EMS: Quo Vadis? (Where are You Going?)


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"Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination… We'll begin with a spin, traveling in the world of my creation. What we’ll see will defy explanation."

If you have seen the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" or its 2005 remake, the lyrics above, from the film’s feature song, "Pure Imagination," will be familiar to you.

The song continues, "If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world, there’s nothing to it."

Imagine yourself in a tour of a present day EMS factory. If you're a veteran in the industry, you’ll probably be pleasantly amazed, but a bit bewildered by the changes. If you’re a newbie, you might be excited by the many possibilities this factory could churn out.

As the song says, the EMS industry "began with a spin" and it now seems "to defy explanation." In an industry that is constantly changing, EMS providers have reinvented themselves to stay relevant and fuel profitable growth. Let’s take a look at five of these transformation trends in the EMS industry.

Come Fly with Me

“Come fly with me. Let’s fly, let’s fly away.”

—Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly with Me” (1958)

Last year, Airbus predicted that the world would need 32,600 new commercial aircraft for the next two decades at a value of US$4.9 trillion. Boeing released its own forecast: 38,000 new planes worth US$5.6 trillion.

This contagious optimism about aircraft demand is driven by an increased air travel demand as well as technology advancements.

Electronic parts in aircraft are also on the rise to make air travel as safe and dependable as possible—and more convenient and entertaining.

Aircraft electronic parts include avionics—components that the pilot directly uses, such as navigation and radio communication equipment, as well as other electronic systems not directly used by the pilot that control and monitor flight and engine performance. Aside from aircraft entertainment and information systems, electronic parts found their way into the seat, kitchen, and plumbing systems.

EMS providers have diversified into serving the aerospace market along with other non-traditional markets as outsourcing in the traditional segments of computing, communications, and consumer electronics has become a low margin play. Avionics, infotainment systems, and even plastic and metal parts are being outsourced to EMS companies.

Valtronic, Sypris, and TT Electronics are some of the EMS providers engaged in aerospace programs. Valtronic, for example, engages in high-value aerospace projects, including airplane tire pressure sensors and aerospace electronic modules, from product conceptualization to integration and delivery.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of SMT Magazine.

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