Less than 20 years ago, in 2000, the printed circuit board industry in the United States stood at $12 billion, with more than 1,100 manufacturers nationwide. Today the industry stands at only $3 billion and has fewer than 250 manufacturers in the U.S. You may wonder what happened. But the bigger question is, with fewer and fewer suppliers to choose from, who do you work with?
A good starting point for deciding who to entrust with your business is a company’s reputation. How do you learn the truth about a manufacturer? You could garner an opinion from a supplier or perhaps a friendly competitor. Better than getting someone else’s subjective opinion, however, you could research the facts for yourself. Before you put your faith in a company, look into its track record.
APCT’s President/CEO, Steve Robinson, brings over 48 years of experience in the printed circuit board industry. He has led small independent companies, as well as ascended to the VP of global operations of the biggest publicly held company in the industry. Since buying APCT in 2008, Steve has surrounded himself with a management team that averages 40 years in the business! Read about our team and see how their experience stacks up.
APCT’s business model includes a wide range of customers, not just Tier 1 accounts. We hold the philosophy that “you never know.” We treat every customer with equal respect, care, and attention, regardless of the size of the account, because you never know what that start-up will become. Ask any of the 400+ active customers of APCT for a reference.
To be a true partner, to be trustworthy, a company must be able to meet the needs of its customers. Just take a look at our website and you’ll see that APCT can support the most advanced technology. We support rigid work, through-hole, and HDI. We support flex and rigid-flex work and bookbinder technology. We support the defense and aerospace industry, with complete certifications that allow us to do business with Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Kaman. Check with our customers about our capabilities.
The employees of APCT are the differentiators. Companies may have the same equipment and capabilities, but it’s the people who set a company apart. Our employees are the ones who create the systems that enable us to produce a highly reliable product on time. For us at APCT, it’s not just business; it’s personal. Follow our staff members on social media. See what they think of our work culture and environment.
A solid reputation is a tremendous start to giving credence to a company. Investigating upper management and their experience builds trust. Longevity in the industry builds trust. Factual evidence from objective third parties builds trust. Understanding the culture and environment of the workplace builds trust. Yet, in the end, you have to decide to take a chance with a company and place the order. At APCT, we welcome the opportunity to stand behind our excellent reputation, to execute at the highest of levels, and, in turn, earn your trust.
Let’s leap to success together in the new year.
Happy Holidays To All & Thank You For Making It Such A Great Year
You may think that this month’s topic is about quick-turn-PCB and the support of our customer’s needs; however, the topic is about TRUST! We have spoken often about the term “customer/supplier relationship” and how APCT strives to mold that unemotional phrase into “a true partnership.” Supporting a customer who needs quick turn consistency is a huge responsibility. Customers can’t afford a supplier who pushes out lead times depending on their capacity to produce. You need a reliable partner who plans ahead and puts to use its resources of equipment and personnel to assure it has the capacity to fulfill orders on a consistent basis.
We serve our customers with extraordinary lead times to enable them to beat their competition to market.
When it comes to producing printed circuit boards, APCT is determined to be the best — the best at implementing a cutting-edge design, the best at manufacturing reliable boards, the best at building lasting customer relationships. We want to beat the competition to market. And we are succeeding. How?
A lot goes into being the best manufacturer in the industry, from precision and quality to cost, and the people behind the production process. And to stand out above the rest, we deliver consistently quick lead times. We use state-of-the-art equipment and streamlined systems to engineer your product fast. We know that the time between receiving your order and shipping it matters to your business.
Our speedy delivery is the result of carefully synchronized production processes, and it also has to do with our production “culture.” Not only do we have highly qualified personnel, our staff is committed to building quality products … fast. They have an attitude of both can-do and will-do.
Consistency in quick lead time offerings is critical in planning the strategies to beat the competition to market.
We understand that you need to be able to count on us to complete your order, so you can meet your own production schedule. At APCT, we pride ourselves on our short lead times. We want to move along your product because we are dedicated to supporting your success. We want you to stand out at the top of your industry too.
To retain our reputation as the printed circuit board manufacturer with the shortest turnaround, we have to provide on-time deliverables every time, not just when it works for our schedule. Our commitment goes beyond a simple customer/supplier relationship. We are team players who work with you.
APCT strives to build true partnerships with our customers. We believe that for a long-lasting relationship, the bottom line is trust. A trusting partnership builds over time, through products that you can rely on to perform over and over and a supplier who does what it promises.
