Advanced industries like aerospace and life sciences rely on a complex supply chain of sophisticated manufacturers. As technology quickly evolves, specialized fabricators, machine shops, raw material providers and others throughout the supply need to adapt and adjust to meet consumer or commercial demand. In many cases, new advances in technology also create new challenges for electromechanical integration as devices and components become smaller, more adaptable, and increasingly regulated.
Electromechanical contract manufacturers are a vital part of this ecosystem, and they produce essential assemblies or flexible micro electromechanical systems that are used in everything from pacemakers to military aircraft. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 3 demanding industries that rely on electromechanical contract manufacturing for specific use cases and applications.
What is Electromechanical Contract Manufacturing?
Electromechanical manufacturing is the process of combining electrical and mechanical components to control the flow of electric current that powers or activates certain functions. By combining circuitry with physical/mechanical parts, manipulation of a particular component will affect the flow of electrical current, allowing operators or automated machines to start and stop processes, or control the precise level to which they are engaged.
Electromechanical assemblies can also be the infrastructure that facilitates essential system communications. These systems send signals about information from sensors or operators, and the assembly creates a framework (electrical and mechanical) to connect and support those signals. Electromechanical assemblies often hold the physical hardware or wiring elements needed for control mechanisms, sensors, power supply, etc.
Companies often choose to partner with an electromechanical contract manufacturer when they need production of especially complex, sophisticated, or unique assemblies. Electromechanical contract manufacturers typically specialize in a particular industry or certain types of assemblies and units.
Understanding Electromechanical Assemblies
Electromechanical assemblies vary widely in size, complexity, and applications. While small components are sometimes simple and straightforward, full cabinets or box builds can require significant engineering expertise and manufacturing capabilities. Some common types of assemblies include:
Power Panel Assemblies
Medical Disposable Circuits
Electromechanical assemblies and sub-assemblies involve many different types of fabrication, including:
Specialty CNC machining
Building these types of assemblies requires specialized tools, particularly in highly regulated industries or for those that will be used for precision applications.
In many cases, the end product will require custom-designed layouts for use in everything from aircraft to scientific devices and medical equipment. These are often highly interconnected devices that receive and react to data from multiple sources, including external forces like the environment, speed, temperature, etc.
Next, we’ll review 4 industries that each have unique electromechanical contract manufacturing needs due to operation in precision environments and demanding scenarios. In each section, we’ll highlight some of the most common electromechanical assemblies that are used, and how they meet the needs of specific requirements for each industry.
The medical industry requires electromechanical integration for devices that assist with medical testing, monitoring, and intervention. Some of these devices include remarkably precise instrumentation, and they might even be placed inside of a human body for 10 or 20 years (e.g., to mimic the function of a heart valve). These devices might perform functions like regulating blood flow, monitoring vital signs, etc.
Other types of in-patient medical devices combine specialty monitoring capabilities with robust physical hardware that’s operated within a hospital setting. Flexible micro electromechanical systems can be used with flexible substrates or plastic films for devices like EKG machines.
Laboratory research, pharmaceutical development, and other common life science functions rely on scientific instrumentation and precision tools for formulation, testing, manufacturing, and more. While much of this work used to be done by hand, automation is driving improvements in speed, error reduction, and overall time-to-market.
Further, life sciences often require robotic handling of sensitive substances (e.g., liquid) with delicate test tubes and fragile containers. These precision applications mean that life sciences companies have incredibly strict requirements for electromechanical components or complete builds that offer exact control over mobility, detection, acceleration, and other functions.
Whether it’s for use in civilian, commercial, or military applications, aerospace manufacturers have no room for error. Whether it’s due to unique space constraints, harsh environmental impacts, precision data collection and measurement, or a combination of all these factors, aerospace has some of the most stringent demands for electromechanical assemblies. For example, durable custom panels are often required for instrumentation in aircraft, while custom-designed power boxes or distribution systems need to be tucked in small or irregular areas (e.g., aircraft fairing).
The engineering, development, manufacturing, and testing of electromechanical aerospace components requires deep specialization and industry expertise.
Why Use Electromechanical Contract Manufacturing?
Electromechanical contract manufacturers like Applied Engineering can assist with specific components or complete builds for even the most demanding industries. By offering total supply chain management and support for every aspect of product development from prototyping to full-scale production, contract partners can greatly simplify and streamline the manufacturing process.