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Cybernet Computer in Production

Identifying True Manufacturers in Tech

Buyers are spoiled for choices when selecting a new computer or tablet for the healthcare sector. However, there is an essential distinction between companies when choosing a source for a new computer solution: true manufacturers vs rebranders. When it comes to true manufacturers, there is another important distinction between original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and original design manufacturers (ODM).

What is an OEM or ODM?

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are companies that manufacture and sell products or parts of a product that other companies then sell under their own branding. For example, many of our products are used by other companies in their medical devices, whether as a user interface or to provide processing power. We're proud of our work as an OEM; our products might not always have “Cybernet” on the front as per our partner's request, but they were designed, manufactured, and tested by Cybernet employees.

In addition to being an OEM, Cybernet is also an original design manufacturer, or ODM. As an ODM, we design, manufacture, and sell products under our own name. The products you see on our website are all examples of our work as an ODM. An easy way to differentiate the two is that OEMs focus on producing parts or components (in our case, computers for other medical devices) while ODMs manufacture finished products.

We take our responsibility as a true manufacturer very seriously. Our rigorous testing and quality control processes help ensure our devices are ready for use, whether that's as a standalone product or as part of a larger piece of equipment. If one of our computers does develop a problem, we do everything in our power to set it right as quickly as possible.

Other companies that are actually rebranders will claim to be an “equipment manufacturer” or something equivalent, as it lends a sense of authority and prestige. It also helps justify buying from them rather than directly from the manufacturer. However, these companies don't have the skills, equipment, or processes that a true manufacturer does.

Why Working with True Manufacturers Matters

Both end users and other medical device manufacturers benefit tremendously by working with a true manufacturer like Cybernet.

For End Users

A Better Overall Support Experience

As the manufacturer, we can offer vastly superior troubleshooting and RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) experience compared to a rebrander. If your Cybernet computer or tablet fails, we have engineering-trained technicians who can begin troubleshooting the issue right over the phone or through email. If the issue requires further troubleshooting, the device can be sent directly to the nearest Cybernet location in your region and is typically worked on within twenty-four hours after the unit's arrival.

If a device sold by a rebrander fails, the customer will first send it to that rebrander for repairs. However, the rebrander won't have the technical skills, equipment, or spare parts to fix the device.

Instead, they'll have to send it to the actual manufacturer of that device, which might be hundreds of miles away or even overseas, drastically increasing the turnaround time. Even then, once the device arrives back at the original manufacturer, there's no guarantee that they keep spare parts in stock. Most companies in the tech sector rely on just-in-time inventory rather than stocking an inventory of spares. There's a good chance that there simply won't be any spare parts available until the next production run, which could be weeks or months away. You need to ask yourself: Does your hospital or practice want to wait potentially months for one of its computers to get repaired?

Access to Assembly and Testing Documentation

Another reason for choosing a true ODM such as Cybernet is that if one of our devices fails, we have full access to that device's history. We can check its operators, initial quality check, burn-in test log, and more to determine if there were any discrepancies to previous builds or orders. Rebranders simply do not have access to this kind of data.

These are just a few ways we take our responsibilities as a true manufacturer seriously. We also do everything in our power to ensure our computers and tablets don't fail in the first place. Every device we make goes through an exhaustive assembly, testing, and documentation process, with every component placed precisely as part of our QMS ISO: 13485 medical certification.

Rigorous Testing and Lower Failure Rates

We also conduct a 12-hour burn-in test for every single device we sell. During these twelve hours, the device is pushed to the limits of its processing power and memory to ensure that everything in the device is functioning properly and that it won't fail under operating stress. To be clear, we don't mean a single sample from an order or production run but every single computer or tablet that leaves our assembly line. That's why our products boast a failure rate of under 0.5% over a 7-year life expectancy.

For Device Manufacturers

One of the most essential qualities for device manufacturers when choosing a partner is reliability. The last thing you want is an undocumented change in a computer's components that causes it to not work with your own products.

Full Control of the Manufacturing Process

That's why we exercise full control of our manufacturing process, from the initial design to the last model leaving the assembly line. Once a customer provides their custom image for a device, we do not make any modifications to it outside of those requested by the customer. Additionally, we guarantee a life cycle of at least 5 to 7 years for every product we release.

As a manufacturer, we are extremely strict about our bill of materials management and revision control. We understand that a change on our part often requires retesting and sometimes recertifying whatever device our products are integrated into. That's why we avoid doing so unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

ISO:13485 Certification

One of our major qualifications as a manufacturer of medical-grade devices is our ISO:13485 certification. ISO:13485 specifies the prerequisites for a quality management system and our ability to take customer feedback or requirements. We take this certification extremely seriously, and we are audited every single year by an independent third party to maintain it. While ISO:13485 only applies to medical devices, we bring this same sense of precision and high quality standards to our industrial and enterprise computer solutions as well.