When your needs are critical, and you want someone you can count on, APCT delivers.
All our efforts, all our systems, are geared to achieve just that. We know that it’s about delivering a reliable product, on time, consistently. The APCT culture is dedicated to serving our customers’ needs. At APCT, we put our best foot forward to earn your trust. Give us an opportunity to show you what we can do.
This month we hope to see you at PCB West, Silicon Valley’s largest trade show and exhibition of printed circuit boards. The entire industry gathers, including all the competition. Rows upon rows of companies show their wares to potential customers, consumers who are trying to find answers to solve their difficult problems.
As people file past vendors hoping that the answer they’re looking for will jump out at them, exhibitors proudly display examples of their product. The message is, “We’re the best, the fastest, the greatest.” Shiny new products will be on display. You’ll pick up a pamphlet or two describing a list of equipment and capabilities. But how do you choose?
Honestly, we all have more or less the same equipment to address your needs. What makes one manufacturer better than the rest? What’s the real secret to success? The answer is simple: it’s the people.
At APCT, we know that it is the dedicated personnel behind our product that are responsible for our success. At APCT, people are the differentiators! You rarely hear manufacturers credit the team behind their product. But at APCT, we like to brag about our people.
We welcome visitors to tour our facilities. We are proud to show you our products and manufacturing system, so you see for yourself how APCT is a cut above the rest. Let us take you into the conference room. We are happy to explain business models and total spend, but more importantly, we want you to meet our team. We want you to talk face to face with the committed people who every day create and think and follow through to make the best possible product for you — on time and on budget. These people are APCT.
Simply said, APCT is different. We are team players who build products with passion, commitment, and trust. It’s common to see one of our members create a system and help colleagues understand it inside and out. This way they audit the very system they created to confirm that the process is as efficient as possible, that it’s continuously improving, and that the final product is always reliable. The APCT personnel are an extraordinary group of people.
Great products are not about slick words or big booths at trade shows. Reliable products that you can trust to perform over and over are the result of exceptional people. At APCT, we’re building products others don’t want to build, and we’re building those products faster than anyone in the world. That’s a pretty bold statement, to be sure. But come see for yourself. See how we truly are different. Meet the people that make APCT stand above the rest.
Cirtech, A Division of APCT, is a proud manufacturer of printed circuit boards, supporting Advanced Rigid Technology to cutting-edge Rigid Flex Technology and supporting the Military Commercial PCB Marketplaces.
Acquired by APCT in January 2018, Cirtech is now part of the largest privately owned printed circuit board manufacturer in North America. As an APCT division, Cirtech has been infused with over $3M in equipment & personnel upgrades; enhancing capabilities, while improving operational efficiencies and reducing cycle times.
APCT understands the constant evolution of technology. And with that evolution, comes the demand from the industry to be able to support new designs. In the spirit of “continuous improvement, innovation, and cost-effective solutions,” APCT is proud to support its customer’s wishes for the next generation of technology and the vision to say “YES” to what their customers need. With that said, we gladly add to the expression “Broad Range of Technology” with the ability to manufacture Flex and Rigid/Flex products. The strategy of being able to say “yes” was a critical piece in the thinking to acquire Cirtech.
In that same vein, another puzzle piece missing was the ability to supply to the Military market. The acquisition of Cirtech was again the answer.
Defense & Aerospace manufacturing is a demanding market segment with an enormous emphasis on the protection of intellectual property and the validation and preservation of product integrity. APCT takes this responsibility very seriously, as it strives to put the proper systems in place to repeat and maintain the complex requirements of the Federal Government and the Defense & Aerospace industry at large. With the acquisition of Cirtech, APCT now possesses the appropriate certifications necessary to build Military products; and just as important, reinvests its resources in equipment and personnel to achieve constant improvement in both operational efficiencies and reducing cycle times.
ISO 9001 Certified
IPC 6012 Class III
Achieving these certifications not only allow us to manufacture high technology products for the Defense & Aerospace market, but it also shows that we are committed to continuously improving our PCB technology for all our customers. These certification confirms our pledge to provide the Military and Commercial marketplaces with maximum flexibility and a broad range of technologies to choose from.
