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Bare Board Group

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PCB Fabricator Adds Silicon Valley Location for Expanded Offerings

PCB Fabricator

Rebecca Carnes
Design-2-Part Magazine

Expanding its domestic presence, Bare Board Group (BBG) recently acquired the PCB fabrication operations of Hunter Technologies and will now be offering a broader range of capabilities from its new Silicon Valley location.

The official name of the new facility is BBG Silicon Valley (BBG SV) and it will enable the company to now offer a new domestic source, as well as high-density interconnect (HDI) boards, specifically serving high-technology clientele and the U.S. military and aerospace programs. Some of the inherited processes and capabilities allow BBG SV to now manufacture high layer-count backplanes, Teflon PCBs, microwave PCBs, and hybrid PCBs, all of which may have conventional technologies or incorporate high density interconnects built on advanced materials.

Whereas BBG ( has traditionally manufactured low- to-medium technology boards, mostly offshore, the company now has the capability to offer the high-tech boards, which many customers have been asking for, along with the option of a domestic source. Customers will have access to a full range of offerings "for everything you could want under the sun as far as printed circuit boards go," said BBG Marketing Director Tobey Marsicovetere.

The newly-acquired Santa Clara, Calif., plant puts BBG ahead of competition that may be able to serve only one niche, she said. "We have customers whose products run the whole expanse. They have a high-tech board they want done in the U.S., but they may also have a few multi-layer boards consisting of fairly basic technology that they need at a greatly reduced cost.  They're able to come to us and we're able to build all of those boards for them; whereas, if they went to someone else, they might only be able to get one of those done. We're able to fulfill a whole product line for our customers," she said.

Bare Board Group is hoping this new acquisition will open them up to the military market. Historically, the company was doing only a little R&D work for the military, but now expects to build final products. BBG Silicon Valley is ITAR registered, in addition to being AS 9100, MIL-PRF-55110, and ISO 13485 registered for the medical industry. "We are the only bare board distributor in the country that is currently ITAR registered for both onshore and offshore manufacturing," said Marsicovetere, adding that the company also has offices in Florida, Canada, and Taiwan.

Having recently received a 2012 Global Supplier Award from National Instruments for "best on-time delivery," BBG hopes to retain that precision in delivery at its newly-acquired facility. "The last thing we want to do is change the model that we've had for so many years and that has given us so much success," she said. "We have a lot of inside people that stay on top of our orders and are constantly monitoring what position they are in inside the manufacturing plant to make sure they are moving at the correct speed, and we rarely make promises that we know we can't keep. We'd rather turn down a job than tell a customer that we'll have it to them in three weeks and then deliver it to them in five weeks."

The Santa Clara plant will enable the company to offer quicker turns than what may be currently available from their other plants, she said. "This shop is going to be able to do three-day turns on small volumes of high tech boards, which is competitive for that type of product," she said, adding that most customers interested in this service are prototyping and don't need very many boards, but are in a rush to get it to production stage. "Much of our customers' time is absorbed in changes within the initial design process and upon completion, they realize they've run out of time and need it right away. That is where part of the quick turn capability comes into play," she said. Not just OEMs, but also customers who are contract manufacturers, are interested in the quick turn offering because they might be facing time constraints from their customers and need to rush a job through in order to begin the assembly process as soon as possible.

Bare Board Group is able to keep costs down for its customers by constantly reviewing different board houses to find more competitive rates, as well as by researching different materials to lower cost and by reviewing drawings to suggest ways to cut costs in the layout. The BBG SV plant will now offer design assistance, something the company historically did not offer. "Many of the large OEMs have engineers in place and don't require any design, but many of the small-to-midsize companies--especially some of the people we run into at Design-2-Part Shows, which are smaller American manufacturers and family-owned businesses--might not have the capability of hiring design staff. They may be only making one or two products, so they need help designing the board for those products. We're now able to help them do that," Marsicovetere said.

This technical information has been contributed by
Bare Board Group

Click on Company Name for a Detailed Profile

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