Assembling a Winning Business


20 May 2004

Most electrical or electronic goods we buy have Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) inside. You can’t see them, but they could be the component you can hear rattling around in your favourite executive toy after they suddenly falter. With more serious applications, the failure of a PCB can be vital to the end user’s business and may result in a costly product recall for the manufacturer.

To ensure quality, the PCB must be well assembled. In today’s culture of outsourcing in manufacturing, this requires further confidence within the supply chain.

Most of the worlds electrical or electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) no longer assemble their own products at the component level, resulting in a rapidly growing, albeit fragmented, global contract equipment manufacturer (CEM) industry.

OEMs were faced with the problem of having to discriminate between these CEMs, who range from companies with highly capable automated processes for high-density electronics, to organisations struggling with the technological challenges.

The new Kitemark scheme from BSI Product Services, based on ANSI/IPC-A-610C "Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies", was launched to enable OEMs to easily assess the level of competence of prospective CEMs at a glance. The standard is already widely used in customers purchasing requirements and the Kitemark gives customers confidence that the finished assembly has been built in accordance with the requirements of ANSI/IPC-A-610C.

Although this scheme was only launched in November last year it has already generated enormous interest as Nick Mair of Hansatech UK explains.

Hansatech Limited was established in 1972 as a manufacturer of scientific instruments. Hansatech’s contract manufacturing activity soon became the dominant part of its business, leading to large investments in plant and equipment with a steadily growing and increasingly specialist workforce.

Hansatech now has operations in King’s Lynn, Poole and Cambridge each offering the company’s core services of prototype, small, medium and large volume manufacture of PCB’s and whole systems with a high level of engineering support and new product introduction.

Each plant boasts a high standard of process control, quality and workmanship, yet as the company extended its search for new business further afield, it needed to find a point of differentiation that could be instantly understood. Hansatech’s own evolved workmanship standards, albeit of a high standard, were not easily conveyed over distance and so after the retraining of staff the company adopted ANSI IPC 610 class 2 and 3. As an easily defined and internationally recognised standard it became easier to convince prospective customers of the benefits of trading with Hansatech.

Now as the first company in the world to receive the new BSI Kite mark for PCB assembly audited to IPC 610, Hansatech has an even more powerful means of assuring its customers - new and old alike - of a high level of service, quality and consistent workmanship standards.

For further information on this Kitemark scheme please contact Robert Hine at Product Services on Tel: 08450 765600 or email:


For more information please contact:

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330