Category Archives: Company And Partners

Rick McClain, President and COO joins with other industry experts to weigh in on the impact of recent import tariffs.

Milwaukee Electronics president Rick McClain said that while they are not seeing any indication that customers plan to move production, their Mexico facility can accommodate additional production for customers that wish to use a NAFTA strategy to mitigate tariffs…

Read the full article here

On behalf of Milwaukee Electronics, it is an honor to announce the newly promoted Technical Sales – Manager of Special Accounts in the Design Engineering group, Larry Holten. This position has been created in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin location to enhance Design sales growth in strategic account areas in our company due to their growth opportunities, in support of our electronic and PCBA manufacturing facilities.

In addition, Larry will continue to act as the technical resource to the Corporate Sales Group for new opportunities, leads, and website updating.  Our primary focus for this position, though, is being created to pursue account growth.


Screaming Circuits, a division of EMS firm Milwaukee Electronics, specializes in building short-run, one-off, and prototype PCB assembly, with rapid turn times and instant online quoting and ordering. Mike Galloway, technical team supervisor at Screaming Circuits, discusses with SMT Magazine the biggest challenges when it comes to assembling flex circuits, the critical factors affecting yields, and the key considerations for OEMs when selecting contract manufacturing partner for their flex circuit assemblies.”

Read the conversation with Mike Galloway over at SMT Magazine. Download the PDF here.


The goal of any outsourcing effort is normally to help the client company deliver a product to market that is faster, better and less expensive than they could build in-house. Sometimes the best way to achieve that involves multiple parties. In those cases, Milwaukee Electronics is often the bridge, working closely with both a design partner and the end customer. This is the case with the Portland facility and one of its industrial customers.

The product is server/client units used to communicate fuel purchase and secure chip credit card data from the dispenser to a store. The design firm specializes in these products and developed a custom product for the end customer. Milwaukee Electronics is doing a full electromechanical box build with multiple printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) connected together. The original product had nine PCBAs, but a recent cost reduction design spin has reduced that to three PCBAs. The server unit is a rack-mounted network box and the dispenser unit is a sub-assembly mounted in the fuel pump.

Volume production began at Milwaukee Electronics about five years ago. Volumes have increased from an average of 100 servers per month to 500 servers per month. While the design firm has primary responsibility for driving cost reduction efforts, the team at Milwaukee Electronics has supported those efforts in several ways. The Purchasing team has negotiated cost reductions from suppliers. The Manufacturing Engineering team has made recommendations on design changes to minimize assembly labor. For example, on the client unit the team recommended reducing the number of mounting brackets and that reduced labor. They also made recommendations on changes to the PCBA. Additionally, the team recommended changes to the way the metal supplier was packaging the chassis for shipment to reduce unpack time. The original design had specified far more protective packaging than was needed.

The design firm developed the functional test and over time, with feedback from Milwaukee Electronics’ team, has streamlined the test as it became apparent that the product design was generating very little fallout. Milwaukee Electronics’ manufacturing team is now focused on improving throughput so that the higher volumes can be accommodated with no increase in floor space. The team has applied its Lean manufacturing training to re-layout the entire production flow. A supermarket has been installed in the manufacturing area to streamline material transactions. Point-of-use stocking and pull systems are being enhanced in the final assembly work cell. Additionally, the SMT equipment the facility has recently purchased enables offline feeder setup, which reduces setup time.

“Our goal is to continuously find ways to capitalize on the equipment and training investments the Portland facility has been making over the last year, enhancing the value we are offering customers. The increased production in this project provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the benefits our expanded capabilities,” said Michelle McGillivray, Program Manager.

Milwaukee Electronics’ Operations Manager Terry Martin, Senior Director of Business Development Scott Pohlmann and Design Services Group Engineering Manager Larry Holten recently represented Screaming Circuits at the Badgerloop Pod Reveal Event in Madison, WI. Screaming Circuits is one of many sponsors of this innovative engineering project and has provided prototype circuits.

BadgerLoop is a student organization created to represent UW-Madison in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. The competition seeks to innovate transportation with Hyperloop, an idea presented by SpaceX and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk in 2013. Hyperloop transportation involves pod-like travel down a vacuum tube at high speeds. Badgerloop’s ultimate goal is to win the competition, but more than that, to help lay the groundwork for this innovative new transportation technology.

