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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

Box Build Materials

A wide range of components and materials can be assembled into a box build. For example:

  • Printed circuit board assemblies

  • Metal or plastic enclosures and structurals

  • Cable assemblies or wire harnesses

  • Battery packs

  • User interface controls

  • Motors

  • Pneumatic systems

Box Build Applications

Box builds are used in a wide range of industries and products. Some examples include:

  • Aerospace: Radars, beacons, avionics, aircraft on-board equipment, airport security equipment, flight simulators and instrumentation, satellite test equipment

  • Consumer: Smartphones, computers, TVs, appliances, kiosks / self service

  • Defense: Missile-related devices, power distribution, fixed or mobile ground communications, tactical communications, control and security systems

  • Energy: Smart usage monitors and controls, clean energy instruments, power management

  • Medical: Surgical and dental handpieces, wheelchairs and scooters, breast pumps, dialysis machines, ambulatory and fixed infusion pumps, cosmetic and surgical lasers, radiation therapy and linear accelerators

  • Technology: Communications, servers, power and utilities equipment, sensors, AI/information technology, scientific instrumentation, connected devices

  • Transportation: Cars, autonomous robotics, drones

Box Build Manufacturers

Valmark Interface Solutions

Industry Association

Box Build Resources