Contract Manufacturing

Not so long ago, companies manufactured the products they designed. But times change and most electronics companies will outsource the manufacture of their products.

Economics pushed this manufacture towards the Far East for consumer products and to eastern Europe for industrial products. But the UK retains a vibrant contract manufacturing sector, which is supporting the ‘reshoring’ of manufacturing.

In this section, New Electronics brings visitors updates and opinions from the contract manufacturing market.

The surprising differences between ARM MCU cores that appear to be identical

There are many reasons why the ARM Cortex-M series of processor cores has come to dominate the market for 32bit microcontrollers. Across the many varieties of Cortex-M cores, design engineers can choose from an array of performance, power consumption and communications capabilities, allowing them to find an ARM based MCU which will be suitable for almost any application. And, by standardising on the Cortex-M family, OEMs not only benefit from a common instruction set, but also from an ecosystem of libraries, tools and firmware with which thousands of embedded engineers are already familiar.

MRAM is finding ways around the memory chasm

When Freescale started work on magnetic random access memory (MRAM) two decades ago, it looked as though it could provide a fast, low power memory that does not need a constant flow of current to store data. With a bit cell that looked to be competitive with DRAM, but with better storage behaviour than flash, MRAM offered the potential to be the ultimate memory.

Could a 1mm thick solid state battery drive the development of the IoT?

Researchers have been searching for alternatives to the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery for some time. A number of reasons support the research, including the need for greater energy density, lower self discharge and longer life. A further driver for this work is safety; lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous if they get too hot or are not charged correctly.

Tracking WiFi signals to passively see through walls using NI USRP and LabVIEW

With dedication and a creative approach, University College London (UCL) research is helping to address the world's most urgent problems. Whether designing healthier cities or grappling with issues such as global health and climate change, the challenges of daily life inspire UCL students and academics. Based at UCL, our team of electrical engineering researchers is investigating passive radar technologies that can see through walls using WiFi radio waves.

What is viable and what is not with 3D printed enclosures

Unless you've been under a rock for the last 10 years, you will have heard about 3D printing. But many engineers are still wondering how they can use it for anything other than prototyping. However, 3D printing can provide a cost effective way to construct custom enclosures and this article will explain how, when and why you should consider using 3D printing for your product.

A layered approach to enhancing security for safety-critical software

Today’s safety-critical embedded environments are becoming more connected to the outside world. The ongoing growth of the Internet and IoT solutions will further drive connectivity requirements for safety-critical systems for the foreseeable future. Aerospace, defence, automotive, medical and industrial control are just some of the vertical markets that will expand as the ability to interconnect and remotely work with devices grows.

Sensors for a smart environment

Sensors have evolved from simple measuring tools to smart appliances that are connected through the internet to the cloud and to each other. At the recent ISSCC-conference, researchers from imec and Holst Centre presented a number of developments which may pave the way to a world where sensors assist us to drive more safely, live more healthily and make the planet more sustainable.

ATEX and how this applies to power supplies

The acronym ATEX, derived from the French phrase "ATmosphere EXplosible”, was initially introduced in the European Union to facilitate the free movement of goods and services of equipment used in hazardous environments.The resulting ATEX Directive removed the need to test and document a product for each EU country by harmonising the way different hazardous explosive environments are classified across all industries.

How designers can take advantage of the latest product developments in intelligent power modules

The move to replace simple fixed speed motor drives with more sophisticated variable speed drives (VSDs) is gathering pace, driven by regulations such as the European Commission’s ErP (Energy related Products) Directive. As a result, manufacturers of electric motors are equipping their products with the ability to match their speed and power output to the load, providing for a reduction in average power consumption.

CES 2016 suggests technology business is alive and well

Looking for a drone? Angling for an HDR enabled TV or a virtual reality headset? Want the latest in smart home devices or to find out more about recent developments in autonomous vehicles, then the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas last month, wouldn’t have disappointed.

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