Pennatronics is a premier electronics contract manufacturer of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA’s) and electro-mechanical assemblies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, the company has been very successful in taking a customer-centric approach to electronics manufacturing. “Contract manufacturers are abundant,” says Vice President of Operations Dave Spehar. “What separates us is that we do whatever it takes to exceed customer expectations.”
After nearly two decades in business, Pennatronics has grown significantly. The company employs roughly 110 people in an advanced manufacturing facility in California, Pennsylvania. The company recently expanded its 45,000-square-foot building with an additional 25,000 square feet of space to accommodate additional growth in all areas, particularly in the electro-mechanical assembly component of the business. “It’s the next logical step for a contract manufacturer that assembles circuit boards,” says Spehar, “a natural progression from building the PCBA to placing the PCBA into an enclosure, fully assembling and testing the unit to provide a more complete product to the customer.”
Pennatronics has consistently focused its direction on customer satisfaction and has formed lasting partnerships with OEMs in various industries including industrial, medical, nuclear, nontraditional automotive, and utility companies, among others.
The company has maintained its place on the leading edge of technological advancement and this strategy has proven successful. The electronics industry is constantly changing, and Pennatronics has kept pace by investing in the latest capital equipment. Complementing this technology-forward approach, it has assembled a team of experts to keep the operation running smoothly. “We have a highly-trained workforce,” says Spehar. “We focus on finding people who have an associate’s [degree] in electronics or equivalent experience in military or industry.”
The level of expertise present in the Pennatronics workforce permits the company to operate efficiently. Employees are trusted to make decisions without a great deal of internal bureaucracy, which engages employees to help exceed the customers’ expectations.
Demonstrating the commitment of its workforce and the quality of its manufacturing, Pennatronics has achieved a number of significant industry certifications. Within the first year of operation, the company acquired ISO9001, showing a devotion to quality control based on considerations including strong customer focus, continual improvement, and consistently high-quality results. Going further, to compete in the medical device arena, the company has achieved the ISO13485 certification, signifying a level of manufacturing precision that is suited to critical medical applications. Certified trainers for IPC-A-610, IPC-A-600, IPC-7711/7721 and J-STD-001 reside in-house, providing the ability to ensure all key individuals demonstrate proper performance levels.
One of the company’s customers is in the nuclear industry. This prompted it to build a 10CFR50 Appendix B compliant quality program enabling it to manufacture safety systems for nuclear power plants. This is a quality assurance standard with extremely strict requirements, and Pennatronics’ program in this area is a clear indicator of the quality of its manufacturing processes.
To meet the unique needs of another customer, Pennatronics has invested heavily in the processes and equipment needed to clean circuit boards. This particular customer has long-term reliability requirements that far exceed the average and offers warranties of up to twenty years in some instances. To accommodate these long-term product lifecycles, the company has invested in equipment and implemented board washing processes that far surpass the requirements of typical industry standards. Adapting to handle strict demands pushes the company to greater heights, and the leadership invests in the company’s continual improvement. This has allowed Pennatronics to stand out in the marketplace not only for customers with critical demands but for customers across its customer base.
The company has one all-encompassing quality control program, so the same systems that qualify it to work on critical applications in the nuclear sector are applied to all customers and all projects. “Our culture is exceeding customer expectations,” says Spehar. “We invest in our company members, our manufacturing processes, and our equipment to support that overall goal.”
Contract manufacturing is a very competitive industry; Pennatronics further differentiates itself by structurally assigning dedicated staff to each customer account to ensure that the lines of communication are always direct and that any customer concerns are being addressed in a timely manner. The company is committed to understanding and exceeding expectations so that it can form long-lasting partnerships.
Its drive to succeed has woven its way into the core of its culture. The plant operates twelve hours a day and seven days a week to be quick to respond to customer needs. This demands that careful attention be paid to each project, and the company has embraced this approach. Pennatronics focuses on important partnerships with companies that are interested in growing together and works to add several of those each year.
The company operates in markets with very narrow margins because it is in constant competition with foreign manufacturers from low-cost labor regions. Competing on the basis of price is always a challenge, but the company has focused on opportunities where foreign manufacturing is much less advantageous. Price is often the deciding factor for customers, so Pennatronics is always challenged to be competitive, and has been quite successful in this regard.
During its nearly twenty years of experience working in the electronics industry, Pennatronics has become much more than a contract manufacturer. It is a company keenly focused on developing key partnerships that last. With a team of highly trained experts, a modern facility with state of the art equipment, and a relentless pursuit to exceed the customer’s expectations, the company has been able to build a loyal group of repeat customers that trust Pennatronics’ ability to complete challenging and often critical projects.