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Electronics without Borders

Originally Published MPMN April 2005

Special Section

Electronics without Borders

Costa Rica–based manufacturer provides offshore alternative

Corinne Litchfield

The benefits of outsourcing electronics manufacture and assembly to overseas EMS companies have been contested by domestic companies for some time. Concerns over product quality, materials management, and intellectual property protection are topics that come up again and again. Yet the demand for inexpensive electronics is not always one that domestic EMS firms can easily meet.

One company has bridged this gap by opening a facility in Latin America. Precision Concepts Costa Rica S.A., (Alajuela, Costa Rica; www.pc-cr.com) is a subsidiary of Precision Concepts Group LLC, located in Winston-Salem, NC. The Costa Rican facility was opened in 1991 to provide medical device OEMs with low-cost electronics manufacturing, assembly, and testing services. Approximately 80% of its work is middle- to low-volume jobs, consisting mainly of lightweight components and assemblies.

A disposable electrode is manufactured by Precision Concepts Costa Rica for use in fetal monitoring devices.

With its ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 13488:1996 certification, as well as its FDA registration, the company is able to offer U.S.-based medical manufacturers an alternative to Asian outsourcing. Even one opponent of Asian outsourcing admits that Costa Rica is “a wonderful outsourcing environment.” Less travel time to assess product development may be part of the benefit. “Many manufacturers like the idea of just traveling a few hours to visit the plant,” says general manager Enrique Arguelles.

Precision Concepts’s internal quality systems, in addition to its compliance with U.S. medical device regulations, have proved to be a draw for many customers, according to Arguelles. “We still have to compete based on cost,” he adds. Reaching its goal to become a turnkey, fully automated manufacturing facility will increase its value among
potential customers.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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