Introducing the ERSA Versaflow 3/66

A revolutionary addition to our PCBA manufacturing equipment lineup.

The ERSA Versaflow 3/66, is more than just a machine – it’s a game-changer. Elevating our capabilities and introducing newfound flexibility and capacity for top-tier through-hole soldering, this exceptional equipment exemplifies our steadfast commitment to innovation. It reinforces our dedication to delivering electronic assemblies of the highest quality to our customers.

Dive deeper into the details by exploring the full article published in SMT Today through this link.


From schematic to Assembly Line: Ensuring success in Electronic Manufacturing Partnerships

One of the most significant challenges that electronic designers face when sending their PCBA or Enclosure designs to a contract manufacturer (CM) is ensuring a smooth and successful transition from the design phase to the manufacturing phase. This transition involves several potential pitfalls, and managing these challenges is crucial for a successful product launch. Here are some key considerations:

Communication and Collaboration:
Collaborative communication is vital to ensure that the CM understands the design requirements, specifications, and any specific considerations that could impact the final product. Contract manufacturers that have a robust “New Product Introduction Process” can reduce miscommunications resulting in a smoother transition.

Manufacturability Analysis:
It is not uncommon for designers to have limited insight into the intricacies involved in manufacturing their designs. Designs that are complex, use specialized components, or have tight tolerances may greatly benefit from a manufacturability review. By subjecting your design to a comprehensive manufacturability analysis, you can enhance manufacturing efficiency, boost product reliability, and take advantage of cost-effective production processes.

Component Availability and Supply Chain Issues:
The availability of components in the market can be a significant concern. PCBA designers need to ensure that the components used in the design are readily available and have a positive part lifecycle. Rapid changes in component availability or sudden shortages can disrupt production schedules, increase costs and lead to schedule delays.

Quality Control and Testing:
Maintaining consistent quality throughout the product lifecycle is of utmost importance. Partnering with a Contract Manufacturer that shares your quality standards and possesses the necessary systems and equipment ensures a harmonious alignment with your requirements. Developing clear test criteria and procedures helps identify and address potential issues before they impact the final product. Your CM’s team of Engineers can provide invaluable support in this area.

Cost Management:
Balancing cost and quality is a constant challenge. PCBA designers need to work closely with their manufacturing partner to optimize the design for cost-effective production without compromising product quality. Avoid unexpected cost overruns that can impact the overall profitability of your product by involving your CM early in the process.

Intellectual Property (IP) Protection:
Protecting intellectual property is a concern when working with external manufacturers. OEMs must establish clear agreements regarding the protection of their designs, technology, and proprietary information.

Regulatory Compliance:
Ensuring that the manufactured product complies with relevant industry regulations and standards is essential. Design engineers and manufacturers must work together to navigate the landscape to meet regulatory requirements.

Timeline and Production Scheduling:
Meeting project deadlines is essential for product launches and market competitiveness. Delays in manufacturing can result in missed market opportunities.

Addressing these challenges requires a strong partnership between the OEM and Contract Manufacturer. Open communication, focus on collaboration, and attention to details throughout the design and manufacturing process are essential. Early involvement of your manufacturing partner utilizing new product introduction processes and manufacturability evaluations will ensure you are off to the best possible start!

Enhancing Manufacturing Excellence through Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer surveys serve as a compass, to ensure we are meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

In the dynamic realm of manufacturing, the customer’s voice resonates profoundly. Altek believes in conducting regular customer satisfaction surveys and uses this information to guide our continuous improvement and innovation plans. These surveys serve as a compass, to ensure we are meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Customer satisfaction surveys offer an invaluable opportunity to glean direct insights into customer preferences, concerns, and overall satisfaction with our products and services. In the manufacturing landscape, this translates to refining product quality, streamlining processes, and enhancing service delivery. Moreover, this process demonstrates a commitment to customer-centricity, fostering stronger relationships and brand loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.

Well, the results are in. We are thankful for the positive feedback we received. Our commitment to continuous improvement shines through, and the overwhelming response from our customers participating in the survey underscores their engagement and satisfaction.

