ECI Screenprint's world is populated by technical schematics, precision machinery, and demanding applications. But as you'll discover, it's the human element that ultimately allows this industrial-printing specialist to grow and explore new technologies.
“We do a lot of value-added assembly for customers, where the customer provides sheet-metal backer, or we’ll procure the backer and do that assembly. A lot of customers don’t like to assemble graphics, and we are experts at doing it,” he explains. “We have products where the printed circuit board and metal backer are combined as one unit to be more economical, and we also do elastomer silicone-rubber keypad assemblies, and so on. It’s kind of a smorgasbord of different kinds of assemblies. We do in-house soldering, pick and place, Surface Mount Technology component installation—all the peripheral items you need to do for membrane switches and some for the other assemblies.”
ECI assembles a variety of products, from switches that have flex tails with connectors to injection-molded housings and bezels with membrane switches sometimes assembled with displays and LEDs or backlighting. The customer gets the entire front fascia, assembles it to their enclosure, plugs it in, and it’s done. As cook puts it, that’s where ECI stops.
“We do a lot of work for contract manufacturers who build entire OEM units,” he says. “We’ve got a relationship with a half dozen contract manufacturers, especially in the New England area, where they’ll get jobs from all over the world and, because they have a relationship with us, they know that even if it’s an existing product they can show the product to us and we can reverse-engineer anything and usually save them quite a bit of money, so it helps them win jobs.”
Part of Cook’s decision to develop ties to local service providers stems from his passion for keeping as much business in America as possible. He says local sourcing and working with vendors in the area not only helps the US economy, but face-to-face interaction also enhances customer service, saves on shipping, and allows better management of overall quality.
Business in a rough economy
Can any business be recession-proof? Perhaps not, but Cook says that the market ECI serves isn’t completely drowning in financial gloom and doom.
“We’re kind of a unique market. We’re not just screen printers—we have to be manufacturers,” he explains. “We’re literally a job shop, a manufacturer. We must have standards and many systems and procedures in place to efficiently produce this kind of work.”
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