Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is SMA’s Lead Time?
Althogut SMA is a leading manufacturing company, the first purchase order takes a long time because China's system is not sound. China uses metric system and the materials in China are different. New designs need validation, prototyping, manufacturing process and translations which take a long time to do. You should have your own back up stock.

2. What is SMA’s Liability?
SMA does not bear any liabilities for the parts. When the customer receives the parts they should inspect them and report within 15 days. After 15 days it is the liability of the buyer.

3. How long does it take SMA/Shuimin AG to provide samples and mass production products?
It will usually 5-7 weeks for producing the samples if the sampling parts can be shipped by air. The time for mass production depends on the total amount of the purchase order, the availability of raw material as well as shipment method. However, it will take typically 7-15 weeks for most cases.

4. Who will pay for the freights?
If the term is FOB, US seaport, SMA will cover international freight charges, custom entry charge, custom duty, seaport warehouse and/or pallet charge, DAD, IT H/C, DOC, message/postage charge, and CFS fee. The US domestic freight must be paid by customer. In order to avoid the demurrage fee, customers should arrange their own trucking company to pick up the freight as quick as possible once received the delivery order from SMA Connecticut office or SMA logistics agent in New York. However, the Port exam fee and US port security check charge should be paid by the customer too.

5. Where are your products manufactured and shipped from?
All the purchase orders will be executed in China and ocean shipped from China, typically Shanghai and Shenzhen/Hong Kong seaport.

6. Why does SMA/Shuimin AG charge the tooling/setup/engineering fee? And why are they non-refundable?
Please be advised that all the parts or products will be produced in China. That is absolutely different from order something next door or local supplier. SMA is leading company for customized products that are manufactured in China. Thus, after SMA Connecticut office or other sales office received the purchase order, there are 150 steps that need to process the purchase order. Over 100 SMA employees will directly or indirectly deal or handle it, that will include, our marketing department, information center, financial department, production management in US, our Shanghai office, engineering group, raw material purchase and search division, tooling and setup group, plant manager office, plant quality check team, packaging division, warehouse handler (both US and China), Chinese export and import specialist, international shipping agent (both New York and China).

7. What's SMA customers' responsibility in quality control?
In most cases, SMA/Shuimin AG will provide the samples for customer’s quality inspection and function test. SMA always encourages our customer to do all the quality inspection and function test needed. It can be done by customer’s own facility or a certified laboratory, then fax the copy to SMA Connecticut office. After received the mass production, customer should precede the quality inspection and report SMA or acknowledge SMA in Connecticut office within 30 days.

8. Where to save money, where not?
If your company has the efficiency and innovation problems, setup your own Subsidiary or contract with a manufacturing specialist? The subsidiary may cost head office more than hiring a large outside outsource that spread overhead among numerous customers.

9. Does SMA consider the SA8000 Standard?
Yes, SA8000 is an auditable certification standard based on international workplace norms of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Standard is available for download in various languages by clicking here.
A summary of the Standard elements follows:
9.1. Child Labor: No workers under the age of 15; minimum lowered to 14 for countries operating under the ILO Convention 138 developing-country exception; remediation of any child found to be working
9.2. Forced Labor: No forced labor, including prison or debt bondage labor; no lodging of deposits or identity papers by employers or outside recruiters
9.3. Health and Safety: Provide a safe and healthy work environment; take steps to prevent injuries; regular health and safety worker training; system to detect threats to health and safety; access to bathrooms and potable water
9.4. Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining: Respect the right to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively; where law prohibits these freedoms, facilitate parallel means of association and bargaining
9.5. Discrimination: No discrimination based on race, caste, origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union or political affiliation, or age; no sexual harassment
9.6. Discipline: No corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion or verbal abuse
9.7. Working Hours: Comply with the applicable law but, in any event, no more than 48 hours per week with at least one day off for every seven day period; voluntary overtime paid at a premium rate and not to exceed 12 hours per week on a regular basis; overtime may be mandatory if part of a collective bargaining agreement
9.8. Compensation: Wages paid for a standard work week must meet the legal and industry standards and be sufficient to meet the basic need of workers and their families; no disciplinary deductions
9.9. Management Systems: Facilities seeking to gain and maintain certification must go beyond simple compliance to integrate the standard into their management systems and practices.

