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Box Build

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What is Box Build?

Box build, or system integration, ranges from packaging printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) into an enclosure to full electromechanical product assembly. Box build often spans the full product lifecycle — including design, prototyping, production, and final assembly.

Many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) leverage outsourced high-level box build for two reasons:

  1. Limit in-house assembly costs and labor requirements

  2. Receive delivery of a "plug and play" sub-assembly or complete product to optimize specialization

How Does Box Build Work?

Box build refers to a combination of electronic assembly and mechanical pack-out. Box build engagements often start with a single technology — most commonly, printed circuit board assembly — that is controlled directly by the contract manufacturer. A PCBA project might evolve into a box build through the addition of electrical and mechanical assembly work.

Electronic contract manufacturers participate in many aspects of box build production for OEM customers, such as:

  • Product development

  • Prototyping

  • Manufacturing

  • Software and firmware programming

  • Testing

  • Packaging

  • Labeling

  • Warehousing

  • Distribution

  • Return and repair services

The OEM typically maintains ownership of all box build specifications, requirements, bill of materials (BOM), and tooling.

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Advantages of Box Build

Box build, or systems integration, offers many advantages:

  • Complete customization to specified requirements

  • "Plug and play" incorporation with the final product

  • Lower total cost of ownership

  • Higher level of quality and performance assurance

  • Maintain full control over design and BOM

  • Optimized division of responsibilities between OEM and contract manufacturer

  • Direct control of high-value BOM items

  • Test, validation, and regulatory approval readiness