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110 SMT Magazine • September 2016 stand out from the other EMS companies. From this, it branches out into some of the things we are actually doing, such as medical electronics and telecoms, which really can be quite chal- lenging in terms of testing and handling. We re- ally require a lot of innovation and manufactur- ing technology development. That continues to be the sweet spot for Ionics, even moving for- ward right now. Las Marias: What sort of challenges are your cus- tomers facing? Dr. Sabido: Globally, we all feel these. First, time-to-market is becoming shorter and short- er. And because of fierce competition globally— because there are too many players—cost is an issue. Time-to-market is very important, and of course, once again, cost. We feel it now more than ever. But people demand more and more. For the past several years now, consumer expectations are more ad- vanced than what companies can produce. And companies are trying to keep up with what peo- ple are expecting. Now you can actually hear the average person saying she wants this and that, and then big name companies will be say- ing it will take them a while to develop some- thing like this. Before, it was just in the realm of science fiction authors. But now, anybody can dream of what they want their devices to be. I remember when I was in grad school back in the early 90s, we were just talking about per- sonal communication systems. Now, everybody knows what it's all about. It's very hard to imag- ine before that a phone or number in every hand—your unique identifier. Going back to your question, I think it's re- ally that the electronics being very pervasive— from something very small, such as implants to the body, all the way to something fairly big— and the challenge of that is becoming more and more difficult; and there's a lot of expec- tations from the public in terms of when they want it, how they want it. It's a chance for man- ufacturers because instead of having a high-vol- ume, low-mix line, right now it's really low-vol- ume, high-mix. There are too many variations; ideally, it is a market of one. And that's one of the challenges again: how to deliver that, in the same cost or even cheaper. Las Marias: What forces do you see driving the in- dustry? Dr. Sabido: People are talking a lot now about Industry 4.0, where manufacturing is really shifting. It's the marriage of operational tech- nologies (OT) and information technologies (IT). It's an enabler, and at the same time, more IONICS TALKS INDUSTRY 4.0, MIL/AERO OPPORTUNITIES, AND SUPPLY CHAIN

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