10. What kind of Mechanical system engineering design and manufacturing tools does SMA use?
From simple enclosure designs to complex electro-mechanical systems, our mechanical engineers use industry standard tools (SolidWorks®, Pro/ENGINEER®, AutoCAD®, FLOTHERM®, etc.) to create product designs.
This development work includes:
• Concept development
• Enclosure design and analysis
• EMC/EMI design
• Thermal design challenges/thermal modeling
• Solid/surface modeling
• Prototype development
• Mechanism development
• Sheet metal
• Injection-molded plastics
• Machine-cast parts
From concept to manufacturing and everything in between, SMA Product Development has the tools, resources, and expertise to develop turnkey products or to expertly fill in the gaps where you need additional support. SMA Product Development's expert developers will implement your solution in the way that best meets your project priorities. We have the experience to meet full turnkey product development or any phase in between. SMA/SHUIMIN AG uses a requirements-driven approach to product development. Our senior systems, quality, and regulatory experts determine and tag product requirements up front. This allows us to fully trace all requirements into testing, resulting in a quality product, predictable development costs, and "no-surprises" design delivery. Your medical, transportation, and other mission-critical applications are always safe with SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development and Manufacturing. SMA/SHUIMIN AG can identify, design to meet, and test requirements of all major mechanical and electrical performance and safety standards. For instance, we'll consult with our customer or their agency (UL, CSA) representatives early in the product development process to guarantee expedient approval.

11. What kind of Electronics design and engineering tool does SMA/Shuimin AG has?
SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development provides a broad range of electronics development services. Using tools like Protel™, OrCAD®, PADS® and others, we produce innovative, priority-focused analog, digital, RF, and complex power supply designs. Manufacturability, serviceability, development cost, power consumption, size, final cost-of-goods (COGs), and others are all prioritized, driving factors in our designs. SMA/SHUIMIN AG recognizes that every product is different—we have the capabilities to handle any challenge.
11.1 Analog devices and products SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development employs electronics design specialists in signal acquisition and instrumentation to design all types of filters/analog signal processing, instrumentation and isolation, motor and solenoid control, and feedback control systems. Some examples of analog instrumentation solutions include:
Precision physiological light measurement systems requiring 140dB of dynamic range
Direct-to-digital diagnostic ECG amplifier allowing significant product size reduction Microvolt signal measurement through unshielded cabling in industrial conditions High-pot instrumentation for production insulation testing to > 1000 KMeg ohms Feedback control system for stabilizing RMS cathode current in x-ray tube during exposure

Low-cost capacitive proximity and motion sensors for medical application Low-cost medical pressure measurement system replacing expensive multi-transducer system
Micropower, mixed-signal, data collection system operating for months on a lithium coin-cell battery
11.2 Digital devices and products SMA/SHUIMIN AG designs digital systems ranging from single-chip, low-cost, 8-bit solutions to complex, multi-processor, 32-bit products. This experience, combined with analog instrumentation, DSP, RF and software expertise, allows us to consolidate traditionally non-digital functions within our digital designs. This experience and expertise, combined with a consistently innovative approach, allows us to minimize component and assembly costs, product size, and power consumption, as well as provide unparalleled design flexibility. Today's products rarely operate in isolation. SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development can design system components based on AT, PC/104, PC/104-Plus, PCI, VXI, etc., busses and interdevice communication through USB, IrDA, Ethernet, RFID, RS-485, RS-232, and proprietary parallel and serial interfaces. Recent projects have used ARM, AVR, MSP430, PIC, 8051, HC11, Dragonball™, and X86 (Geode™, Élan™) processors. High-speed, time-critical functionality has been implemented using Xilinx® CPLD devices and VHDL (developed, of course, under the same quality-centric processes used in our traditional embedded software/firmware development).
11.3 RF devices and products RF (radio frequency) design capabilities include communication transceivers, spread-spectrum and frequency-hopping systems, high-power transmitters, indirect and direct synthesizers, and antennas. Project applications include RF system design and planning, specifications, link analyses, and high-performance data and telemetry links. We can design custom solutions for high-volume or proprietary requirements, or use off-the-shelf solutions to minimize design and agency approval costs.

