Multi-Channel Inventory Management: A Guide to Assured High Returns

Shefali Vasave | May 18, 2022 | 167 views
MULTI-CHANNEL INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
Multi-channel selling is a significant component of manufacturing. Modern buyers expect more from their buying experience, and one of them is being able to access different touchpoints to make a purchase. It is a challenge that modern businesses must address. And it all starts with prudent warehouse inventory management. But how can businesses stay ahead of the curve with a complex web of retail, wholesale, ecommerce, and logistics? This is precisely where multi-channel inventory management comes in.

Multi-channel inventory management is the process of managing and keeping track of inventory sold from multiple locations through various selling channels. In this article, we will talk about how smart inventory management for a business with multiple sales channel can increase profits when done right.


How C-Suites Can Unravel the Complex Web of Multi-Channel Selling

When it comes to optimizing and addressing challenges in inventory management, warehouse management software is known to do wonders. But, when a business uses multiple channels to reach out to more consumers, generate more sales, and increase brand awareness, it also merits a holistic strategy.

Management at the inventory level is key to fully unlock its revenue potential in a multi-channel marketplace. When C-levels are looking for ways to optimize operations, inventory management presents a massive opportunity. It is possible to solve many bottlenecks using proven strategies and established information and automation best practices.

“Continuous process improvement by definition is ongoing. A static value proposition is hackneyed in no time.”

Thomas R. Cutler, President and CEO, TR Cutler, Inc.


Loss from Overstocking and Phantom Stocks

Unoptimized inventory allocation is one of the costliest and most common challenges faced by multi-channel businesses. According to research commissioned by OrderDynamics, businesses worldwide lose over $471 billion from overstocking and $634 billion from out-of-stock orders.

As a multi-channel seller, you must ensure that each channel has the corresponding inventory. Not doing so can lead to order cancellations or delays, or unsold stock. All of these can significantly reduce your profit margin.


The Solution: Real-time Inventory Visibility

Giving your warehouse managers the clarity they need in manufacturing inventory management can tackle the problem of overstocking. In addition, inventory management tools update inventory levels in real-time, so they don’t have to keep a close eye on inventory at every channel. Additionally, a synchronized inventory storage system can also help boost productivity and improve customer experience.

Whether you use a periodic or continuous inventory management system, adding automation and integration with other tools will only help in providing clarity and flexibility.


Slowdown in Logistics Due to Unoptimized Warehouse Space

Distributed inventory is another aspect of multi-channel inventory management that can be used to create more traction and profit. Warehouse space is valuable for multi-channel businesses.

With scattered locations and fluctuating demands, it can be difficult to forecast the optimal distribution of inventory across all channels as well as warehouse locations.

According to manufacturing.net, about 20 to 30% of the inventory in a warehouse is obsolete. This clearly indicates the need to fully utilize storage and eliminate hurdles in warehouse inventory management.


The Solution: Supply Chain Forecasting

A combination of automation technologies can be used to build a multi-channel inventory management stack. The first is using demand sensing, an automation technology that uses real-time data to identify and anticipate short-term demand patterns. Sporting apparel giant, Nike has used demand sensing to effectively cut down on lead times by weeks.

Another technology to consider in optimizing your warehouse space is Multi-Echelon Inventory Management, or MEIO. It has a holistic approach where it performs planning, optimization and forecasting across the supply chain. MEIO is also the answer to the scalability of modern multi-channel inventory management that offers comprehensive visibility and efficient rebalancing of inventory in real-time.

Considering that 51% of sellers still lack forecasting software, as per a Zentail survey, the opportunity for C-levels is immense.


Final Thoughts: Getting Impressively High Returns

When done right, optimizing all aspects of multi-channel order management can yield impressive returns. The use of technology in automation and data analytics makes it easier to decode the complexities of a multi-channel operation. A storage and inventory management system may not have all the answers to the profitability puzzle. It is assured to lead to reduced inventory costs, improved performance of the supply chain network, and better responsiveness. This inevitably creates a powerful revenue generating multi-channel business.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can my existing ERP work as multichannel inventory management software?

ERPs like SAP, Netsuite, or Oracle are designed to manage back-office processes and lack the specialization required to manage ecommerce and wholesale processes. Although they come with integrated solutions, their quality may not be up to the mark.


What is the cost of multichannel inventory management software?

While inventory management software ranges from free to thousands of dollars, the base price varies as per functionality. Some software services charge extra depending on the scale, volume, and integrations.


What are the primary techniques of inventory management?

Most manufacturers use three primary techniques to address challenges in inventory management: the pull strategy, the push strategy, and the just-in-time (JIT) strategy.