The Badgerloop team revealed their pod on Dec. 6, at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery to eager transportation enthusiasts, including University of Wisconsin-Madison students, industry sponsors and community members, in preparation for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition this coming January.

The free event featured multiple aspects of the transportation pod, including displays of its motor, software components and magnet arrays. Representatives from many of Badgerloop’s 19 teams displayed and explained their work on the prototype, demonstrating that Hyperloop is more than a transportation dream.

Last January, Badgerloop placed third at Design Weekend, the initial phase of the Hyperloop pod competition sponsored by SpaceX. Badgerloop was the only team comprised primarily of undergraduate students.

In January of 2017, Badgerloop will attend competition weekend at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California and test their pod on SpaceX’s mile long test track.

Above, Milwaukee Electronics’ Operations Manager Terry Martin sits in the Badgerloop vehicle.

On Sept. 5th, Milwaukee Electronics’ Portland facility passed its certification audit to ISO 13485:2003, the quality management system focused on medical device manufacturing. “We pursued this certification to better support the needs of our medical customers. Our team did an outstanding job of updating our procedures to support our certification effort,” said Pam Kimbrough, the facility’s Operations Manager. Milwaukee Electronics will pursue ISO 13485:2003 in other facilities as customer requirements drive the need.


David Casio Milwaukee Electronics CFO

Milwaukee, WI – David Cascio has joined Milwaukee Electronics as chief financial officer. He previously served as senior financial director for Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) Americas with Johnson Controls, Inc. He was earlier associated with Modine Manufacturing Company, Bosch Rexroth Corporation and Woodward in a variety of finance and accounting management roles.

“Dave brings over 26 years of experience in organizational improvement initiative implementation, strategic planning, cost analysis, ERP systems optimization and contract negotiation experience. The bulk of his career has been spent overseeing these activities in multinational operations which aligns well with the direction our business has taken over the last few years. I see him as a key asset in our team as we continue to evolve and expand our operations,” said P. Michael Stoehr, Milwaukee Electronics’ president and CEO.

“I’m excited about joining a dynamic company in a demanding industry. I look forward to applying my experience with best-in-class processes to help Milwaukee Electronics continue to grow and improve,” added Cascio.

Cascio received his Master of Business Administration degree from Northern Illinois University and his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Rockford University.

Milwaukee Electronics designs and manufactures custom circuit board assemblies for the medical, transportation, military, HVAC and a variety of other industries. The Company operates over 135,000 square feet of manufacturing in Portland, Oregon; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Tecate, Mexico. In addition to EMS and product design and engineering services, it offers quick-turn prototyping through its Screaming Circuits business unit.


Contact: Jered Stoehr, V.P. Sales and Marketing
Tel: 503-263-9109

Milwaukee Electronics’ Portland, OR facility recently hosted an arms-on problem-fixing event that took a multi-company approach to non-stop development. The workshop was facilitated by Mike Hoseus, the executive Director of the Center for Quality People & Organizations (CQPO). CQPO is an organization developed in 1999 as a vision of Toyota Motor manufacturing to proportion Lean exceptional philosophy and human resource practices with training, business, and community groups. Mike is a Toyota licensed teacher in worldwide hassle solving and Waste discount, Standardized Work and Kaizen events. He’s the co-creator of Toyota Culture with Jeff Liker (author of The Toyota Way, The Toyota Way Fieldbook, and Toyota Talent).

The event combined training with hands-on problem solving.

The event combined training with hands-on problem solving.

The event included participants from seven other non-competing manufacturing companies: Benchmade Knife Company, Columbia Machine, ESCO Corporation, Keith Manufacturing, Leupold & Stevens, Myers Container and Woodfold. Milwaukee Electronics identified six areas they would like to improve and six teams were created from the participants. The approach put “fresh minds” on each problem and added the perspective of people familiar with manufacturing practices in non-related industries.

“We really got more out of this than we thought we would. HEPC was very pleased with our ability to answer questions and provide data. I was particularly impressed during the workshop at what the team members from other companies who had no familiarity with our processes were able to discover,” said Ashley Rochholz, Screaming Circuits Manufacturing Manager.

