With a reference design platform for mobile computing applications already under its belt, contract manufacturer Pemstar Inc. plans to increase its original design manufacturer (ODM) capabilities.
The Rochester, Minn., EMS company said that by next year, it will have between eight and 12 reference designs on tap to satisfy OEMs looking for lower design and manufacturing costs.
"Our objective is to pick products that go across multiple markets," said Pemstar president Al Berning. "We intend to develop reference designs for communications, computing, medical, industrial, and wireless."
Pemstar is one of several EMS providers that have turned to the ODM model to secure more business. The company worked last year with Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to make its first reference design. The Pemstar ODM Development Platform, Windows CE.NET, uses a Windows-based application and one of Intel's latest chips, said Bert Wiggers, Pemstar's vice president of worldwide product development.
"ODMs jointly or sometimes independently make reference designs," Wiggers said. "The ODM usually owns the bill of materials, so they pick the components to maximize synergy. With EMS companies, the OEM owns the BOM, which is a major difference between the two models."
Wiggers believes that chipmakers like Intel and Texas Instruments Inc. will work closely with EMS providers as they push deeper into reference designs.
And to make sure that Pemstar effectively competes against ODMs, which are primarily based in China and Taiwan, the midtier contract manufacturer is expanding its plant in Tianjin, China, to 240,000 sq. ft.
"That's the only facility we plan to expand this year," Berning said. "We hope to complete construction sometime this year."