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Top Electronics Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2022

Article | October 13, 2021

The electronics manufacturing business is adopting new technologies to create smart electronics manufacturing products for its consumer base. Next-generation technologies are shaping the future of the manufacturing industry by enabling it to create technologically advanced and user-friendly products. Matt Mong, one of the manufacturing industry's leading professionals, stated in an interview with Media7, “Be Different. Don’t position your product in an existing category. Instead, create your category and make the competition irrelevant and obsolete.” – Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca. The year 2022 will be a year of advancement and development for the electronics manufacturing industry. So, manufacturers are eager to embrace new technologies and produce more innovative, more user-friendly goods that become part of consumers' daily lives and meet their needs. To make the manufacturing process manageable and deliver advanced products, we will look at the top five trends flourishing in the electronics manufacturing industry. Top Five Electronics Manufacturing Industry Trends Future manufacturing technologies are transforming the electronics manufacturing industry's processes and products. Let's look at the top electronics manufacturing industry trends for 2022, which will propel the sector to new heights of technological advancement. Utilizing the Benefits of the Internet of Things The Internet of Things is being used in both the manufacturing process and the products themselves. It enables electronic manufacturing products and processes to become more intelligent and performance-driven to fulfill business and customer needs. In electronics manufacturing, the Internet of Things (IoT) enables businesses to solve common production challenges such as product quality issues, changing demands, and a complex global supply chain. As a result, it increases productivity and efficiency while reducing human effort. Industrial units may gather and analyze real-time data and processes using IoT-based sensor systems. Additionally, it assists organizations in managing data and transforms traditional manufacturing into an intelligent manufacturing unit. Using an ERP System to Maintain the Company's Competitive Edge ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a centralized management system for all operational and business activities. The software automates all manufacturing processes and enables the electronics manufacturing sector to achieve higher precision throughout the manufacturing process and product delivery. ERP has the potential to boost productivity, improve efficiency, decrease expenses, and increase profitability. ERP enables electronics manufacturers to forecast, plan, modify, and respond to changing market demands. By using an ERP system in your manufacturing unit, you may expand your business and increase revenue. Making Use of Big Data The electronics manufacturing industry benefits from the use of big data to make critical business decisions. It aids in the integration of previously isolated systems to provide a comprehensive view of industrial processes. It also automates data gathering and processing, allowing for more excellent knowledge of each system individually and collectively. Big data also assists manufacturers in discovering new information and identifying trends, allowing them to optimize operations, improve supply chain efficiency, and find variables that impact manufacturing quality, volume, or consistency. In addition, big data assists the electronics manufacturing industry in keeping up with the rapidly changing digital world. Using AR and VR to Create Consumer-friendly Goods AR and VR are future manufacturing technologies that are changing electronics manufacturing products and driving growth. Robotics is a crucial usage of virtual reality in electronics production. Manufacturers may use powerful virtual reality software to design goods. This implementation of virtual reality software reduces production errors and saves time and money. AR in electronics manufacturing allows product developers to generate interactive 3D views of new products before production. AR and VR are part of Industry 4.0, the digital revolution of conventional electronics production units. Adoption of 3D Printing on a Wide Scale One of the essential advantages of today's electronics 3D printing is that companies can quickly prototype PCBs and other electrical devices in-house. In addition, 3D printing has simplified the electronics manufacturing process, and it is currently being utilized to manufacture multilayer printed circuit boards. It uses material jetting technology to spray conductive and insulating inks onto the printing surface. Let's look at an example of an analogy that worked for Jinzhenyuan - The Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., managed by Mr. Huang Runyuan, Jinzhenyuan's General Manager, and based on the concept of Industry 4.0. (Reference: Forbes) Jinzhenyuan - The Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. Takes a Significant Step Forward with Industry 4.0 Jinzhenyuan - The Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., formed in 2012, sells its products globally. In addition, it manufactures cellphones, computers, cars, and a variety of other consumer electronics. Due to changing market needs, the firm planned to upgrade its production facility to industry 4.0 by the end of 2017 to participate in smart manufacturing. The company increased production efficiency, shortened production cycles, and cut costs due to the digital revolution. Today, Jinzhenyuan is regarded as a model of digital transformation in the community in which it works. Let’s observe the statistics for Jinzhenyuan following the deployment of Industry 4.0. 32% improvement in total production efficiency 33% cost reduction 41% decrease in R&D to production cycles 51% reduction in substandard parts rate – from 3,000 to 1,500 per million Final Words The electronics manufacturing sector is on the verge of a digital revolution that will improve the production process efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Many of the world's biggest firms, like Apple, Microsoft, Hitachi, and Saline lectronics, are developing future agile factories to keep up with the world's digital transformation. Future manufacturing technology will help your manufacturing company make the manufacturing process more efficient and boost the business revenue. FAQs What are the future electronics technologies? Smart grid solutions, wearable technology devices, prefabricated goods, the Internet of Things, and robots are some of the future electronics innovations that will propel the business forward. Is the supply chain benefiting from new technology trends? Yes, supply chain management benefits from smart technology as well. Trucks equipped with cutting-edge technologies can get real-time data on the weather and road conditions ahead of time. It contributes to the supply chain process's reduction of possible risks. Which manufacturers are implementing the industry 4.0 concept in their factories? Whirlpool, Siemens, Hirotec, Tesla, Bosch, and Ocado, among others, have turned their traditional factories into digitally smart ones that incorporate all of the cutting-edge technology necessary to improve and optimize the production process. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the future electronics technologies?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Smart grid solutions, wearable technology devices, prefabricated goods, the Internet of Things, and robots are some of the future electronics innovations that will propel the business forward." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is the supply chain benefiting from new technology trends?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes, supply chain management benefits from smart technology as well. Trucks equipped with cutting-edge technologies can get real-time data on the weather and road conditions ahead of time. 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Article | December 16, 2021

Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction. Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing. So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles. The Origins of Lean Manufacturing The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution. They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste. Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide. When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business? Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business. Waste reduction of 80% plus Reduced production expenses by 50% Decreased inventories by 80-90% Producing quality items is 90% less expensive. Workforce productivity improved by 50% If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles. Five lean Manufacturing Principles Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing. Value For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence. Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.” – Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc. For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets. Value-Stream Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps. Flow The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled. Pull The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP). On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system. An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP. Perfection While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles. How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole. Final Words Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles. FAQ What is Five S's of lean manufacturing? The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment. What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing? Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’. Why are lean principles beneficial for any business? Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.

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Business Models for Sustainable Manufacturing

Article | December 23, 2021

Sustainable business strategiesare bringing significant financial and environmental benefits to manufacturers. Sustainable manufacturingcreates goods while minimizing environmental consequences and preserving energy and natural resources. In addition, sustainable production improves the safety of workers, the community, and the products they produce. Allied Market Research projects that the worldwide renewable energy market will reach $1,977.6 billion by 2030, increasing at an 8.4% CAGR. As a result, we can conclude that many businesses are transitioning from traditional manufacturing to sustainable manufacturing. It’s a good time to be a part of the renewable energy industry. New technologies are coming to market every day, and we work in an industry that is trying to solve an enormous challenge. – Susan Stone, Chief Executive Officer at Ubiquitous Energy, Inc., in conversationwith Media 7 Though many organizations are pioneering the sustainable manufacturing approach, we have selected five of the most well-known companies making serious attempts to be sustainable manufacturing companiesby all means. In addition to the list of sustainable manufacturing businesses, this article will discuss the advantages of sustainabilityand how organizations may become carbon neutral. So let's get started. Top 5 Companies with a Sustainable Business Model The following are five manufacturing businessesthat are investing in sustainable manufacturingmethodsacross their production processes to become more responsive to our mother earth. Philips Electronics The company is reducing its environmental effect by engaging with suppliers, taking climate action, and driving the shift to a circular economy. Climate change is a key concern for Philips. So they are rethinking their business strategies and decoupling economic development from environmental and social impacts. They met their aim of becoming 100% carbon-neutral in their operations and procuring 100% of their power from renewable sources by 2020. They intend to obtain over 75% of their total energy usage from renewable sources by 2025 and to reduce CO2 emissions across their whole value chain to meet the 1.5°C global warming state. Schott Sustainability is profoundly embedded in SCHOTT's DNA. It derives from their distinctive business concept, which dates back to 1896. Their sustainability plan includes responsible governance, workers, society, environment, and climate. “Regarding climate change, it is high time to act. Everyone must take responsibility – politicians, companies and society. We are ready to play our part. We want to become climate neutral by 2030.” - Dr. Jens Schulte, Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for the “Zero Carbon” strategy program Long-term thought and responsible behavior are guiding principles of SCHOTT, which is why they care about the environment and climate. They are entering a new era of sustainable management with their “Zero Carbon” strategic program. Long term, they seek to eliminate fossil fuels as soon as technologyallows it. They are focused on the most energy-intensive stage of glass melting to create new solutions. IKEA IKEA's low-cost furniture utilizes a lot of wood. But because the company employs sustainable forestry practices, your new minimalist nightstand didn't cost the globe a rainforest. The business is also investing heavily in solar and wind energy. This year, the corporation intends to increase its already significant expenditures in renewable energy, to reach 100% clean energy by 2020. It also leads in offering cleaner, greener products. Nike In addition to encouraging people to walk, this footwear manufacturer uses recycled aluminum frames in its headquarters in the Netherlands, and underground energy storage to reduce its carbon footprint. Moreover, it has implemented stringent emission regulations at all of its manufacturingfacilities and has cut its overall carbon footprint by around 80 % since the late 1990s. The company also sells the most environmentally-friendly soccer sneakers on the market. Johnson & Johnson According to the company, Johnson & Johnson has just begun transitioning a significant portion of its energy reliance to solar power in an effort to become the world's most socially responsible organization. Currently, it is the second-largest user of solar energy in the United States, with more than half of its power coming from environmentally friendly sources. Rewards of Adopting Sustainable Manufacturing Practices Many businesses are seeking sustainabilityfor many reasons, including: Reducesoperating expenses and waste Respondsto new consumers and get a competitive edge Buildspublic trust and protect brand and reputation Createslong-term business viability Recognizesand address regulatory constraints What Can We Do to Make Sustainable Manufacturing a Reality? Every business must support green energy projects. Here are some fundamental actions that every business should take to transform itself into a sustainable manufacturing organization. Maximize the Efficacy of Fossil Fuels In today's society, energy conservation is a win-win situation. Approximately half of the world's known oil reserves have been exhausted, which means we are near to the point of diminishing returns in terms of supply. As far as we know, there hasn't been a shortage of supplies. Shutting down unwanted equipment might help you save money immediately. Replace a single-speed motor with a variable speed or servo drive. Use a hydraulic pump with variable speed. Wind, solar, and hydropower can also be used to conserve energy. Reduce or Eliminate Waste Don't overindulge; merely take in what you need to get the task done. At this point, we may all agree that it's easy, but in the past, our primary focus was on reducing productioncosts or time to market. Whether we were wasting resources was unknown or irrelevant to anyone. Metal, paper, and packaging are all examples of industries where this is true. The potential for waste reduction may justify the purchase of highly accurate production equipment. Recycle As a byproduct of manufacturing, metals may be easily recycled and used for new products. In addition, recycling metal saves money and energy since it uses less energy in the manufacturing process, allowing for a 60 % or more reduction in the energy needed to make new products. Final Words Sustainable manufacturing practicesare making manufacturing industries more socially responsible and carbon neutral. This new manufacturing method is necessary for today's period because we must consider future generations while improving today's. Natural resources must be conserved before depleting, and we have nothing left to offer future generations. Responsible organizations have already used this sustainable approachin their manufacturing processes, and we anticipate that every company should consider this method to be more sustainableand environmentally responsible. FAQ What is the difference between green and sustainable manufacturing? The main difference between green and sustainable is that green addresses a single aspect i.e., environmental health, but sustainability addresses the entire system, including economic, social, and environmental aspects. Which business is more environmentally friendly? According to Corporate Knights, Alphabet, Tesla, and AstraZeneca were among the world's most sustainable companies in the Global 100 Index for 2021. What are the four sustainability factors? The word sustainability refers to programs, activities, and actions to preserve a resource. But it relates to four unique key areas. Human, social, economic, and environmental are the four pillars or factors of sustainability.

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How Collaborative Robots Are Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

