Circuit board designs go straight from the engineer's computer to automated manufacturing machinery. DPS makes extensive use of machine insertion and placement equipment- it's fast, eliminates extra steps, and keeps the boards clean. The board is coated with a solder paste and small components are surface-mounted onto it. DPS's surface mount machine picks up components with a vacuum head and places them on the board with an accuracy of a thousandth of an inch - one-twentieth the thickness of your thumbnail.
Automating the board manufacture process allows a small crew to create a large production, said Rinehart. "If I were to build a NetGuardian totally by hand, it would take hours and hours. Two to three people operating our machines can run 75 to 100 boards. I don't have a large crew, but with machines, they can produce a lot." Rinehart said she further maximizes the value of her staff by cross-training each staff member on multiple tasks. If one worker takes a sick day, another steps into his or her place and manufacturing continues uninterrupted.
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