RAFI GmbH & Co. KG

Ravensburger Str. 128–134
88276 Berg/Ravensburg
P +49 751 89-0
F +49 751 89-1300

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zwei menschen schauen auf ein EMS Gerät
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The abbreviation EMS stands for Electronic Manufacturing Services, the service of producing electronic components and assemblies for customers, especially in industry. This includes the whole range of order production – starting with materials procurement, through PCB assembly, to the creation and implementation of test concepts and qualification, to logistics and life-cycle services. If, like RAFI, the service provider takes on additional development tasks, this is correctly termed in the industry E2MS – Electronic Engineering and Manufacturing Services. In everyday language, however, the term EMS often includes the development service. 

There are plenty of electronics manufacturers. However, there are only a few companies which cover the whole EMS process from development to logistics. As one of the leading E2MS suppliers, RAFI is among them. Thanks to our international network of expertise with locations in Germany, Hungary, and China, and our competence as a system supplier, we handle even the most demanding orders quickly, reliably, and flexibly. You can rely on RAFI for comprehensive industry knowledge and concentrated engineering expertise. Cooperating closely with you, we bring groundbreaking concepts and innovative ideas into series production.

RAFI supplies the Hamilton Medical ventilator with HMI and EMS


We are always pleased when our core areas of expertise, EMS and HMI, come into play in the same project. But we are even happier when lives can be saved through our work. We are able to contribute our expertise in development, design, manufacturing, and service to Hamilton Medical’s ventilators.

Technologies for EMS from RAFI


We focus on vertical integration: RAFI operates more than 15 fully automatic SMD assembly lines with nitrogen reflow and vapor phase technology for SMD high-speed and precision assembly. We also deliver traditional RAFI quality for the processing of THT components by using ten wave-soldering systems, four selective soldering systems, and two automatic assembly lines. In addition, we offer you automatic template printing, loading and magazine systems, inline AOI systems, cutting-bending machines, dual-head riveting machines, PCB cutting machines, sequencers, lift-dip soldering, press-fit technology squeezers, cleaning systems, electronics-glass combinations, and all systems for the installation of complete assemblies. We also offer microelectronics production in clean rooms with chip-on-board in AL- and AU-wirebond technology and flip chip assembly. The processes are designed to handle a wide range of PCB technologies, such as multilayer, rogers, aluminum core, flex, semiflex and rigid-flex PCBs. This is how we meet both your requirements and our standards quickly and reliably – including with regard to safety. We operate ultramodern clean rooms for this purpose.

Approvals at RAFI - the best product is only as good as its approval


Many industry approvals seem daunting due to the sheer amount of red tape. We can take the worry out of it for you. Thanks to our decades of experience, we are familiar with all the processes and requirements. Furthermore, we hold all the relevant approvals in our key industries. This is part of our strategic thinking and action.

pre-production is post-production

Service before and after production

We are more than a pure manufacturing service provider. We would be happy to assess your PCB design to determine whether it is viable for production and testing. We can also support you right from the start, during the development of your product. Always keeping the total cost of ownership in mind, we provide our expertise for you throughout the entire process chain. At your request, we can also take care of test strategy, supply chain, and logistics. Opportunities arise for you especially in combination with our HMI expertise, and we would be happy to explore and implement them with you. We benefit from a global presence with local contacts and long-term relationships.

EMS electronics from Germany or Asia?

Many companies use electronic manufacturing services as a proven outsourcing method. After all, parts of production can be outsourced through EMS. In this way, some costs can be reduced and capacities used for other areas, such as research, development, marketing, or sales. Cost-effective and flexible series production is our top priority - for both large and small quantities and in consistent top quality. This is the only way to meet today’s market requirements in terms of fluctuating production volumes, growing product diversity, and ever-shorter delivery times. We can show you here how to find the right service provider with the right assembly capability for your project.

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Whether THT or SMD assembly: Many large EMS service providers operate out of Asia. But there are also experts in electronics manufacturing and electronics development located in Europe, more precisely in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. RAFI is one of them. An EMS provider in the local region is, of course, an extra bonus in addition to the general advantages of electronic manufacturing services, which are: The customer does not need its own production capacities, receives a product that suits its needs, has no capital tied up in materials, equipment and personnel, no expenses for maintenance and repair, does not have to worry about technological developments in the equipment, can compensate more easily for market fluctuations, and has significantly reduced expenses for its supply chain management. RAFI provides even more benefits apart from being close by: high product quality, flexible cooperation, and a high level of technical know-how. All this contributes to a productive relationship with customers. This last aspect is often underestimated. But a service provider requires experience to be able to accurately estimate specific process steps, e.g. for SMD or THT assembly. Only then, and with the appropriate manufacturing depth, can the company implement the order effectively.

