Our Made in the USA Badge and When We Use It:
- The core of the product has undergone a substantial transformation from raw materials to the finished good
- The cost of our labor (manufacturing and overhead) in relation to the total product's cost exceeds 75%
- We have qualified [documented] the claim upon the website.
Parallax's Manufacturing Goal
Our goal is to produce the highest quality electronic product, with consideration to the best manufacturing processes, the highest quality material, and a warranty we will gladly back at any time. Manufacturing costs will never cause us to make hasty decisions and release a product that's anywhere short of our highest production ability.
Since the beginning Parallax has taken the highest pride in our quality as an American manufacturer. The benefits of this are that we are able to quickly turn a prototype into production, that we consider our manufacturing capabilities from the onset of a design, and that we can quickly fix a manufacturing problem. We don't sell prototypes to our customers - but even component variations, prototype to production PCBs and solder reflow profiles used in the first production run can create changes we didn't entirely anticipate. If we manufacture a product that doesn't pass our test procedures - or worse yet passes yet fails under a condition for which we did not test - we can do another production run and ensure that our customers are working with current hardware.
If any of this is of further interest to you or your company, please Contact Us.
- Ken Gracey
- Parallax, CEO
You're starting to see a clean, restriction-free Lifetime Warranty on select Parallax products. Being able to offer this warranty signifies to our team that we're standing by our work, now and in the future, without any hassle to our customers.
Made in the USA and the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes guidelines for marketers who wish to label products with "Made in the USA". As an active manufacturer in California, we researched the FTC's policy with a goal of applying it to Parallax's products. To apply this claim to Parallax products, we have to quantify the value of our manufacturing processes and materials before we will label anything "Made in the USA".
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for complying with the Made in the USA Standard means that the entire product (labor, raw materials, and components) is made in the USA. For Parallax this claim is nearly impossible to make since electronic components come from Asia; however, the FTC's alternative - a "qualified Made in the USA claim" - may be applied to specific Parallax products which have undergone a substantial transformation from their raw material to the finished good.
A qualified claim is accompanied with an explanation. For example, a product may be "Assembled in the USA from domestic and foreign-supplied components" or it may involve a significant amount of labor to transform it from the component level to a finished good. There's no clear threshold to help a company determine when to make a qualified claim about being "Made in the USA". The clearest interpretations seem to relate to products made of fur, textiles, and automobiles. And we're not in that kind of business.
Read the FTC Guidelines if you are interested.
Self Reliance Policy at Parallax
Finally, and perhaps not directly related to claiming "Made in the USA", it's our opinion that this country's ability to perform in a global marketplace must be determined by American companies. Politicians shouldn't tell us how things will work trade-wise. Markets (both in terms of supply and sourcing) are now globally accessible and neglecting this premise is sure cause for failure when a business grows to a certain level. Government shouldn't be relied upon to support our business or bail us out. To this end, we need to be responsible for our own future and make decisions that ensure a basic level of self-reliance.
Parallax Manufacturing Equipment
- ACE Protech Selective Solder Machine (KISS 102) - KISS stands for "Keep It Simpl Soldering". An automated selective soldering machine, used to replace the high labor cost of hand soldering in our manufacturing rooms. This machine delivers molten solder directly to through-hole applications with automated precision.
- Haas SR-100 CNC Router - A large, horizontal milling machine that can cut many types of materials, including plastics, Delrin and other non-ferrous materials. Can handle a full sheet of 4’ x 8’ material and uses a 10-tool changer to pick the right cutter for the job.
- Miller 350P MIG Welder - Provides in-house fabrication for tooling fixtures, custom machinery and some prototype work.
- SMT Solder Screen Printer - This is the first machine in our surface-mount assembly line. This machine uses a carefully-controlled squeegee to apply soldering paste to the top of a stencil with a PCB underneath.
- HJeller 1707 EXL Reflow Oven - This reflow oven finalized our conversion to lead-free manufacturing (RoHS). The oven heats the paste added onto the boards by the SMT Solder Screen Printer which solders the parts to the board.
- DoAll Automatic NC Cutoff Bandsaw - We can load this machine up with 20’ bars of material and let it cut them into blanks on its own. Some of the aluminum bar stock cut by this saw is for motor mount and wheel kits and bearing blocks.
- Technical Devices Washer - Much like a home dishwasher, however, it uses a very specific blend of chemicals that clean flux off of the boards, because leftover residue can corrode the boards.
- Torit Donaldson 20-5 Cyclone Dust Collector - The Dust Collector sits outside of the Parallax Inc. facility. It behaves as a giant vacuum, keeping the work environment safe from pollution and the products tidy and clean.
- LPKF - The circuit board routing machine.
- Haas Super Mini Mill CNC Milling Machines - We use two milling machines in the production of steel and aluminum hardware for products. Many products we build on these machines may be more suitable for injection molding or metal stamping, but we really like the high-quality look, feel and finish of a milled and anodized aluminum part.
- Schlumberger Focused Ion Beam - Parallax used this Focused Ion Beam (FIB) machine to dissect and repair the Propeller 1 silicon die on first articles.
- Assembleon Opal-X II Pick-and-Place Machine - This pick-and-place machine places components on circuit boards faster than we can package and test them!
- Epilog 36EXT 75W Laser Engraver - This machine has inspired our staff to create interesting prototypes from acrylic, Delrin, or anything else we can easily cut in this 75W laser. Because it works like a printer and doesn’t require any CAM tools to make tool paths, anybody with a drawing and a dream can use this tool.