12. Does SMA do any Software/firmware design and development?
"Elusive" is the word many use when asked about predictability in software development. The pitfalls in process, tool reliability, design-for-reuse, and conflicting or continuously changing requirements are a daunting challenge. At SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development, we've constructed a custom software design and development process and assembled the software expertise needed to guarantee quality software deliverables. From embedded software/firmware and VHDL to PC-based, client/server, and Web-based software applications, we continually deliver "Innovation with Certainty!"
12.1 Embedded software/firmware applications design Our embedded software engineers are experienced in all aspects of embedded software/firmware development—from the simple (micro-power 8-bit designs using Assembly and ANSI C) to the complex (30+ MIPS, ARM, DSP, X86-based multiprocessor systems using off-the-shelf or custom RTOS). Our embedded software designs focus on quality, safety, and maintainability, while our architectures leverage reuse wherever possible. SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development's embedded software design teams deliver software solutions that focus on the particular needs of your project. The question we're so often asked is "how do you predictably design such complex solutions when most projects are late and over-budget?" The answer lies in our process—it's simple and effective. It starts with detailed planning for the specific requirements of your product and ends with a cleanly assembled and audited design history file delivered on time and within budget.
12.2 PC-based software applications design At SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development, we place an intense focus on the specific needs of your product to deliver a flexible, high performance solution that will easily grow with it. Using Visual Basic®, Visual C++®, Java™ or the new .Net™ platform, we expertly tailor your software application to fit your unique product, avoiding the inefficiency of the "one-size-fits-all" solutions common in today's market. How do we do it? SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development uses Customer-specific design and the most current technologies, while paying extra attention to usability, accessibility, cognitive learning, and the broad needs of global users to create the ultimate solution for your product.
12.3 Web-based software applications design Providing the same attention to detail as with your PC-based software applications, SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development's staff of software developers and Web designers specialize in developing dynamic, Web-based applications. SMA/SHUIMIN AG uses the right technology, including ASP, COM, Visual Basic®, XML and PHP, to ensure your product has a unique, innovative, quality Web-based software application.

13. Is there any Engineering & Technical Support in US?
Yes, they are Your Design Team Augmentation! SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development can help you when your Company experiences layoffs, plant closures, or simply doesn't have the resources, expertise, or experience necessary to successfully complete a project. We can provide you with the skills, experience, and best-practices you need, including:
• Product/project planning, analysis, and feasibility determination
• Product proof-of-concepts, concept development, and prototyping
• High-risk design review and assessment
• Turnkey product development, including electrical/electronic, software, mechanical, and/or industrial system or sub-system design, implementation, and integration
• Product testing and certification test support
• Product sustaining updates, including enhancements, replacing obsolete components, issue fixes, and enhancing profitability through cost-of-goods (COGs) reductions.

14. We know SMA has huge talent pools in China, how SMA use these talents to do the value engineering?
If your goal is to optimize the potential or reduce the overall manufacturing and/or purchasing cost of an existing product, SMA/SHUIMIN AG’s Value Engineering Program is the tool for the job. Starting with a thorough analysis of the function, design, manufacturability and current status of your product, we determine the best approach to improve performance, reliability, quality and safety, and reduce life-cycle cost. Benefits typically include overall cost reduction, elimination of component obsolescence, increased customer satisfaction, and expanded sales opportunities.
The focus of the Value Engineering Program is:
• Eliminate obsolete components.
• Utilize money-saving technologies, components, and methods to reduce cost of producing the product.
• Repair product, warranty, or technical support issues.
• Add needed features.
• Increase procurement efficiency.
• Update user interface.
• Improve overall functionality.
The bottom line: increase existing product revenues and profits.

15. How does it work?
There are four steps to the SMA/SHUIMIN AG Value Engineering Program.
1. First, select your candidate product, execute a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and send specific information to SMA/SHUIMIN AG concerning the selected product's design, manufacturing and business status. This information will include per-unit production cost, customer feedback, and other relevant product data.
2. Second, SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development analyzes your product and determines potential solutions and associated product savings to be realized over a predetermined period.
3. Third, SMA/SHUIMIN AG develops a comprehensive value engineering change proposal addressing features, benefits, cost and alternatives.
4. Fourth, your firm reviews the analysis and determines whether or not to proceed with the project.
To learn more about SMA value engineering and how it can help you, please call 877 233 2247 or contact us via email today!