The teams were introduced to an eight-step program solving process:

  • Step 1: Clarify the problem
  • Step 2: Break down the problem
  • Step 3: Target setting
  • Step 4: Root cause analysis
  • Step 5: Develop countermeasures and implementation plan
  • Step 6: Seeing countermeasures through
  • Step 7: Monitoring the process and results
  • Step 8: Standardized successful practices and share.

During the two-day workshop, each multi -company team utilized the tools and training provided to work through their assigned improvement area. At the end of the event, Milwaukee Electronics’ team leaders because responsible for implementing the solutions and reporting results.

Some of improvement areas worked on included:

  • Inventory transaction errors between raw material and work-in-progress (WIP) and job to finished goods (FG). This problem solving effort was a good example of a team finding out that an assumed root cause was not the actual root cause. After research into the data, the team found that the transaction error issue was better handled as part of the EMS SMT team’s problem-solving focus. They provided the data they reviewed early in the process to the SMT team and then focused on improving cycle counting. That effort identified that a scale in the stockroom could be impacted by temperature and vibration. Previously, it had been assumed that unit was not susceptible to environmental changes and it was not on the calibration list. It was leveled on a stable shelf mount and added to the calibration list. A reel counter was determined to be inaccurate and new unit is on order.
  • Late internal EMS deliveries to subsequent processes from SMT. The team found there were two root causes for inefficient throughput: the planning schedule and insufficient parts. The planning schedule was outside of their control, so they focused on the part shortages. Machine-driven attrition was the main driver. The solution focused on reviewing scrap factors on projects where the situation had occurred more than once to determine if they were incorrectly calculating scrap factors. They also reviewed the data provided by the inventory transaction team and found that material used in rework operations wasn’t being counted. The results after the first month of corrective action were that the SMT area has eliminated the backlog of late jobs. Most of the jobs during the month were classified as late in on-time delivery (OTD) metrics tracking because of the backlog. Now that it has been eliminated, that metric should improve. The team’s original plan was to use the daily machine reports to identify scrap rates higher than issued in Epicor and reduce the number of WIP shortages on the line. Purchasing Manager Loan Thai offered an easier solution, suggesting that with IT’s help, the reports could be used to automatically adjust higher scrap parts out of Epicor so that inventory counts would be correct. The project is currently at this stage and is being led by the Purchasing Manager. The original OTD metric was averaging 38 percent and is now up to 50 percent.
  • Eliminating downtime on Screaming Circuits’ SMT lines. The team looked at data logs from the line and found that most of the downtime was related to the setup process for Mydata equipment, more specifically a process known as bill of material (BOM) site, which checks the programming for accuracy. The team is exploring if operators could perform BOM site for the next job while waiting for the printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) to finish the assembly process or do the activity offline on another placement machine. The team also questioned whether or not the process was actually necessary and has been performing design of experiments (DOEs) to find out what works best on second shift.
  • KISS selective solder machine down- (Continued from page 3) time. The KISS unit was already scheduled for refurbishment, so the team did not look at mechanical issue-driven downtime. Instead they focused on bottlenecks in PCBAs waiting for QC inspection. They decided to add a visual color-coded status indicator as a signal to QC inspectors. Red indicated that they were line down and needed immediate support, yellow indicated that a QC inspector was needed in the next 10 -15 minutes and green indicated that QC inspection was keeping pace with demand. They also moved the QC station closer to the machine so that the operation and QC inspector could communicate without leaving their work areas. The visual indicator was also in view of Screaming Circuits’ Supervisor. Finally, a scheduling board was added to help the operator better understand job priority.

Tara Locke, a Stockroom Clerk summed up what the class meant to participants well: “This class has influenced us to better our processes to make the company more efficient. There is still work in progress. By consistently evaluating our processes we will continue to have improvements. More proficient processes make a business that builds confidence in our customers and employees.”

HPEC is a program that grew out of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME). They facilitated the event that Milwaukee Electronics hosted.

“EMS companies must constantly improve. The benefit of this type of collaborative effort was that in addition to learning a strong problem-solving method, our personnel also applied that method to solving small issues that impacted quality, efficiency, and cost. This ‘hands on’ training methodology helps instill a focus on applying these skills anywhere unexpected outcomes arise,” added Ashley.