What remains true is that the people are the difference makers. They are the ones that who achieve creating, maintaining and auditing systems that allow the plant to focus on high reliability and high-performance product critical to the extreme environmental tolerances required for these industries. Our people are the ones who give APCT the opportunity to offer the following technologies and quantities.
Rigid Technology Standard: 2 – 28 Layers
Advanced: 30 – 38 Layers
Development: 40 plus Layers
Flex Technology Standard: 2 – 6 Layers
Advanced: 8 – 10 Layers
Development: 12 plus Layers
Rigid Flex Technology Standard: 4 – 14 Layers
Advanced: 16 – 24 Layers
Development: 26 plus Layers
HDI Technology Lam Cycles: 4x
Micro BGA Pitch: .5 mm (Micro Via)
QUANTITIES From Prototypes to Full-Scale Production Orders
Why would you choose to manufacture your printed circuit boards outside the United States? If you’re like most companies who go with offshore production, you’re looking for a better price. Unfortunately, saving money can mean sacrificing on-time delivery and reliable quality, and that costs you more in the end. To reap the cost benefits of overseas manufacturing, you need a partner who knows the ropes. That’s where the expertise of the APCT Global team shines. At APCT Global, we handle the hard stuff:
APCT Global eliminates all the headaches, delays, and logistic challenges that come with managing global procurement. We don’t just connect you with offshore manufacturers, APCT Global manages the entire operation.
Successful offshore manufacturing begins with nurturing reliable partnerships, and at APCT we are very vigilant about qualifying who we work with. All our manufacturers must pass strict standards, including financial strength, in-house processes, and consistent quality and on-time delivery. Not only do our partners have the capability of delivering high-volume orders at very cost-effective pricing, they share our business philosophies of serving our customers with a quality-first approach, cutting-edge technology, and lead-time expertise.
We’ve made a point of partnering with facilities that meet the technology needs of our customers.
We have business partners that specialize in standard, through-hole technology work, such as 2-layer to 10-layer boards. We have partners who specialize in advanced, HDI multiple lam cycle technology work, such as 38-layer 7 lam cycle work. Based on volume, lead time, technology, and pricing, APCT matches the needs of our customers with the strengths of the appropriate business partner offshore.
APCT Global has developed strong partnerships in five major regions of Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Northern and Southern China, and Vietnam. Below is a description of their capabilities:
Our Tokyo-based partners offer advanced technologies (HDI) with lead times ranging from 5 – 8 weeks. Our Japanese partners offer additional capacity to our HDI domestic manufacturing. APCT has a long history of multi-lamination builds with partners here, demonstrating consistent quality and delivery.
Technology ranges are as follows:
Our partners in Taiwan offer a broad range of technologies and lead times. These partners offer a more competitive pricing in comparison to standard domestic cost structures, while maintaining consistently high quality.
Technology ranges are as follows:
Our Northern China partners offer standard technologies with lead times ranging from 3 – 6 weeks.
Technology ranges are as follows:
Our Southern China partners offer standard to advanced technologies with lead times ranging from 3 – 8 weeks. A wide range of material sets are offered in this region, including standard FR4 and specialty laminates such as Isola’s I-Speed series, Rogers’ 4000 series and Panasonic’s Megtron series.
Technology ranges are as follows:
Our Vietnamese partners offer standard to advanced technologies with lead times ranging from 3 – 6 weeks. A wide range of material sets are offered in this region, including standard FR4 and specialty laminates such as TUC, Panasonic, Rogers, and Arlon series.
Technology ranges are as follows:
Through the APCT Global model, APCT can continue to offer our trusted customer service and our engineering expertise, while substantially lowering your cost. The advantages of the model are founded on four principles:
Advantage 1: ease of use
Whether you choose to produce with APCT domestically or offshore, all your contacts remain the same. You continue working with your current outside sales rep, inside customer service rep, and the engineering and technical support group you have come to know. APCT interacts with our offshore partners on your behalf, coordinating price and delivery schedules and inspecting the product prior to your acceptance. This saves you a lot of hassle, as well as time and overhead costs.
Advantage 2: seamless recipe transfer
At APCT our core competency is detailed engineering support, enabling superior execution. We take the time to hone your design and confirm that the board is the most reliable and the most robust to manufacture, making it also the most cost effective. That effort is not lost when placing an order offshore. After full review, our staff work directly with our supplier’s engineering team. We utilize our integrated Valor Genesis System to transfer the product recipe, eliminating any potential shift from specifications. You can be confident that the NPI build will be transferred seamlessly to the production build.
