Absolute EMS Is a Force in the Medical Device Manufacturing Industry

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Absolute EMS is a leader in offering manufacturing services in a state-of-the-art, high-technology EMS facility. Founded in 1996, the company originally serviced the medical industry, thus their focus on controlled manufacturing that is scalable and repeatable. The Absolute EMS focused verticals are Medical, Military, Industrial, Networking, and Engineering. We recently caught up with Doug Dow, COO, to find out more about the company’s presence in the medical vertical and how it is changing to remain successful.

Can you please tell our readers about your company’s involvement in the medical device manufacturingindustry?  

Absolute EMS has been in business for 25 years, and our original focus was medical device manufacturing. Throughout our growth we have stayed true to our roots, maintaining a significant amount of medical business in the organization. Our original medical customers have been with us for more than 15 years. Thus, our commitment to manufacturing excellence and ISO 13485; along with AS9100D and IS0 9001.  

In your experience, do you think working with medicaldevice technology is more stringent than other industries?  

Yes, the requirements are more stringent. Much of this has to do with traceability, which we have built into our systems. Absolute EMS has the ability to automatically trace date codeand lot code down to the serial numbers on each PCBA while storing and saving the corresponding images for solder paste inspection (SPI), automatic optical inspection (AOI) and 3D-X-ray (lamonigraphy).  At the end of the run we can drop the entire package of the specific lot history to the customer. And it is automated. Most organizations are not allowed this luxury; however, our equipment sets are new, sophisticated, and designed for tomorrow’s technology.

What type of changes are you seeing in the medical device industry due to the effects of COVID-19? How will the pandemic change the face of Medical Device Manufacturing?  

We are seeing the industry change to Consumer Medical as we call it. This is high-volume medical product designed for today’s consumer. While we maintain our roots in OEM medical devices, we also manufacture devices that are sold on Amazon and in stores such as CVS. Today’s consumer wants to walk into a store or go online and easily access their own COVID testing device and more. We support this industry initiative.  

Has Absolute EMS experienced a surge in the demand for medical devices?

We definitely have seen a surge in both medical industrial and medical consumer product. The interesting shift in US manufacturing is a stronger desire from the OEMs to keep their manufacturing onshore. This is due to IP protection,higher transport costs, tariff costs, ease of managing the program, and time to market. The equipment set at Absolute EMS has the capability of placing micro components at the speed of 80k chip placements per hour. A full panel of 10 each SMT assemblies, top and bottom, takes our equipment set 30 seconds, allowing us to help customers keep products in the United States longer with competitive pricing.

As the global market for medical device manufacturers increases, do you see supply chain and material issues becoming more widespread and longer lasting?  

The material supply chain currently remains the critical focus for the industry. As the foundries open up more capacity, this eventually will ease; however, we are not expecting to see relief until mid-2022 at the earliest.

Medical device manufacturing can be highly specialized. Do you find it difficult to balance medical manufacturing work while still serving other industries? Would you consider Absolute EMS vertically integrated?

For Absolute EMS, it is not a difficult balance between medical manufacturing and our other focused verticals. We do not find this to be a challenge because our processes are written around medical and military standards such as ISO 13485, and AS 9100D. We are vertically integrated with turnkey assembly, testing, system integration and conformal coating.