Understanding the true commitment for excellence behind every Surface Art board

Discover the
benefits we can
offer you today!

Discover the benefits we can  offer you today!



Building quality boards not only improves our lives – it also saves them.

Over the years, Surface Art has gained valuable insight into the end-use of our product builds. We know and appreciate the value we bring to the table, especially in the medical, aerospace, and defense industries. We care because our boards are used in life-saving and protection equipment all over the world. The better we can build a product right from the beginning, the greater the opportunity is that it will be used to save lives. That is a tremendous responsibility we take to heart.

The reality is that even the slightest bit of carelessness at the front end is almost statistically impossible to catch and repair. When teams of people are on a time schedule weighed down by organizations intent on increases revues by building higher volumes of the same product, they are bound to miss errors. These companies rely on rework to fix the problem instead of addressing it from the beginning.

If a mistake is made with a build of 5 boards, it is a challenge but not impossible to make satisfactory repairs. However, when the quantities increase, errors are genuinely impossible to catch. They ultimately rely on the customers debugging and sending back the product for rework, often more than once. This risk is growing exponentially day to day since parts are getting smaller and higher density goes hand in hand with miniaturization.


To build the board correctly from the beginning effectively avoids any rework. This is a proactive rather than reactive strategy. We track this by our first pass yield, which measures how many internal defects have to be fixed. In 2014 we introduced 100% nitrogen reflow, substantially decreasing rework rates. Together with other process improvements, our first pass yield is over 98%. In fact, we only have a single rework person for internal defect repairs. They spend most of their time doing external reworks – a service we often perform for large-scale OEMs manufacturing products in high volumes offshore.

In contrast, most competitors have rooms full of technicians overwhelmed with being tasked to fix mistakes. Customers rarely ask how many times their boards are reworked. The high-risk projects we undertake ask those questions and are a significant reason we have had such success in the medical, defense, and aerospace industries.


When a board the size of a piece of paper that can have thousands ofparts on it, some as wide as a few human hairs, is assembled with less regard to quality, regardless of how many people inspect and rework the product defects can be missed.Factor in the requirement for certain components heat cycle limits and the simple fact that human rework can create new unexpected defects in the process.


– Bob Ebeling • Engineer

Could the Challenger disaster have been prevented?

The Challenger accident was caused by a design flaw in the spacecraft’s O-rings. These mechanical gaskets are designed to be seated in a groove and then compressed between two surfaces, creating a seal. That seal helps to prevent liquids or gases from escaping.

The morning of the 1986 space flight was much colder than previous Challenger launches. As a result, the primary O-ring became cold and hard, preventing a quality seal. A structural failure occurred when pressurized burning gas from the solid rocket motor reached the external fuel tank, which then disintegrated, leading to Challenger being ripped apart.

Sadly, it was known that O-rings could fail. In fact, Allan McDonald, former director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for Morton-Thiokol, the contractor behind the design of the O-rings, had previously raised concerns that the below-freezing temperatures could negatively impact the integrity of the rocket’s O-rings.

The point is, had the manufacturer or the designer been properly acknowledged, this tragic event in world history could have been prevented. This is a valuable lesson we take to heart.


We pride ourselves on being solution providers. Our services include the standards involved in building electronics and offering the same quality when we support mechanical projects using CAD and design efficiency analysis.

A Point of Pride

The projects we have found most rewarding involve helping customers troubleshoot PCBs that were manufactured by their CM, and were suddenly abandoned. We allow for a simple complimentary visual inspection performed with no absolution, focused on general defects based on just assembly. Depending on the findings, we can perform a deeper analysis at the component level, verifying the correct values as well as polarity, and run through an AOI or Flying Probe Analysis. We have often found that a project stalls when the boards are not functional due to a flaw that was missed or overlooked in the design process.

The fact is that design plays a crucial role. There is a deep satisfaction in successfully building the same product after fixing any design flaws. Proof that a poor design assembled correctly will expeditiously allow for the discovery of such a mistake, but a good design assembled incorrectly can be catastrophic.

This experience informs clients about the opportunity to learn more about their project, gain confidence in their efforts, and most importantly, realize the difference that building with the highest level of quality from the beginning is priceless. This philosophy is reflected in our record, with less than 1% of the boards we have faced were capable of working the first time, a proud record that OEMs should know and set their CMs expectations level of service on a consistent basis.



Optimizing printing and reflow processes can alleviate almost 80% of defects

Source: Indium Corporation


Reducing Oxidation resulting in a cleaner solder joint. Critical for POP.