Article | December 10, 2021

A new form of robot is entering manufacturing plants all around the globe. Instead of being locked away in their own work cell, collaborative robots work side by side with their human counterparts. Together, they form the manufacturing crew of the future. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are more flexible, easy to use, and safer than industrial robots. Instead of ending up abandoned in a corner, they are proving to be serious expansions of production capacity leading to better ways of creating superior quality products. 1.1 A New Breed of Bot Cobots are a new type of automation product with their own ISO standards for safety and usability. For a robot to qualify as a cobot, it has to be used for tasks of a collaborative nature while sharing all or part of its reach space with human operators. So it is not the product alone that classifies it as a cobot. Industrial robots must be expertly programmed for one specific job along the production line. This requires hard line coding and endless tweaking and testing, which together with other factors make for a sizable upfront investment. Not so with collaborative robots. Cobots may look similar to traditional robots in some ways, but they are much easier to install and program. This foregoes the need to cooperate with a robotic integration service. Their lightweight and friendly form factor lets manufacturers conveniently relocate them on the shopfloor from one project to another. This renders the robotics technology perfect for a data-driven, Industry 4.0 work environment. Cobots can side with traditional machinery and additive manufacturing equipment, aided by artificial intelligence and cloud connectivity while embedded in a networked environment rich with smart sensors and mixed reality interfaces. 1.2 A Unique Blend of Benefits Because it is fairly straightforward to reprogram a cobot to various tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume work to meet the rising demand for ultra-customized products. They can also do multiple tasks in unison, such as alternatingly loading a machine and finishing parts from the previous cycle. Here are some other advantages in addition to flexibility: • Low investment. Cobots typically cost a fraction of the price of an industrial robot, but they offer much lower payload and reach. ROI is typically one to two years. • Safety. With rounded surfaces, force-limited joints, and advanced vision systems, cobots are exceptionally safe. This reduces the risk of injury due to impact, crushing, and pinching. Driverless transport systems are wheeled mobile robots that immediately halt when their lasers detect the presence of a nearby human being. • Accuracy. Cobots score well on accuracy with 0.1mm precision or well below that. While they do typically sacrifice speed, dual-mode cobots can be converted to fully-fledged tools of mass production that run at full speed in their own safeguarded space. • Easy to program. Many brands offer user-friendly programming interfaces from beginner to expert level. This reduces the need for continuous availability of expensive and scarce expertise while giving current employees an incentive to upskill. And because they can be deployed within hours, cobots can be leased for temporary projects. • Research. Small processing plants, agile start-ups, and schools can invest in cobots to experiment with ways to automate processes before committing to full automation. 1.3 Cobot Activity Repertoire Cobots are perfect candidates for taking over strenuous, dirty, difficult, or dull jobs previously handled by human workers. This relieves their human co-workers from risk of repetitive strain injury, muscle fatigue, and back problems. They can also increase job satisfaction and ultimately a better retirement. The cobot’s program of responsibilities includes: • Production tasks such as lathing, wire EDM, and sheet stamping. • Welding, brazing, and soldering. • Precision mounting of components and fasteners, and applying adhesive in various stages of general assembly. • Part post-finishing such as hole drilling, deburring, edge trimming, deflashing, sanding, and polishing. • Loading and unloading traditional equipment such as CNC and injection molding machines, and operating it using a control panel to drastically reduce cycle times. • Post-inspection such as damage detection, electronic circuit board testing, and checking for circularity or planarity tolerances. • Box-packing, wrapping, and palletizing. • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) assist with internal transport and inventory management. 1.4 No-Code Programming While an industrial robot requires the attention of a high-paid robotics engineer, anyone with basic programming savviness can install and maintain a collaborative unit. Brands are releasing more and more kits for quick installation and specific use cases. Instead of being all numbers and line-coding, current user interaction is exceptionally people-focused. At the lowest skill level, lead-through programming lets operators physically guide the cobot’s end-of-arm-tool (EOAT) through the desired motion path, after which it will flawlessly replicate the instructed behaviour. It is also possible to enter desired waypoints as coordinates. At the highest level, it is of course still possible to have full scripting control. An intermediate step is visual programming interfaces. These let users create blocks of functionality that they can string together into more advanced action sequences, while entering the appropriate parameters for each function such as gripping strength, screwing tightness, or pressing force. These UIs come in the form of in-browser or mobile apps. Based on a 3D-CAD model of the machine and its industrial environment, a digital twin of the cobot can simulate and optimize its operations, for example to prevent collisions. It also lets operators remotely monitor and adjust the machine while it’s running. All the while, back-end artificial intelligence can do its analyses to find further efficiency improvements. 