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What an EMS service provider should offer

Electronics manufacturers differ greatly in many respects: experience, THT or SMD assembly, industry knowledge, manufacturing depth, region, size, EMS services, and development expertise. In the best case, you find a partner who can supply the right solution with regards to location, technology, and process for a range of different projects. That’s why there are several points you should always consider when choosing your EMS provider.

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Technical know-how

Find a partner who has all the current technologies in its portfolio. The greater the manufacturing depth, the more likely it is that the supplier can also implement further projects. Pure SMD assemblers may reach their limits for special requirements, such as chip-on-board. Then you need to qualify another supplier. So making the right choice straight away saves you time and money. Most importantly, broad-based EMS providers often have a comprehensive certification portfolio that significantly reduces your audit burden. Apart from using 15 fully automatic high-speed lines with nitrogen reflow and vapor-phase technology, RAFI also uses ten wave-soldering systems and two automatic lines for THT assembly. As a result, we can cover even the most unusual customer requirements.

An assembler should cover the following technologies to be able to offer you the widest possible range of solutions: SMD assembly of  01005 components, finepitch assembly, THT assembly, automatic template printing, loading and magazine systems, inline AOI systems to check printing, assembly and welding, cutting-bending machines, dual-head riveting machines, PCB cutting machines, automatic dual-head assembly machines for wired components (sequencers), microelectronics production in clean rooms, chip-on-board, chip-on-flex, chip-on-chip (bonding), flip chip, flex, semi-flex, and rigid-flex PCB assembly, lift-dip soldering, selective soldering, wave-soldering systems, press-fit technology, electronics-glass combinations, moisture protection coating, casting and boxbuild assembly. In addition to these production technologies, the partner of your choice should ideally cover all other EMS services and EMS support. These include performance requirements management, various engineering services, materials management, logistics, and comprehensive life cycle services.

Flexible production capacities

On site everywhere. That is the ideal setup in today’s world. However, only very few EMS providers fit this bill. Of course, it is not necessary for a company to have a presence on every continent. But a certain amount of flexibility helps. This keeps distances relatively short. A mix of locations in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Asia is generally considered the industry standard, while an additional branch on the American continent is not absolutely necessary, but not a bad thing to have.

In addition to the locations, the type of production is also important – from pure PCBs to direct production for higher-level assemblies, to test equipment construction for the customer, everything is possible. A distinction is often made between the following types.

Low Mix High Volume (LMHV)

Here, the product variety is limited to a few variants. However, the PCB assembly involves large quantities. This is why conventional assemblers are often the first choice here.

High Mix Low Volume (HMLV)

HMLV is the opposite of LMHV. Due to an enormous variety of products and relatively small quantities, the development and handling effort is vastly greater. The demands on technical know-how, manufacturing depth, and development expertise are correspondingly high.

Depending on the project, you should weigh up which expertise and services the EMS provider needs to bring to the table in PCB assembly and beyond.

Advice on an equal footing

As is often the case, what is most important when selecting the right partner for Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) is the human component. You do not need either call centers or yes-men to be able to successfully complete your project. What you do need is someone who understands all the specifications and asks the right questions at the right time. Someone who completely gets all aspects of THT and SMD assembly. This can only come from a supplier that has already implemented a large number of such projects – preferably directly in your or comparable sectors. So when it comes to EMS services, a larger company can be better as long as the customer-supplier relationship is based on an approach of cooperation between equals. 

Long-term supply security and high standards 

Nothing is more annoying than discontinued products or product components. So make sure your supplier can provide you with the technical standards you need for several years. Ultimately, this is the only way that a long-term relationship can succeed between customer and service provider. This should definitely be your goal in PCB assembly. After all, qualification processes are extremely time-consuming and costly. Incidentally, another advantage is the provision of additional EMS services such as life cycle management with spare parts supply and repair service. And logistics should also be included. Some service providers, such as RAFI, take care of the optimization of all land, sea, and air transportation – including freight and customs clearance for worldwide transport. Of course, traceability should always be guaranteed. RAFI ensures this with 2D laser barcodes on the circuit boards. The result: total transparency plus lockable and traceable process steps.

Sustainable electronics manufacturing

Make sure your shortlisted companies are up to speed on quality management and environmental certifications. The best companies can demonstrate a neutral, i.e. positive, eco-balance despite electronics production.

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Development: expertise right from the start

You want a strong development partner at your side. For example, our development team will support you worldwide to realize your ideas. You decide what development phase you want to include us in. This can be involvement in the creation of specifications, conceptualization and evaluation of solutions, development/mechanical engineering, prototyping, integration, or testing. You benefit from interdisciplinary expertise, efficient methods, stable processes, and innovative solutions.

Electronic Manufacturing Services – the bottom line

Choose your partner for EMS electronics depending on assembly type, development, location, services, and size. Remember to include total cost of ownership as part of your decision-making process. The cheapest offer is no good if the components ultimately fail functional testing. However you decide, you can rely on RAFI as a competent contact for all aspects of electronics manufacturing and development services.