As we channel our efforts towards those areas identified for enhancement, we are fueled by the invaluable insights shared by our customers. Together, we embark on a journey to exceed expectations, ensuring that our products and services reflect the high standards our customers deserve.

Thank you to everyone who participated — your feedback is the driving force behind our pursuit of excellence!

Strategic PCB Design: Unveiling the Power of Conducting Manufacturability Analysis

When designing the layout of your product’s electronic circuit board, proper component placement is of paramount importance. Whether your company invests in DFM software or collaborates with a Contract Manufacturer (CM) that provides this service, adhering to best practices in board layout during the design phase is essential. In this write-up, we’ll explore how DFM and optimal component placement play a crucial role in mitigating PCB issues, reducing manufacturing costs, and enhancing the long-term success of your product.

Mitigating PCB Issues:

Less than ideal component placement can lead to a host of PCB and assembly issues, such as overheating, electrical shorts, signal interference and assembly defects. These unexpected problems during manufacturing can result in production delays and increased expenses. However, by conducting DFM analysis in the pre-production phase, you can uncover and address these design issues proactively, protecting the quality and reliability of your finished product. Investing in DFM analysis may incur an initial cost, but the benefits of avoiding production issues far outweigh the expense of the review.

Reducing Manufacturing Costs:

Suboptimal component placement can create unnecessary assembly manufacturing challenges, leading to increased labor costs and production delays. By considering DFM principles and ensuring proper component placement, you can streamline the manufacturing process and minimize labor-intensive tasks. This, in turn, translates into cost savings and a more efficient production cycle, benefiting your company’s bottom line.

Impact on Repair and Maintenance:

Your design choices can significantly impact the repair and maintenance processes of the product. If components are poorly placed and inaccessible during routine maintenance or repairs, it can result in longer downtime for your customers and increased costs for your company. To avoid these issues, engaging in open communication with your Contract Manufacturer is crucial. Discussing considerations like component accessibility during the design phase ensures that your product is not only well-designed but also easy to service, enhancing customer satisfaction and reducing long-term maintenance costs.

Strategic Decision for Long-Term Success:

Investing time and effort into proper component placement and DFM analysis during the design phase is a strategic decision that yields significant benefits in the long run. By proactively addressing potential issues, you can avoid production delays, reduce manufacturing costs, and enhance the overall reliability of your product. Partnering with a reliable Contract Manufacturer and engaging in thorough DFM analysis provides valuable insights that lead to a high-quality electronic circuit board, meeting performance expectations and surpassing customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, optimizing component placement through DFM analysis is vital for the success of your product. By uncovering and addressing design issues early on, you can avoid PCB problems, reduce manufacturing costs, and ensure customer satisfaction. Collaborating with a Contract Manufacturer that emphasizes DFM principles allows you to leverage their expertise and streamline the production process. A well-designed PCB not only ensures seamless production but also contributes to the long-term success of your product in the marketplace, solidifying your position as a reliable and innovative industry player.


Understanding both sides of the Buy/Sell Process

It would be nice if you could google an accurate PCB Assembly price. However, board specifications and manufacturing requirements differ, not to mention the volatile market conditions of COTS. Many self-service quote modules currently used on websites do a decent job on pricing the bare boards, however they fall short when pricing Turnkey assemblies.

Eventually, the gaps between what was quoted online and the actual PCBA manufacturing cost surface. This ultimately happens after the review of your Gerber files and Bill of Material. At this point you have invested a lot of time with less than a favorable result. What’s worse is that you may have already plugged these estimates into your product development plan requiring you to back track.

We believe the fit between two companies is the basis of a success relationship. Needs and processes are not always in alignment between customers and suppliers. Unfortunately, these are not always uncovered until after a project gets underway. This is not the best time to figure this out.

Making sure the OEM and the Contract Manufacturer are on the same page before embarking in the quote process is the start of a transparent relationship and ultimately saves time. Understanding the process from both the buyer and seller perspective up front, will make for a successful relationship that’s a win-win with long term success.

