples of the problems we’ve solved:

Cost Reduction teamcrop

Many of our customers face competitive cost pressure but have limited redesign options. Our team can help. For example, in one measurement device product line we were able to apply our value engineering skills and reduce the cost of three assemblies by 12, 14 and 16 percent, respectively. The cost savings was achieved through a combination of identifying drop-in replacements for several components and eliminating some manufacturing processes.

Failure Analysis

In another case, we helped a customer address a field return issue on a system controller. Our engineering team performed failure analysis on the field returns using an outside laboratory and found no issues with the components. Further analysis showed that the problem was in the customer’s documentation. On the same assembly, a customer-initiated ECO had changed a component in error and created performance issues in the assembly. Our team worked with the customer’s team to evaluate and re-layout the board. The re-layout of the board corrected the design issues and reduced unit cost by $7.87.


When a customer transferred an industrial product subassembly from another contract manufacturer, we found that design for manufacturability (DFM) analysis had never been performed. Not surprisingly, the product had a history of quality issues. Our analysis found incorrect land patterns and spacing, incorrect hole sizes, slot dimensions and locations that were missing. Components were also placed too close to the PCB edge.  We were able to re-layout the printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) to correct these issues.

Legacy Product

In yet another case, a medical OEM had a legacy product that needed redesign support. Our engineering team worked with customer’s engineering team to gradually convert the older PTH product to SMT, and provide DFM/DFT recommendations. The end result was more manufacturable product and improved component availability.

These are just a few of the many challenges our team solves on a day-to-day basis. We stand ready to provide a wide range of engineering support, including: design for manufacturability and test recommendations, smooth new product introductions, product lifecycle management recommendations, cost reduction suggestions and test strategy optimization.

Reducing Test Cost – Five Areas to Evaluate

Is product testing costing more than it should? That is one of the first questions test engineers at Burton Industries, Inc. ask when evaluating new projects. Printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) complexity, project volumes and defects per million opportunities (DPMO) estimates all factor into what tests should be required.  But here are five key areas to check in analyzing whether or not there may be opportunities for cost reduction:_FBP4942

  • Can a faster tester be used? Case in point, Burton Industries’ CCI automated functional test platform reduces typical functional test time from 5 minutes to under a minute, over older similar functional test platforms.
  • Can NRE be reduced through use of connector-based testing? The CCI functional tester can use either bed-of-nails fixtures or do connector-based testing, provided the PCBA design allows test access via the connector.
  • Has the product been evaluated for the best test and inspection strategy? Burton Industries’ team analyzes the right mix of inspection and test steps for each customer’s goals. The Company’s current inspection and test capability includes automated optical inspection (AOI), 2D x-ray inspection, a Checksum manufacturing defect analyzer (MDA) tester, in-circuit test, automated functional test and custom functional testing, providing a wide range of options in inspection and test step combinations.
  • Are test point accessibility issues driving higher cost? In-circuit testing can cut test costs in higher volume PCBA manufacturing when the PCBA is accessible enough to ensure good coverage, however, when that isn’t the case the solution is often greater levels of inspection or longer functional test cycles. Self-tests such as boundary scan testing can help improve test coverage in PCBAs with limited test point access. To achieve maximum benefits boundary scan cells need to be included on all pins.
  • Is there a final program, test, pack and ship station? Combining testing and programming can save some time over separate processes. Having that work cell also pack and ship the product enhances configuration management by minimizes the opportunity for mislabeling or mispackaging products that are configured to order.

The team at Burton Industries is focused producing products at the lowest possible costs and routinely evaluates these areas to better optimize test strategy.

Supporting Variable Demand: Four Key Areas to Analyze

525123-Global SMT Jun_Burton Industries Variable Demand_Page_1As systems have created better real-time visibility in terms of end market demand trends, and raw material availability and production status in the supply chain, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have reduced finished goods inventory levels. The upside of reduced inventory is faster inventory turns and reduction of the non value-added costs associated with excess inventory. However, the downside is that a supply chain interruption or unanticipated spike in demand could result in empty shelves. One strategy to avoid that is simply to require the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider to carry a finished goods Kanban. However, pushing the costs of excess inventory safety stock down to the supplier doesn’t truly eliminate the cost. A better strategy involves working with the EMS provider to create a system that provides the needed flexibility, but minimizes the non value-added costs associated with material or finished goods in an extended “wait state.”

At Burton Industries, we have a number of customers with highly variable demand. The four areas our team focuses on optimizing to support variability efficiently are:

  • Design for procurement (DFP)
  • Forecasting
  • Stocking programs
  • Production throughput.

Read our latest article in Global SMT & Packaging which goes into more detail on this topic: Supporting Variable Demand: Four Key Areas to Analyze here.