Overview / Main Features
Intermec's PM4i is, according to Intermec's website, a mid-range industrial bar code printer designed with strong, all-metal construction for rugged and secure application environments. The printhead installed in this particular model is a 203 dpi variant. However, as the product brochure describes, the modular printhead can be upgraded to either 300 or 406 dpi units. The unit under analysis here also has UBS host and integrated ethernet.
Intermec PM4i Industrial Bar Code Printer Main Image
Industrial and commercial users
Intermec PM4i Industrial Bar Code Printer - Main PCB Top
Pricing - ~$1300 to $1800 USD from various online 'e-tailers' at the time of writing (March 2011).
Availability - North America
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 500 k units per year over a product lifetime of 14 years.
As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.
Intermec PM4i Industrial Bar Code Printer - Main PCB Bottom
Industrial barcode printers such as this are not an area of coverage for IHS iSuppli research at the time of writing. However it seems that Intermec is one of the leading brands in the US in the area of specialized high volume label printers such as this PM4i. In this type of equipment it appears that Zebra has competitors that include Cognitive, Datamax, Tec and Zebra.
Intermec PM4i Industrial Bar Code Printer Cost Analysis
Main Cost Drivers Representing ~ 57% of total materials cost
Printhead Unit - 203dpi, w/ 1 26-Position Shrouded Dual Row Pin Header, and 1 8-Position Locking Pin Header
Enclosure, Main, Chassis - Die-Cast Aluminum, Machined
Enclosure, Main, Left - Die-Cast Aluminum, Machined, Painted
Enclosure, Main, Right - Die-Cast Aluminum, Machined, Painted
Shinano Kenshi - STH-55D3002 - Stepper Motor - 1.8-deg, 4-Wire
Enclosure, Main, Bottom Plate - Stamped / Formed Electro-Galvanized Steel
Broad Technology Inc. - 4-Layer FR4
Xilinx - XC3S250E-4PQG208C - FPGA - Spartan-3E, 250K System Gates, 5508 Logic Cells, 38Kb Distributed RAM, 216Kb Block RAM, 172 User I/Os, 0.90um
Bando - 40-S2M-140 - Pulley Belt - Neoprene/Fiberglass/Nylon Laminate (Qty:2)
IDT - 79RC32V332-100DHG - MCU - 32-Bit, RISC, 100MHz, 8kB Instruction Cache, 2kB Data Cache, SDRAM Controller, w/ PCI Bus Interface, 3.3V
Nan Ya Corp. - LMM84SA19D2ES - Display Module Value Line Item - 2.75' Diagonal, Dot Matrix, 80 x 16 Pixels, 61.0 x 17.0 mm Active Area, w/ 20 Green LEDs
Chian You Co., Ltd. - 2-Layer FR4
Platen Roller - Machined Stainless Steel, w/ Silicone Rubber Sleeve (Qty:2)
Power Supply PCB Mounting Plate - Stamped / Formed Electro-Galvanized Steel, w/ 5 Pressed-In Threaded Metal Inserts, Plated
Bühler Motor - 1.13.021.392 - DC Motor - 2-Wire
Bando - 40-S2M-500 - Timing Belt - Neoprene/Fiberglass/Nylon Laminate
Total BOM & Manufacturing Costs (Direct Materials + Conversion Costs) $286.68
What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis
The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.
OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing
As per SEC filings, Intermec relies mainly on Venture Corporation as the key EMS provider for the manufacturing of its product line. Intermec also uses one other unnamed Asian supplier for outsourced manufacturing.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
Based on markings, the unit was assembled in Malaysia. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were sourced in Malaysia.
Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as the thermal print head), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.
Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pin-count of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity
We have little experience with industrial thermal printers, so it's hard to have a lot of 'complexity benchmarks'. The Intermec PM4i nonetheless, when compared with similar products from Zebra and Beiyang has component count of 1600 (excluding box contents). In comparison, the Zebra has over 1700 parts while the Beiyang has only 921.
Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.
Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.
The costs of a printer tend to be more mechanically and electro-mechanically driven. That is, the core electronics are somewhat simple and usually well integrated, with the bulk of the 'design' elements being more oriented towards the printhead, and the enclosure (plastics and metals) oriented. Below are the main components around which the design and costs revolve.
- Printhead Assembly - 203dpi, w/ 1 26-Position Shrouded Dual Row Pin Header, and 1 8-Position Locking Pin Header
- Stepper Motor - Shinano Kenshi - STH-55D3002, 1.8-deg, 4-Wire
- FPGA - Xilinx - XC3S250E-4PQG208C, Spartan-3E, 250K System Gates, 5508 Logic Cells, 38Kb Distributed RAM, 216Kb Block RAM, 172 User I/Os, 0.90um
- MCU - IDT - 79RC32V332-100DHG, 32-Bit, RISC, 100MHz, 8kB Instruction Cache, 2kB Data Cache, SDRAM Controller, w/ PCI Bus Interface, 3.3V
I/O & Interface
- USB Host / Device Controller - ST-Ericsson - ISP1161A1BD, USB2.0
- Ethernet Controller - National Semiconductor - DP83816AVNG, 10/100 Mbps, Single Port, PCI Interface
- Flash - Spansion - S29GL128P90TFCR1, NOR, 128Mb, 90ns
- SDRAM - ISSI - IS42S32400E-7TL, 128Mb, 3.3V
Intermec PM4i Industrial Bar Code Printer - Box Contents