Highlighted below are the items Altek discusses when working with a prospective customer. Not only are these important conversations for Altek to have with its customers, but important points to consider when evaluation any Contract Manufacturer. Getting this information on the table helps determine the customer/supplier fit before proceeding with the quote process.


Valuable information to share:

• Product Life (new development, prototype only, full production, EOL)

• Overall volume, shipment/delivery needs, is Kanban part of the long-term requirement?

•Are you looking for full turnkey, consignment, or a partial consignment partner?

• Is lowest price always the deciding factor?

• What quality acceptance metrics are you receiving today? Where do you want to be?

• What are the on-time delivery metrics from your current supplier? Does this meet your needs?

• What type of Engineering support are you currently receiving, and do you need more?

• Do you need DFM support for new product designs?

• How important is the physical distance from your Contract Manufacturer to your facility?

• Are you looking for an additional supplier or replacing a current one?

• What “voids” do you need filled?

• Is this part of reshoring your business to secure your supply chain?

Information to ask of a prospective supplier:

• What are the most valuable things your company brings to the table?

• Request references and check them.

• Ask for the suppliers 12-month rolling average for On-Time-Delivery and Quality Acceptance rates.

• Check the manufacturers financial stability.

• What is your Business Continuity – Disaster Recovery plan?

• What is your supply chain management process?

• What certifications does your company have?

• Share your companies QMS process/program.

• How long have your key customers been with you?

These items are important pieces of the Total cost of ownership evaluation process of a new supplier. This information exchange process works, and it will allow you to eliminate sub-standard suppliers before starting the bid cycle. None of us have time to waste as referenced by Benjamin Franklin quote…“Remember time is money”!

You can read more about Total Cost of Acquisition at the link below:

Terry Weiner, Senior Consultant, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) states that – “Traditional costing methods such as Purchase Price Variance (PPV) typically miss between 20 to 40 percent of the actual costs of acquisition.”

Learn more about Altek:

The Challenge of 2022

During our recent customer survey, we asked our customers about their biggest challenges in 2022.  With a resounding “parts obsolescence and growing lead times”, components availability is on center stage.   We know this time has not been easy for OEM’s or PCB Assembly houses, and we wanted to see how our customers think we’re responding to the challenge.

Here’s what they say:

  • • Altek proactively looks for lead-time and obsolescence issues and brings them to light avoiding multiple issues. Its appreciated.
    • No problems. We work good together to get the parts needed for the work.
    • Altek team is very supportive and an excellent partner/supplier.
    • Altek works very hard to meet our dates. Sometimes it is beyond our control, its the same for everyone.

We understand this is a global effect; however, we hold our selves accountable to find parts and work with our customer/partners to keep product flowing.  We owe a lot of this positive feedback to our buyers and other team members who have been doing a fantastic job!

Read more of our customer comments…

Customer Testimonials

Who we are in about a minute!

These days no one has the time to dig through a company’s website looking to see if they “provide the service I need”. Altek thought it would be fun to say as much as possible in a very short period of time. Who we are, what we do, equipment we have, and our customers! Do you have just a minute?
Check our our video

Made in America Episode featuring Altek Electronics

Click here to watch the full interview.

Sabrina Beck, VP of Altek Electronics is featured in this months episode of Made in America hosted by Ari Santiago. She shares the history of the business, how she became involved and where Altek is headed. This interview is packed with information that gives you an understanding of Altek as a company, our commitment to quality and vision into the future.

Altek Electronics Partners with Hartford HealthCare’s Business to Business Vaccination Outreach Program

May 18, 2021 – Altek Electronics in Torrington recently partnered with Hartford HealthCare’s Business-to-Business Vaccination Outreach Program to hold a company clinic to provide convenient onsite vaccinations to their employees and family members.

