Pennatronics: A Center for Manufacturing Excellence
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Pennatronics: A Center for Manufacturing Excellence

David M. Spehar, Jr. Vice President, Operations, PennatronicsDavid M. Spehar Jr., Vice President, Operations
High quality, low price, and on-time delivery are three significant aspects that every customer wants when they look for printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) services. Pennatronics, an Electronics Manufacturing Services provider meets these criteria for its customers by offering highly trained team members managing a complex process utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. The contract manufacturing industry is very competitive and the way Pennatronics differentiates itself from its competitors is its laser-focus approach toward customers and exceeding their expectations. The electronics manufacturing services provider continuously invests in people and equipment to stay on top of the ever-changing industry. “Keeping up with what’s going on in the industry and making sure that we have the necessary equipment and trained company members to manufacture products and develop quality processes is critical for our customers,” remarks Dave Spehar, Jr., Vice President of Operations at Pennatronics.

The company is committed to adhering to industry standards and controlling internal processes to ensure every aspect of its operation is focused on the customer “experiencing excellence.” Pennatronics is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified and is one of the few contract manufacturers in the U.S. that has a 10CFR50 Appendix B compliant program, which allows the company to manufacture circuit boards and sub-assemblies for use in the safety systems of nuclear power plants.

Manufacturing PCBAs can involve the cleaning of PCBs, and Pennatronics took up this project and proved its in-depth knowledge from an engineering and process perspective. One of its customers that require high-reliability products approached Pennatronics to develop a process for cleaning their PCBs, as they offer a 20-year warranty on their product.

Pennatronics purchased an in-line cleaner and established a process for cleaning the circuit boards. They worked closely with their customer to agree upon a process that provided them with long-term reliability confidence. This enabled them go ahead with their warranty clause without any apprehensions. They are now one of the leaders in the industry for cleaning PCBAs.

To consistently provide the laser-focused approach for its customers, Pennatronics assigns a program manager and a program engineer to handle the commercial and technical needs of its customers. The program manager addresses the clients’ commercial aspects such as customer service, purchasing of parts, the cost involved, material lead times and other aspects related to the customers’ products. In addition, the program engineer creates the necessary instructions for all of the manufacturing processes, taking into consideration all the quality requirements and other aspects from a technical perspective. Spehar says, “It’s very clear who has responsibility for the many action items required for a New Product Introduction.”

Pennatronics has extended its manufacturing capabilities beyond PCB assembly by adding electro-mechanical box build to its portfolio. 15 years ago, 95 percent of Pennatronics’ products were based around PCB assembly and currently, the ratio of PCB assembly to electromechanical box build is 65/35. Today, it assembles PCBs, adding capabilities of electro-mechanical box build, design engineering, functional test design, and customer repairs management. The next logical step in our growth was to add electro-mechanical box build capabilities in tune with the needs of our customers,” says Spehar.

Since its establishment almost two decades ago, Pennatronics sees itself as a customers’ manufacturing partner. The company takes pride in its vast majority of customers that have been with them for the lifespan of the company. The genesis, Spehar recalls, started with a company that wanted to assemble six varied products, “they dropped off everything on our dock in a bushel basket”. Pennatronics created the manufacturing instructions for them, established a robust manufacturing process, assembled the six products, and shipped them directly to the customer’s customer. 18 years later, that customer is one of the company’s largest and loyal partners.

Moving forward, Pennatronics continues to invest in its facilities, people, and equipment. “We expanded our footprint by 55 percent last year, adding 25,000 sq. feet to our existing 45,000 sq. feet facility to address the expected growth of the PCBA and electro-mechanical box build business,” concludes Spehar.