Parts for PA System Are Reshored Following Unauthorized Part Substitution on PCB   David Gaines


An American OEM in the audio electronics industry found out the hard way that quality is not always a given when dealing with some overseas contract manufacturers.  A Midwestern PCB assembly company, The Board Room, Inc., quickly stepped up to the plate to reconfigure the high-quality circuit boards after they were compromised by the supplier in Taiwan.  

The OEM markets public address (PA) systems for the audio electronics industry, a field that demands ultimate quality. When the marketing and distribution company received the PA system from the Chinese vendor, it wasn’t working properly. The company investigated the situation and determined that a potentiometer was causing the problem. Without notification to the OEM, the part was substituted on the circuit board with one that did not meet specifications.

“The OEM was a customer that had been doing a 5,000-piece order with us who decided to use an overseas vendor for the assembly work,” says Steve Miklos, a sales representative with The Board Room. “They had a very bad experience with the vendor, who substituted a part that they shouldn’t have, at least without checking on it first. It didn’t meet the specifications needed. So we ended up repairing that mistake, and then getting the work back from overseas. You can’t substitute these parts. The electronic potentiometer they used was a cheap, ineffective part. It had to be taken off of the board and replaced with the proper part.”

The Board Room (www.circad.com) is versed in PCB assembly, whether the work is based on the company’s design or is customer-supplied. The assembly company has been designing, engineering, and assembling circuit boards since it was founded in 1990.  It now operates out of a 10,000-square-foot facility in Romeoville, Illinois. The contract manufacturer started out as a circuit board maker, but it now sources the boards to local board houses. One of the companies is in Itasca, Illinois, and the other is also in the Chicago area.


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