Advances in technology are ushering in a new era of manufacturing.

The ground rules are changing, possibilities are expanding and relationships between suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers are being rewritten at pace.

  • OEMs are researching and developing increasingly complex products.
  • These products are also reaching markets with vastly reduced lead times.
  • They can be monitored as they are used in the market in real-time.
  • To capitalise on this, OEMs need to achieve agility and efficiencies across their supply chain.
  • And, as a result, they are looking for EMS manufacturers who can become not just a supplier but a critical partner to whom the entire manufacturing process can be outsourced.

Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) are now as much about the services provided as the products supplied.

This service-led approach is crucial in the modern manufacturing landscape, supporting increasing demands in the context of ever-decreasing timescales.

The changing face of products within Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is upon us, and it’s affecting how we work, how we live and how we interact with people and products around us. New technology is changing the products that we make, the way we make them and the way we test and develop them.

Let’s take a look at just one way that – in the next few years – technology may radically alter the things we make.

Here’s where we are:

It is predicted that electronic devices embedded into plastic materials will have grown into a $25.9 billion market by the end of 2018 in The United States alone.

Here’s where we’re going:

These devices are currently limited by battery life and size. But, advanced battery technology is currently being heavily invested in due to the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly transport and it’s only a matter of time before solutions will be available.


The Advanced Materials market is predicted to grow from $195B in 2016 to $283B in 2021

Exponential Technologies in Manufacturing
Deloitte in collaboration with the Council on Competitiveness and Singularity University


Innovative and ground-breaking medical devices, such as robotic capsules, could be developed as soon as engineers can design suitable nanomaterials for reliable, implanted devices.

Which will mean:

OEMs developing such products will want to work with trusted EMS partners who are able to build and test Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) made from nanomaterials, such as printed graphene ink, as well as being skilled in the assembly of traditional PCBs.

New materials will enable new devices – and these will provide new service opportunities throughout the supply chain for those in a position to capitalise on them.

The changing role of the end user in Industry 4.0

‘It’s easy to get obsessed with technology – it is the key enabler of today’s revolution – but the harder part of the transformation is cultural. It’s about putting the customer experience and their business outcomes at the centre of everything. That means realigning engineering, manufacturing and the supply chain around delivering a world-class sales and service experience.’
Professor Tim Baines, Aston Business School

At the heart of many new technologies, including the much-talked about Internet of Things (IoT), is the ability to share and analyse data from many sources in real-time. This is causing a sea-change in manufacturing.


 Investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) is predicted to grow from $737B in 2016 to $1.521B in 2021

Exponential Technologies in Manufacturing


For OEMs, their customers – product end-users – can now truly be placed at the heart of everything they do thanks to the interactive technology at their fingertips.

By using connected technologies and the crunch-capacity of the cloud, data from the manufacturing plant can be integrated with data created by customer activities to form a virtual data loop that enables manufacturers to achieve unprecedented levels of customer service.

And OEMs are expecting the same from their EMS partners.

Lean manufacturing processes and practices such as Kanban, Just in Time, VIM: this is all just the tip of the iceberg. OEMs need suppliers who fulfil products in exactly the way they require and who can manage the quality testing and stock for them. They want an EMS manufacturer who can be involved in the early stages of R&D and help overcome problems with solutions.

OEMs want fantastic service as well as excellent products. That’s why supply chains are changing – gone are the days of multiple suppliers and in come the days where partners who offer service alongside products are winning the contracts. Fewer suppliers will compete on service, quality and responsiveness (and, of course, price).

The collaborative nature of Industry 4.0


 86% of the top 100 companies in R&D spending worldwide are from the manufacturing industry

Exponential Technologies in Manufacturing


Technological advances are also revolutionising the way products can be developed.

New tools are allowing companies to collaborate on the creation and testing of products in the virtual world, simulating the design process and the assembly line before an actual product is created.

service-led EMS approach is ideal for modern manufacturing

EMS partners who can help early in the design process while plans are still fluid and malleable can reduce risk and cost at the later stages of manufacturing. Augmented reality can allow remote assistance from people in different locations around the world to connect in a live view and trouble-shoot product development problems very early in its life cycle.

Similarly, 3-D printing and automation can help reduce waste and create efficiencies throughout the manufacturing process.


By 2020, 75% of manufacturing operations worldwide could use 3D-printed tools, jigs, and fixtures for the production of finished goods

Exponential Technologies in Manufacturing


Data from augmented and virtual reality, as well as increased customer feedback, will allow collaborative research and development (R&D) to give consumers more of what they want, getting products to them faster and cutting down on costs.

EMS: Electronic manufacturing for the future

The technological impact of Industry 4.0 for the EMS industry will see OEMs working much more closely with suppliers that can offer services as well as products. As they look to shrink their supply chains into more consolidated networks of multi-skilled partners, it’s a huge opportunity for EMS businesses to step up.

There will be fewer EMS suppliers – and those who will benefit will be those who have invested wisely in new technology and who place their customers – the OEMs – at the heart of all they do.

And Chemigraphic has always been happy to serve.

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