Xray to 5 Microns / AOI Functional Test / Dedicated Customer Testing Area/Complete Blackout

Consult with us about solving production issues


Zoltan Says

“I have been a satisfied customer of Surface Art for 25 years, including 12 years as engineering manager of C-Cube Semiconductor, LSI Logic and Marvell Semiconductor in California,and 13 years holding similar positions in Sydney, Australia. Surface Art have been my go-to PCB assembler, turn-key manufacturer, and rework service provider when the project required quality, short turn-around time, and reliable customer service. I have been impressed by the value Surface Art have been able to deliver consistently, in the face of competition from China: several RFQ’s we conducted over the last decade confirmed that when pricing, quality, speed, and service were all put together, Surface Art have remained a strong contender, and there was no reason for us to look elsewhere.

I have always appreciated the prompt, effective, clear communication we were able to have with Surface Art, and the large number of projects they completed without any mistakes at all. Over the last 25 years, I cannot recall a single incident of a major mistake or production defect that had an impact on our project execution.

Surface Art have often impressed me with their rework capabilities. They have removed, decapped, repopulated many chips in delicate situations without damaging the parts,and completed many challenging board-level reworks for us.”


• Principal Electronics Engineer / Aerial Imaging Technology Company

Ann Says

“I have worked with Surface Art for over 20 years.During that time we have relied on SAE for high quality, on time delivery and great customer service.We have always received the best of all three.
Although there are too many examples of how they have done an outstanding job, to list here I can say they have never missed a shipment nor had a quality issue that impacted any of our clients.
I would recommend SAE to any and all potential clients who value a high level contract manufacturer. They are best in class.”


• President / SEMS

Cindy Says

“Working with Surface Art over the past 15 years has been a wonderful experience. They help me to keep on track with my project timelines because I can tell them what lead time I want rather than being told they need 3-4 weeks to complete. Every product I have received has met my quality requirements and I have never had to return anything for re-work. Working with them takes the stress off of me knowing that I will get what I asked for when I asked for it. I have yet to find another manufacturer that can meet my expectations for quality assemblies in a short lead time.”


• Sr. Technical Sourcing Specialist / Medical Device Company

Jessica Says

Thanks so much, SAE, for 100% on-time delivery.The most valuable traits that I appreciate the most are trust and communication. There were times we did not provide correct information; SAE still works its best to help us.


• Director of Manufacturing & Supply Chain / IOT company

George Says

“Surface Art has been vital in providing us with quality PCBs and excellent customer service. It’s a no-brainer when it comes to choosing Surface Art for any PCB work for a project, because I know they’ll get it done, provide feedback, and give competitive pricing, all within a few email exchanges. I can rely on Surface Art to provide working goods at any quantity.

Surface Art’s dependability and ease-of-communication are the most valuable traits I appreciate. Having been a customer of Surface Art for over 4-years, we’ve been able to streamline full and partial turn-key assemblies knowing that the quality of work we end up with is reliable and issue-free.”


• Electrical Engineer/ Research & Development for Government Sponsored Programs

Jeffrey Says

“Our company works with SAE for the past 5 years on the PCBA prototyping. We can always count on them for the reliable fabrication so we can focus on de-bugging and modify our circuit design. They are very responsive to our many last minute demands and very supportive to match our needs. As a startup company, having partners that can quickly response to its needs is critical. I am very happy working with SAE and will continue to do so.”


• CEO & Co-founder / Power Transmission Company

Won Says

“Always can count on promised delivery date so our schedule can be met.As a longtime customer, I am probably taking many things SAE does as granted because SAE delivers. It’s always a pleasure to work with SAE. Happy to see same employees year after year too.On time delivery, excellent quality and superior customer service. Great communications.”


• Eng Support / Semiconductor Company

Juan Says

“Surface Art Engineering has always been there for any new production introductions we have done and or picking up where another provider fell short. There is no challenge that we have encountered, that SAE has not solved. During this troubled time of parts and long lead times, SAE has helped provide options across their network!They are great and thorough at NPI, and then can even support your post beta launches.”


• CEO /Founder / IOT Company

Andy Says

“Even if a PCB is destined for production in Asia, having a local CM in the Silicon Valley is imperative.
For about twenty years now – and across three different employers – I have turned to Surface Art to build early development versions of every sort of board, from multi-kilovolt designs to multi-gigabit per second boards. They are responsive, they maintain their quality, and they follow through on their commitments.”


• Principal Electrical Engineer / Medical Device Company

Derik Says

“Surface Art Engineering has been a reliable source for our engineering boards for many years.
Each assigned program manager stays on top of the PCB build every step of the way from quote to delivery.
Angela Choi, our program manager, has often gone beyond her area of responsibility to make sure the design is built correctly and the assembly is delivered on-time. Fast turn, competitive pricing, responsiveness and excellent communication are what Surface Engineering is well known for, and I am glad SAE is part of ATE development team.”


• Sr. Hardware Design Engineer/ Enterprise Computing Company

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