3D models of the to-be-manufactured product can be imported for edge extraction of complex surfaces. These will then be converted into the cobot’s desired movement trajectories instead of tedious manual programming. This makes them feasible to implement for highly dexterous tasks like welding curved hydroformed metal parts or sanding and polishing the most intricate of 3D printed geometries. Interfacing directly with the robot is becoming increasingly human-centered as well. Future cobots will respond to voice interaction as well as touch input, eradicating the screens-and-buttons paradigm of current devices. Some brands are giving the cobot a face with emotional expressions, hoping to lower the barrier to adoption. The upcoming generation of cobots can even respond to body language, as well as show its intentions by projecting light to where they are about to reach or move next. 1.5 A Human World Ultimately, the objective of any company is to create value for people. It is not an option to completely remove humans from the shop floor in an attempt to stay at the forefront of innovation. Attempting to leap to full automation and the utopian “lights-out factory” does not work anyway, as automotive giants such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Tesla can testify. A significant portion of human employees will indeed need to give up their roles. On the other hand, improved productivity levels open up space to retain personnel and uplift them to more creative, managerial, analytical, social, or overall more enjoyable jobs. For certain tasks, humans still need to be kept inside the manufacturing loop. For example: • Complex assembly routines and handling of flexible components. • Large vehicle subassemblies contain many variable components and require more hand-eye coordination than one cobot can handle. Humans are needed to make sure everything lands in the right position while the cobot provides assistive muscle power. • Fashion, footwear, jewellery, art pieces, and other products where creation borders on artistry rather than mechanical assembly require the aesthetic eye of humans. People are also needed to spot aesthetic deficiencies in custom one-offs in order to correspond with customers before finishing the production batch. • While intelligent automation software can spot bottlenecks in efficiency, humans are required for creative problem solving and context-awareness to make decisions. A spirit of flexibility and innovation is just as important as the accuracy of perfect repetitions. 1.6 Mission: Install a Cobot Cobots have numerous advantages over industrial solutions or people-only workspaces. They enable faster, more precise, and more sophisticated operations while reducing downtime and maintaining employee satisfaction. Low-voltage operation and reduced material waste fits with sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility programs. Many companies are reporting surges in production capacity and staff generally experience the presence of cobots as favorable. For example, industry leviathans like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reaching the conclusion that in many parts of the production process implementing a cobot has been the right decision. Connecting all parts of the production line with full automation solutions is a pipedream. It works only when all steps are perfectly attuned, and in reality this never happens and one misstep can be catastrophic. Whether to hire a human, a robot, or a co-robot is a complex and ever-more pressing decision. Statistical process control is paramount for large organizations to make unbiased data-driven decisions. Determine the key performance indicators, then find the most critical bottlenecks and major opportunities for leaps in production efficiency, product quality, or staff unburdening. Talk to employees for their insights and probe their level of skill and enthusiasm needed for working with their new artificial assistants. Digital transformation should be an exciting shift in the organization and its people, so apply new technological advancements only where it makes sense. Despite common beliefs about robotization, the cobot is an entirely separate product category that can be a surprisingly plug-and-play solution for simple tasks, with programming apps becoming increasingly intuitive. A cobot’s flexibility makes it perfect to run early experiments to help companies find its best spot on the factory floor. Its unbelievable precision, consistency, and level of control generally can make a strong first impression on customers. Not only can cobots increase production capacity while reducing idle time and cycle time to accelerate manufacturing across many vertical markets, but they also enrich the work environment resulting in happier and more involved employees. For many companies, a cobot can be the next logical step in their digital transformation.