Experience and Integrating Feedback from Customers

Another advantage of being a true manufacturer is that in addition to selling our products to other device manufacturers, we also sell to end users under our own brand. We don't have to rely on focus groups or market assessments; our feedback comes directly from our customers.

Everything our customers tell our sales & support staff goes back to our product development and R&D teams, where we can integrate it into the next generation of devices we create. This can be as important as a computer's processor options or as simple as where the rechargeable batteries plug in. This means that during the design process, we can collaborate and provide feedback that rebranders can't.

How to Tell if a Company is a True Manufacturer

We don't expect you to just take our word for all this. So, we'll share some quick and easy ways you can identify if a company is truly a manufacturer like they claim they are.

Manufacturing Computer

Look for the Logo on the Motherboard

A common place computer manufacturers place their branding is directly on the motherboard. Cybernet motherboards are proprietary designs, and we proudly put our mark on every single one we produce. Because rebranders don't have access to the computer's motherboard during the manufacturing process, you won't find their logo present.

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Ask for the UL60601-1 Certificate

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) requires all electronic medical devices be tested to ensure they do not accidentally shock the user or patient. Once the device passes these tests, the original manufacturer will be issued a certificate and test report verifying the results. By asking for a device's UL60601-1 certificate, you can determine who manufactured it.

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Look at the Full UL60601-1 Test Report

There is a catch, however. Rebranders can request that their name be attached to the UL certificate to try and pass off as a manufacturer. However, they cannot have their name added to the full 140+ page test report. Also, the certificate's report reference number should match the report number on the test report. If a company is unwilling to provide the full test report or does not have their name on it, they are a rebrander.

Want Cybernet's Full UL60601-1 Test Report?

Manufacturing Computer

Check for the FCC Label

Lastly, you can determine who the manufacturer of a PC is by checking the FCC label located on the PC. The manufacturer will put their logo next to the FCC's to clearly denote who designed and manufactured the product. Be aware however, that rebranders can request their logo to be added to the label alongside the original manufacturers. If your computer's label features multiple logos, try one of the previous methods we've suggested just to be certain.

Questions to Ask the Manufacturer

Along with physical evidence like the previous examples, there are questions you can ask a company's representatives that will reveal if they are the manufacturer that they claim to be.

How long does tech support or repairs take?

At Cybernet, our direct access to assembly tools, spare parts, and expertise allows us to quickly diagnose and repair failures in our devices. A company with long turnaround times on tech support or RMAs is most likely a company without those resources and, therefore, a rebrander.

Can you share the full IEC 60601 certification report?

For medical devices or computers, you can ask to see the full IEC 60601 certification report. This report confirms that a device or computer is safe to use in a medical setting. The true manufacturer of the device will have their name on the full certification report. The IEC 60601-1 certification report is not a secret internal document and is meant to be provided to anyone who asks to see it. If a company is unwilling to share the report, it means that they either don't have the certification or they are not the true manufacturer because their name won't be on the report. Neither of these options is acceptable coming from a supposed manufacturer of medical devices.

Can you provide proof of your ISO 13485 certification?

Similar to the previous question, ISO 13485 certification is meant to be public knowledge. You can also cross-reference the certificate with the certification body that issued it to be absolutely certain of its validity.

What sort of feedback or engineering support can you provide during product development?

Our experience as a manufacturer lets us identify points of waste or ways to optimize a product's design during the initial development and testing. For instance, our experience in the medical field lets us understand what healthcare providers want in the electronic devices they use, what features they expect, etc. If a company cannot offer this sort of help or takes a long time to do so, they are likely a rebrander.

What's your process for integrating customer feedback?

A true manufacturer should have a system for taking feedback from end users and integrating it into their product development. If they cannot provide a satisfactory explanation on how they do this, they either are not a true manufacturer or are seriously lacking in a critical skill set.

What is your testing/quality control process?

Testing and quality control is a necessary part of any manufacturing process to ensure that end users don't get stuck with faulty equipment. A company that cannot provide details on how it fulfills this requirement is either deeply negligent or lying about its manufacturing capabilities.

How often do you update your bill of materials?

The bill of materials is the full list of parts, items, assemblies, and documents used to create a product. True manufacturers will try to update their bill of materials as little as possible, as changing it brings severe logistical and regulatory challenges. Rebranders may not be aware of the difficulties that come with changing a bill of materials and accidentally reveal their hand with this question.

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We looked at a number of different manufacturers before choosing Cybernet. Ultimately, they were able to customize their units to our specific needs, and their sales and support staff worked with our engineers throughout the process to get the solution right.

-Tess Royds, Manufacturing Engineer