16. How does SMA do Design Validation before Manufacturing?
In our design validation services, SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development validates product designs and concepts by querying statistically significant numbers of potential and existing Customers using photo-realistic product representations. The "virtual products" are viewed on interactive Web sites. In simple terms, products are submitted to viewers for evaluation prior to making manufacturing decisions. Viewer's responses provide meaningful data and insight into the likelihood of product acceptance and purchase intent. Queried participants are selected from large E-mail or other databases sorted by specific demographic criteria.

17. How SMA Put design validation To Work for my company?
The methodology of our design validation services is simple but highly effective: From a screened database of E-mail addresses, SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development can access potential purchasers of your product. This database can be focused on demographic guidelines. Several product design concepts developed by SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development or Client companies are then forwarded on the Internet to the selected recipients, along with a short questionnaire. Data in areas such as perceived value, rank order, style and color preference, acceptable purchase price, competitive product features, and even package design preference, is collected and formatted for presentation. Competitive products can also be compared in this survey. These findings alone statistically reinforce consumer buying preference in relation to competing products. A project manager at SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development will work closely with you to determine the most important factors and develop a series of questions and images that will cast the greatest illumination on them. The questions and images can be changed as needed. The results will be presented both in the form of raw data on charts and tables, and in a Survey Results report that pulls all information together and identifies key results. Through design validation, SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development can provide you:
• Complex survey design (conjoint, discrete choice, etc.)
• Real-time topline and crosstab results
• Instant report-ready graphs
• Managerial site for testing, tracking, and results tabulation
• Management of respondent incentives
• Robust systems with redundancy, security, and backups

18. The Prototyping or Proofs of Concept is very critical for a new product development, how does SMA handle this issue?
SMA/SHUIMIN AG Product Development typically creates multiple prototypes, depending on the needs of the Client and the project. Some of our common prototypes include: Proof-of-Concept Prototype This prototype is designed to analyze the technical and business risks of the desired solution and to prove, with a predefined, working prototype, that the challenges can be overcome and the risks managed. This prototype allows a relatively small investment to prove that a larger investment is warranted. Form/Concept Prototype The form/concept prototype is designed to let you view and "feel" how the product will look and function once it's completed. The completeness of this prototype is tailored to meet the needs of the Client, but usually facilitates feedback about the shape, color, design, and overall look and feel of the product. Form, Fit, and Function Prototype Once the design is finalized, a fully functional, working prototype is created and tested for manufacturability, electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC), and full functionality. This prototype allows for certification pre-screens, dry-run verification, and any necessary user or clinical testing. This prototype is very much like the final product and is used to determine where to "sand off the rough edges." Pre-production Prototype The pre-production prototype is a final, working prototype produced in the target manufacturing environment. This prototype allows the manufacturer to iron out any kinks in their process and is the first step in the manufacturing handoff. Manufacturing Run (Process Validation) Prototype The manufacturer's first formal run of the product is loosely termed a "prototype." This run is used to make certain the manufacturing process runs smoothly and correctly and allows the development and manufacturing teams to ensure both the quality of the product and that any issues are quickly caught and remedied. The "prototypes" produced during a successful manufacturing process validation run are the first units available for sale to your Customers.

19. How does SMA do the manufacturing feasibility studies/analysis?
SMA/SHUIMIN AG will work with you to determine your needs, characterize your needs, and determine how to best proceed with your development project. This might include an initial product/project analysis, initial research, proof-of-concept prototypes, or other steps to determine how to best proceed with your development effort and the resources necessary to do so. When other companies say a project is impossible, let SMA/SHUIMIN AG employees investigate. We succeed where others don't dare go!

20. Does SMA have any sustaining effort services?
Yes, SMA does. After the product is on the market, SMA will work closely with our customer to do product’s re-engineering work, to reduce Cost-of-goods (COGs), to remove the obsolescent components, or to enhance some functions.

 
 
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