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36 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2023 Feature Article by Norihiro Koike SAKI CORPORATION e near future for electronics manufactur- ing services is all about automation and flexi- bility. ree key factors affect EMS companies today: the high cost of labor, maintaining a reliable supply chain, and an increasingly high variety of products being manufactured. Qual- ity trained personnel are essential and the sup- ply of both product components and machine parts must remain stable despite a difficult geo- political situation. EMS providers in Europe and the U.S. con- tinue to lead technologically, with manufac- turers in China rushing to follow. e situation in China is changing. Once predominantly a major location for high-volume mass produc- tion, there has been a shi to high-end prod- ucts primarily for domestic consumption, and neighboring countries such as India are moving into the mass-production market. Now, for many traditional high-volume geog- raphies, there is a greater need for customiza- tion in EMS manufacturing, with high-mix, low-volume production on the increase. Saki is upbeat. e challenges for manufac- turers are improved when automation and flex- ibility are given priority. Automation reduces labor-hours, improves both production effi- ciency and quality, and inspection solution providers are continually working toward offering an entirely automated inspection solu- tion. To this end, solutions are being developed which unify hardware and soware, an essen- tial aspect for automation. With standardized hardware, parts management is significantly Automation and Flexibility: Essential Components for Future-thinking EMS Companies

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