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HWAFUNE Breaks Through Textile Difficulties with Porlite by Creating New Trends in Functional Fabrics

HWAFUNE | June 28, 2022

When mentioning Taiwan's traditional manufacturing, what pops into your head may be the textile industry. As a global hub for textile manufacturing, Taiwan has undergone significant changes over the past 30 years. Two of the most important changes are the relocation of industries to China and the government's New Southbound Policy. While Taiwanese textile manufacturers' decision to relocate is mainly driven by the need to reduce costs using cheap overseas labor, the rising labor costs in Southeast Asia have forced the manufacturers to constantly move their production to other regions, turning them into textile industry nomads. Despite these two relocation trends, HWAFUNE Textile which specializes in manufacturing functional fabrics has insisted on keeping production in Taiwan to provide reliable, high-quality products for esteemed customers. Instead of blindly pursing low costs and low prices through contract manufacturing and ending up in the red ocean, HWAFUNE Textile has strengthened the foothold of the Taiwanese textile industry in the global luxury market. One of the hot topics in the functional apparel market in recent years is the European Union's ban on fabrics containing PTFE. Currently, membranes made of PU, TPU, and PTFE account for the majority of functional apparels. With superior moisture permeability and breathability, PTFE has been adopted more widely than the other two materials. However, when heated to high temperatures during the manufacturing process, PTFE will generate PFOA which is classified as a possible human carcinogen. In addition, greenhouse gas is produced when fabrics containing this material are incinerated. Even if the fabrics are buried in landfills, PFOA will not decompose and will be washed into the ocean by rain. It then gets into the atmosphere via evaporation and is transported to everywhere by airflow or rain. PFOA has even been found in polar bears' livers. Considering the potential impact of the EU's ban on the clothing market and consumers' fear of toxic substances, upmarket brands have been looking for alternative functional fabrics. Therefore, HWAFUNE has joined hands with Phoenix Innovative Materials to develop the functional fabric brand Porlite, which has rapidly won the heart of high-end functional apparel brands. "In Light of Future Trends, HWAFUNE Develops Porlite Fabrics with Phoenix Innovative Materialsto take interest in PP membranes five years ago. Although HWAFUNE has the ability to mass produce fabrics featuring PTFE, PU, and TPU membranes, he believes PP membranes will become a trend in the functional apparel industry since the lifecycle of the material, from the production of the membrane and the manufacturing of the fabrics to the disposal of the clothing, is more in line with increased environmental awareness, I can guarantee that Porlite is capable of replacing existing functional fabrics and can fully address high-end brands' product development requirements" -Jackson Chang,ChairmanHWAFUNE. Turning the ambitious vision into reality is not easy. In the past three years, these two companies worked closely on the manufacturing, testing, and modification of the membrane. Besides functionality, HWAFUNE also considered the needs of consumers during testing, such as waterproof, moisture permeability, and even the appearances of the fabrics after washing. The reason that Chairman Chang is so committed is because he has put himself in consumers' shoes in the first place. He thinks environmental protection, safety, non-toxicity, and practicability should be combined perfectly. Product developers should not need to choose between them, nor should they force consumers to compromise on environmental protection, price, or quality. Dr. Chang, who is responsible for technology development at Phoenix Innovative Materials, explains the three major advantages of Porlite which is produced through non-toxic manufacturing processes in Taiwan. Firstly, there are 10 billion pores arranged in an orderly manner on the membrane. As the pores are smaller than water molecules and bigger than air molecules, the fabric can resist water penetration, even under pressure, while maintaining breathability. Moreover, since most outdoor exercises are relatively intense and will create a lot of sweat during the process, Porlite can also transport moisture from the clothing to the atmosphere by diffusion through the membrane, thus providing moisture permeability and breathability that no other functional apparel on market can achieve. Porlite Captures Top Brands' Heart with Non-Toxic Manufacturing, Sustainability, Fastness to Washing, and Moisture Permeability In line with the HWAFUNE's commitment to sustainability, the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) for Porlite can endure at least 30 laundering cycles and rain-resistant for period of time, thus providing a longer life span. Manufacturing in Taiwan is one of the main reasons that Porlite has won favor with Europe-based tier-one sportswear brands. The high quality enables Porlite to stand out from other competitors and meet customers' needs for upscale and reliable products. Both the PP membrane developed by Phoenix Innovative Materials and the Porlite fabric created by HWAFUNE are manufactured in Taiwan. Thanks to their insistence on domestic production, the companies have established a high-tech brand image for Taiwanese textile companies widely recognized by overseas esteemed customers. These are valuable experiences for both Phoenix Innovative Materials and HWAFUNE. Instead of pursuing short-term profits through contract manufacturing services, Chairman Chang and Dr. Chang spent five years developing the Porlite fabric whose overwhelming advantages for environmental protection and functionality have spoken for itself. The goal is to establish bio-based manufacturing processes by using natural materials such as weeds as raw materials and to provide biodegradable products in 10 years.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Time Manufacturing Company Acquires France Elévateur

