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30 SMT Magazine • December 2014 In the coming year, significant gains can be made through the understanding and accep- tance of how market-delivery demand patterns are changing. Some entrepreneurs are already making serious money taking advantage of weaknesses in legacy distribution systems and traditional business shortcomings. A revolu- tion in PCB-based electronics manufacturing is about to happen, driven by the same underly- ing principles behind the more general Industry 4.0 innovation currently discussed in Germany. This will act not only to drive a new wave of manufacturing competitiveness in the market, but will also bring home production tradition- ally regarded as being more cost-effective from countries with lower labor costs. The catalyst for these changes lies in the 4 th dimension. Time is generally regarded as being the 4 th dimension. We are all time-travelers in a sense, travelling at roughly the same speed. Those who spend excessive hours flying around the globe may be slowing by an odd micro-second, but it is hardly significant; it seems only Super- man gets the breaks. If Superman actually existed, he could do worse than to start a new career in distribution. The manufacturing cost of goods made, for ex- ample in China, is a mere fraction of the price paid at retail. Taking out the costs of design, sales, marketing, and management overheads, by michael Ford MEnTor grApHiCS THe eSSeNTIAL PIONeer'S SUrvIvAL GUIde FEATurE ColuMn The Future of SmT: Welcome to the 4 th dimension Figure 1: "The restrictive nature of SMT production has severely limited factory responsiveness to short term delivery demand changes. The time for a change is now."

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