A team from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital — including nurses, a physician, registrar and paramedic — were on hand on Thursday, May 13, to provide 22 vaccinations, increasing the company’s vaccination rate to 70 percent. Some employees also brought their spouses and young adult children. All were given a choice of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We were looking for an opportunity to offer the vaccine and the HHC program was the perfect fit.” said Altek Human Resources Manager Michelle Hatteyer. “It’s so wonderful to keep the momentum going with our state vaccination program and this is one of the best and easiest ways to get this accomplished.” added Dr. Stephanie Fowler.


Sabrina Beck – 65th President of the Smaller Manufacturer Association BOD


SMA Annual Meeting ~ May 10, 2021 ~ President’s Remarks


“The Future Looks Bright”

A special thank you to Ron Turmel for continuing to serve as President during the Pandemic.  With so many things changing, it was nice to have some continuity.

Thanks also to Cyndi Zoldy for continuing to work with us through the transition to a new Executive Director.

Welcome Heather—you’ve hit the ground running and we know you’ll do a terrific job as the SMA’s new Executive Director.

While last year brought many of us unique challenges, from a decline in business to new safety measures and work procedures; as a group, we manufacturers demonstrated ingenuity, perseverance, and adaptability.  From auto makers manufacturing ventilators to distilleries making hand sanitizer, and medical manufacturers producing millions of doses of vaccine, bottles, and syringes, our industry solved crucial problems in record speed.  There are so many reasons to believe…to know…our future looks bright.

The pandemic and other current events exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains, underscoring the economic and national security benefits of a strong US-based manufacturing sector.

A strong domestic manufacturing base can help drive innovation and growth, creating higher paying jobs.

The digital-industrial revolution is changing the way we conduct business, eroding the financial advantages of outsourcing to low wage countries.  As companies adopt AI, harnessing data to increase efficiencies, customers will enjoy the advantages of working with local suppliers at competitive prices.

For these reasons, our future looks bright.

How can our member companies take advantage of these new opportunities?  What are the obstacles we must overcome and how can the SMA help?

1) Let’s talk about Workforce

a.  35% of CT’s workforce is 55 and older.  When the waves of the Silver Tsunami subside, decades of experience and tribal knowledge will have been washed out to sea (on cruise ships), leaving some companies struggling to stay afloat.

b.  As manufacturing still has the negative connotation of a dark and dirty place to work, public relations campaigns are needed to attract our youth into this sector.

c.  Adults who are struggling to make ends meet on part-time service-sector wages, and those who are looking to start a second career, need training and education to fill the jobs in our factories.

The SMA will build upon the excellent work Cyndi Zoldy and past Presidents and board members have done to facilitate collaboration with local trade schools, community colleges, and post-secondary educational institutions, such as the Manufacturing Alliance Training Center, or MASC, to provide a pipeline of skilled workers to our doors.

2) Another crucial topic is Legislative Issues

a.  During last week’s legislative session in Hartford, the Apprenticeship Tax Credit didn’t make it out of the finance committee.

b.  There is momentum building to increase the Capital Gains tax rate on a State and Federal basis.

c.  Legalization of recreational use of marijuana has a 50% chance of passing.

d.  4.6 million manufacturing jobs are at risk of going unfilled nationally in the next 10 years.

For these reasons and many others, it’s imperative for manufacturers to have a strong voice in Hartford and Washington.  The SMA will maintain its membership with CT’s Manufacturing Collaborative which provides our members with a lobbyist and a coalition of other manufacturing organizations who together represent our interests with one loud voice.

3) What the SMA does best, is bring value to members

a.  Networking with SMA members provides opportunities to make new business connections, gain knowledge, and solve business problems.

b.  SMA scholarships help students of member companies achieve their educational goals.

c.  Awards and recognitions support teachers and their students.

d.  Lobbying in Hartford promotes the interests of members companies.

e.  Collaborating with other manufacturing organizations provides broader access to knowledge, ideas, best practices, and political leverage.

f.  Increasing membership will enhance the value for all members.

For these reasons and many others, I’m excited and honored to serve in the capacity of President of the SMA and will work closely with Heather and the board of directors to continue the good things that the SMA has been doing for our community since 1949.  Working together, our future will be bright!