France Elévateur | June 28, 2022

H.I.G. Capital ("H.I.G."), a leading global alternative investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Time Manufacturing Holdings, LLC (“Time Manufacturing” or the “Company”), a leading, global provider of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts, has acquired France Elévateur (“FE Group”). The pairing of the two companies, who share a mutual dedication to quality and safety, strengthens the combined platform’s global manufacturing capabilities while enhancing value to customers through a broader portfolio of complementary products and services. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Flavigny, France, France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility, roofing, telecommunications, rail networks, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and comprehensive after-market services across Europe. “The France Elévateur acquisition represents a meaningful step forward in our global growth plan by adding more than 450 experienced professionals, a world-class regional product line, and over a dozen facilities across France, Belgium, and Spain. Leveraging our existing reach in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland, The FE Group improves our reach in the important national markets of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Eastern France and Spain.” -Curt Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Time Manufacturing Company. “Together, Time Manufacturing and France Elévateur can leverage their combined portfolio of vehicle-mounted access products to bring additional solutions to all customers.” -Charles Goffin, Chief Executive Officer of France Elévateur. France Elévateur is a highly complementary addition that brings further diversification to Time Manufacturing’s suite of aerial lifts, and strengthens the Company’s global leadership position, said Tenno Tsai, Head of North American Industrials at H.I.G. Klaas Reineke, Managing Director at H.I.G., added, We are thrilled to continue supporting management and the Company in their efforts to enhance our European operations, particularly in the utility and telecommunications end markets. About Time Manufacturing Company- Time Manufacturing Company is a global manufacturer of bucket trucks, digger derricks, cable placers, truck bodies, buckets, and other specialty equipment for electric utility, telecommunications infrastructure, bridge inspection, tree care, and other fleet-supported industries. Selling via the Versalift, BrandFX, Aspen Aerials, Ruthmann, Steiger, Ecoline and Bluelift brands, the Company employs more than 2,000 associates worldwide. For more information, visit https://timemfg.com. About France Elévateur- France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility lines, roofing, telecommunications networks, rail networks, equipment rental, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and after-sales services across Europe. For more information, visit https://france-elevateur.fr. About H.I.G. Capital- H.I.G. is a leading global alternative assets investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management.* Based in Miami, and with offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta in the U.S., as well as international affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, H.I.G. specializes in providing both debt and equity capital to small and mid-sized companies, utilizing a flexible and operationally focused/ value-added approach: H.I.G.’s equity funds invest in management buyouts, recapitalizations and corporate carve-outs of both profitable as well as underperforming manufacturing and service businesses. H.I.G.’s debt funds invest in senior, unitranche and junior debt financing to companies across the size spectrum, both on a primary (direct origination) basis, as well as in the secondary markets. H.I.G. is also a leading CLO manager, through its WhiteHorse family of vehicles, and manages a publicly traded BDC, WhiteHorse Finance. H.I.G.’s real estate funds invest in value-added properties, which can benefit from improved asset management practices. H.I.G. Infrastructure focuses on making value-add and core plus investments in the infrastructure sector. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 300 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 100 companies with combined sales in excess of $30 billion.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Akoustis Signs New DARPA Contract to Advance XBAW Technology

