Issue Winter 12
Palomar Technologies deals with quality, accuracy and precision, every time, all the time. The company – which provides solutions to organizations in industries such as telecommunications, medical devices and automotive sensors – does not allow a margin for error, low-quality products or inconsistency.
As a former subsidiary product line within the Industrial Products Division of Hughes Aircraft, the company is the global leader of automated high-precision assembly systems with 30 years of experience.
Palomar Technologies is a premier provider of high-reliability solutions for complex electronic assembly applications, or as Bruce Hueners, president and CEO, explains it, “We make machines that make computers.
“We make machines that attach microchips, and connect wires to microchips with extremely high reliability,” Hueners explains. “We connect the power intelligence on the microchip to the outside world. And, we do it more precisely, and with higher productivity than anyone else.”
The company is a global provider of highly customized, advanced packaging systems and high-accuracy bond and die attach services. “Palomar Technologies is also one of the few companies that did not move primary manufacturing to Asia,” Hueners says.
On Shore Manufacturing
In the last two years Palomar has seen a return of manufacturing to the United States, according to Donald Beck, general manager for assembly services at Palomar Technologies. “We are seeing a resurgence of on-shore manufacturing,” Beck explains. “We have many new customers that had accounts that were being managed in offshore places, such as China, and now they’re coming back.”
There are several reasons behind the return of business to the United States. “Many of the customers that went offshore are finding that China is becoming more expensive,” Beck explains. “There are a lot of hidden costs in doing business offshore. It is harder to get to your products and in some cases, they are losing their patents. They don’t have the protection the would have if they did their work on shore.
“When you add high accuracy [of U.S. manufactured products] into that equation, it makes it easier for the customer to make the choice [to come onshore].”
The company has direct sales and service in 25 countries, with two wholly owned subsidiaries: one in Europe and the other in Asia. “Seventy percent of everything that we design and manufacture in the U.S. is exported,” Hueners explains.
The Business of Accuracy
One of Palomar Technologies’ biggest assets has been its ability to achieve higher accuracy to meet its clients’ requirements. “When I first came on board around 2002, customers would have been happy with 25-micron precision,” Beck explains. “As communications have matured, laser alignment for communications and memory have become more of an issue. Today, Palomar is one of only two companies that can support down to a 2-micron precision.”
Palomar Technologies performs precision assembly operations on a contract basis with leading electronics industry customers, including some emerging products and markets. “We have the ability to do contract manufacturing using our own equipment at our site,” Hueners explains. “That has enabled us to assist manufacturers when they introduce new products, particularly those products that are complex and require high-precision assembly.”
The company was able to prove its dedication to customer satisfaction when one of its clients in the telecommunications business came to it for help last year.
“The client needed to expand its manufacturing capacity very rapidly at an overseas facility. They wanted to be in production with the ability to manufacture their products a week after installation,” Hueners recalls. “They required us to deliver at several times our normal rate. We successfully responded by accelerating the production very quickly with these complex machines.”
Palomar Technologies had the customer up and running in the allotted time. “It was a remarkable team effort from engineers, production people, suppliers and our partners,” Hueners gratefully recognizes.
To maintain its position of leadership, the company focuses on strict quality control. “We are an ISO 9001:2008-certified manufacturing facility,” Hueners explains, “but we also go through our own internal audits that we impose on ourselves.” Quality control is also built into Palomar Technologies’ software and control systems. “We have embedded software to verify the position and accuracy of the equipment with very extensive procedures that validate the proper function of each machine,” Hueners says.
Hueners and Beck see the future of Palomar Technologies as full of opportunities to grow and improve. “Going forward,” Hueners predicts, “we are going to get even better at doing what we already do best.” mt