Overseas manufacturers often use cheap or counterfeit parts. These parts can have a negative impact on the quality of printed circuit boards produced. In addition to the possibility of poor quality products, overseas production can leave those in the aerospace industry vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, political unrest and intentional trade restrictions.
Currently, The United States is fighting to remain a leader in the aerospace industry. China, Russia, France and Japan are all pouring billions of dollars into aerospace research and development to compete with the United States. Maintaining high quality aerospace parts is extremely important to America’s continued success in the industry.
Although outsourcing to other countries may be beneficial at times, it can also lead to defective products and hidden costs. There are many reasons why aerospace PCB design and production should be kept in the United States; let’s look at the top five.
When you outsource printed circuit board production to overseas manufacturers, it’s impossible to know the type of quality you will receive. U.S. companies, like ACDi, have strict quality control programs in place to ensure high quality PCBs every time. Poorly designed or produced boards from overseas will not work properly and might stop working suddenly. This can cost a considerable amount of money on repairs and replacements and cause a safety hazard.
2. Avoid Intellectual Property Theft
Unfortunately, laws regarding American copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets do not apply in foreign countries. Anytime you use offshore manufacturing you run the risk of having your design stolen, and it is extremely difficult to defend intellectual property (IP) piracy overseas. On average, U.S. firms lose $1 for every $3 gained due to stolen IP when they don’t use American manufacturers. IP theft also creates a ripple effect that causes not only the loss of the actual product, but the money needed to replace it and the time it takes to start over.
All products with 510(k) approval must not only meet the FDA clearance in Customs but also the Bureau of Customs & Border Protection standards. This can create delays of 4 to 8 weeks. When you are dealing with overseas companies, getting an issue resolved is often restricted and delayed by time zones, and can take a week or more to resolve something that could be resolved in just days with a US-based company.
4. Reduce Costs
Many businesses turn to overseas manufacturing to reduce costs. However, there are several additional costs involved with outsourcing to another country. Other costs that should be considered include freight, inventory, market volatility affecting wages and exchange rates, travel expenses, vendor selection and pre-payment requirements.
ACDi designs and produces high-quality aerospace PCBs at our factories in Maryland and North Carolina. We are AS9100C certified to meet the high-level quality needs of the DoD, NASA, FAA and other leading aerospace providers. ACDi is devoted to upholding the highest standards when manufacturing aerospace-related products.
5. Avoid Communication Barriers
Communication barriers are common when dealing with a foreign country. This can be a big problem if you aren’t able to properly discuss expectations, strategies and controls. Making a small design change and having it interpreted incorrectly can create major delays and become very costly over time. Even hiring a translator can cost a lot of money and does not ensure accuracy.