Advantage 3: inventory management
If you’re concerned about accepting an entire order at once, APCT can warehouse your order and drop-ship to customers. And, because our warehouses are strategically located — one on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, and one in Austin, Texas — we are able to offer one-day shipping at a very reasonable cost. But if you prefer shipments from our Asian partners go directly to your Asian assembly house, APCT can set up those schedules as well. In addition, APCT Global also can manage your inventory, using Kanban and VMI techniques. You only pay for the product you need. In short, APCT saves you time and overhead costs by managing your offshore supply chain.
Advantage 4: risk mitigation
At APCT we receive all deliveries from our offshore partners at our domestic facilities where each product is electrically tested and visually inspected. After passing inspection, the circuit boards are then certified that they have met both APCT standards and the precise customer specifications. If the order is ever short due to a disruption in the supply chain, we build the product domestically until our offshore supplier is back online. Because APCT is a brick and mortar company set up to manufacture at world-class lead times, and not a broker, the ability to build the product quickly and deliver is a critical component in understanding true risk mitigation.
The APCT Global model of printed circuit board manufacturing ensures you get reliable quality and on-time delivery — every time. Who better to manage your offshore programs than PCB experts? APCT eliminates all the headaches, delays, and logistic challenges that come with managing global procurement. Let us build you a solution!
When it comes to manufacturing printed circuit boards and design for manufacturability- DFM, you want a company with precision equipment, reliable systems to consistently produce a quality product and on-time delivery numbers that are always high. But these characteristics are not enough! It’s indeed the people that are the differentiators. People run the equipment; people create the systems; people build long-lasting relationships. To produce a win-win between customer and supplier we work hard to establish long-term relationships. And how is that achieved? By building trust.
A trusting partnership doesn’t develop overnight. We build it over time. At APCT our success comes from our consistency of action, driven by our exceptional personnel. From the receptionist who first answers your call to shipping personnel who deliver the product; the employees of APCT take to heart the values of the company when it first started: Passion, Commitment, and Trust. Simply put, APCT will do whatever it takes to ensure the success of our customers. That attitude is what creates trust. That attitude turns a “customer/supplier” relationship to that of a real partnership.
The beginning of building trust starts with our DFM (Design for Manufacturability) team. We pair our highly skilled DFM engineers with your product development staff and along with your PCB designers. Together, industry expertise and knowledge of the most advanced materials and newest technology is shared to achieve the most reliable and cost-effective design of the product. This early level of support results in benefits ranging from increased development success to reduced cycle times and improved product yields. By combining the designer’s vision with APCT’s experience and expertise in PCB manufacturing, stack-ups of various solutions emerge before the build, assuring both partners an outcome of a high-reliability product. Best of all, by involving the APCT engineering team from the start, production time is decreased, while driving down manufacturing costs
Our engineers bring their industry expertise and knowledge of the most advanced materials and newest technology to advise you on your design to ensure that is both highly reliable and cost-effective.
Our Design for Manufacturability (DFM) service is unique in the industry. It will be difficult for you to find another PCB manufacturer who will team their engineering team with your engineering team FOR FREE! In most cases, to gain the expertise of a DFM team, an appointment or a purchase order or a promise to place the order is necessary. At APCT, the DFM service is complimentary. It is a “good faith” measure to earn trust. It is the first step toward creating a long-lasting relationship. If we are successful in our efforts, it’s a step in the right direction to earn your loyalty.
By involving the APCT engineering team from the start, we cut your production time and increase your profit margin.
Every client, every design, every opportunity is unique in its technical challenges. At APCT, we are armed with a full suite of ideas and design capabilities that will form the basis of our answers. Our team is invested in improvements and coming up with cost-effective solutions. It’s our experience and expertise in not only HDI technologies, but in PCB manufacturing in general that gives us the confidence to suggest new material selections or process capabilities or finish requirements as solutions to your needs.
Our purpose up front is to save an iteration or two. It’s time and money, and we know by this approach that it will develop confidence between us that will lead to trust. It’s at that point that a true partnership is born. When your needs are critical, and you require more than just a supplier, call APCT. It’s the people that are the difference makers. Give us the opportunity to earn your trust.
10 Wonderful Years And We’re Not Showing Any Signs of Slowing Down