SMTA International Conference Proceedings


LOW COST COMPUTING FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS ELECTRONICS CONTRACT MANUFACTURER

Author: Romeo Asuncion
Company: Qual-Pro Corporation
Date Published: 9/21/2003   Conference: SMTA International


Abstract: For the small business electronics contract manufacturer (ECM), providing high quality services while maintaining low costs is the key to success. ECM's benefit by using the latest surface mount technologies and integrating it into an information infrastructure that is powered by inexpensive x86 hardware running Linux, a free and open source operating system. High-speed surface mount technology (SMT) machines are networked to facilitate programming, transfer of pick & place programs and component libraries, and scheduled backups.

Simple to use web-based programs are made available to SMT work centers to transfer pick & place programs between SMT machines and file server and to convert and filter a bill of materials (BOM) into a format for use in a computer-aided design (CAD) program. Additional web-centric applications are used to perform a variety of tasks associated with managing and organizing product specific documents such as gerbers, BOM’s, drawings, pictures, assembly instructions, engineering change orders (ECO’s), pick & place programs, quotes, and correspondence.

Computers in manufacturing is nothing new, but for the small business, use of x86 hardware running Linux can be a huge savings in costs. Linux has proven to be a very stable, secure, and reliable operating system, and creating web-based applications allows for rapid deployment. The initial cost of using Linux is overcoming a steep learning curve, but the benefits can mean access to many existing free or inexpensive software. The types of available software include report processing via Perl modules, databases, web servers, mail servers, security, common internet file system servers, and many more.

This paper details the use of Linux in an electronics contract manufacturing company from gateway to file server to individual workstations and everything in between.

Key words: Linux, x86, contract manufacturer.



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