Outsourcing Complex/Challenging Equipment Builds

Created 2 years ago

Advanced Semiconductor Production Fab Cleanroom

Considering outsourcing the repeat build of complex, difficult to manufacture equipment?

Are you an OEM supplier of equipment, or require multiple builds of machinery for use in your own factories?  Whatever the situation, it’s likely your internal resources are already stretched too thin – that’s why you’re exploring outsourcing. Wouldn’t it be great if you could rely on your manufacturing partner to step in, fill in the gaps, and drive your project to success?

Start with Your Documentation Package

If you need to subcontract legacy equipment, or maybe a new design, there’s something you need to consider before you begin your search for a contract manufacturer:

Your documentation may not be perfect.

Chances are your documentation package may require attention to elevate it to an acceptable standard. This can include:

CAD Model

  • New design – how detailed is the CAD model? Is it complete?
  • Legacy design – is the CAD model current with design updates?

Bill-of-Materials (don’t forget fasteners!)

  • New design – does the BOM need to be completed and/or verified?
  • Legacy design – are there part obsolescence issues? Does the BOM reflect the current design revision?

2D Drawings

  • New design – have 2D drawings been created and include tolerancing, material call out, surface finish?
  • Legacy design – have the drawings been updated with redlines and “as-builts?” Have manually redlined drawings been put into CAD?

Work/assembly Instructions (if necessary)

  • New design – do they exist? Have they been tested with a build?
  • Legacy design – do WIs match what is executed on the shop floor?

Test Procedures

  • New design – has testing been documented, including test equipment?
  • Legacy design – will you be providing test stands to your manufacturing partner? Will more test equipment need to be built?

Validation Requirements

  • New design – what will you provide and what will the manufacturer provide as far as turn over documentation?
  • Legacy design – have you provided the manufacturer with documents they are expected to execute and produce?


  • New design – will you be providing tooling and/or tooling to the contract manufacturer?
  • Legacy design – do you have or own the tooling and tooling documentation?

Packaging Considerations

  • New design – has a packaging design been formalized?
  • Legacy design – is the packaging custom? Will it need to be produced internally or purchased?

Issues that Fall Under the “Tribal Knowledge” Category

  • New design – hopefully, this is not an issue.
  • Legacy design – potentially a significant issue.
    • Undocumented techniques, procedures, or tools.
    • Knowledge lost due to retirement or job transfer.
    • Supplier instruction that has not been documented.

It may make sense to leverage your contract manufacturers engineering resources to improve or complete your existing documentation. Funds spent on Non-recurring Engineering (NRE) can pay big dividends during the production phase of your program. It can also be beneficial to contact your manufacturing partner to do a DFM analysis on your existing design. Again, the NRE invested in this activity can produce measurable savings over the course of the program.

Finding the Right Manufacturing Partner

A reputable manufacturing partner will have the resources and experience to help you from whatever level of completion you are starting from and fill in the gaps, as necessary. Is engineering required to complete, modify or upgrade your design? Is prototyping or a pilot build required? Are you struggling with obsolescence or supply chain issues?

Contact Keller Technology today to see why so many OEM equipment suppliers partner with us and how we can be the solution to your outsourcing problem.

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