Akoustis Technologies | June 27, 2022

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKTS) (“Akoustis” or the “Company”), an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today that it has entered into a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods. As a result of the expected advances, the program could extend the Company’s patented and proprietary XBAW® technology to 18 GHz, opening up significant new commercial and defense applications to Akoustis. Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. One approach to BAW frequency scaling is simple overtone mode operation which severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In this DARPA program, XBAW® technology utilizes a novel approach to circumvent trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce, at the completion of the program, XBAW® filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire kt2 of the underlying piezoelectric material. “A different frequency scaling approach is required for BAW resonators to operate at higher frequencies above 10GHz, such as X and Ku bands.In this DARPA-funded effort, we intend to introduce a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q factor while mitigating the decrease in coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology along with the successful mode overtone operation which we plan to develop under this program, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology at lower frequencies for 5G and Wi-Fi—specifically in terms of power handling, Q factor and frequency operation relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.” -Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and has entered the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2022, the Company is increasing the annual production capacity at its New York fab to approximately 500 million filters per year. About Akoustis Technologies, Inc- Akoustis® is a high-tech BAW RF filter solutions company that is pioneering next-generation materials science and MEMS wafer manufacturing to address the market requirements for improved RF filters - targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology deployed today. The Company utilizes its proprietary and patented XBAW® manufacturing process to produce bulk acoustic wave RF filters for mobile and other wireless markets, which facilitate signal acquisition and accelerate band performance between the antenna and digital back end. Superior performance is driven by the significant advances of poly-crystal, high-purity and single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology which enables optimal trade-offs between critical power, frequency and bandwidth performance specifications. Akoustis plans to service the fast growing multi-billion-dollar RF filter market using its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) business model. The Company owns and operates a 120,000 sq. ft. ISO-9001:2015 registered commercial wafer-manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes a class 100 / class 1000 cleanroom facility - tooled for 150-mm diameter wafers - for the design, development, fabrication and packaging of RF filters, MEMS and other semiconductor devices. Akoustis Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in the Piedmont technology corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

HWAFUNE Breaks Through Textile Difficulties with Porlite by Creating New Trends in Functional Fabrics

HWAFUNE | June 28, 2022

When mentioning Taiwan's traditional manufacturing, what pops into your head may be the textile industry. As a global hub for textile manufacturing, Taiwan has undergone significant changes over the past 30 years. Two of the most important changes are the relocation of industries to China and the government's New Southbound Policy. While Taiwanese textile manufacturers' decision to relocate is mainly driven by the need to reduce costs using cheap overseas labor, the rising labor costs in Southeast Asia have forced the manufacturers to constantly move their production to other regions, turning them into textile industry nomads. Despite these two relocation trends, HWAFUNE Textile which specializes in manufacturing functional fabrics has insisted on keeping production in Taiwan to provide reliable, high-quality products for esteemed customers. Instead of blindly pursing low costs and low prices through contract manufacturing and ending up in the red ocean, HWAFUNE Textile has strengthened the foothold of the Taiwanese textile industry in the global luxury market. One of the hot topics in the functional apparel market in recent years is the European Union's ban on fabrics containing PTFE. Currently, membranes made of PU, TPU, and PTFE account for the majority of functional apparels. With superior moisture permeability and breathability, PTFE has been adopted more widely than the other two materials. However, when heated to high temperatures during the manufacturing process, PTFE will generate PFOA which is classified as a possible human carcinogen. In addition, greenhouse gas is produced when fabrics containing this material are incinerated. Even if the fabrics are buried in landfills, PFOA will not decompose and will be washed into the ocean by rain. It then gets into the atmosphere via evaporation and is transported to everywhere by airflow or rain. PFOA has even been found in polar bears' livers. Considering the potential impact of the EU's ban on the clothing market and consumers' fear of toxic substances, upmarket brands have been looking for alternative functional fabrics. Therefore, HWAFUNE has joined hands with Phoenix Innovative Materials to develop the functional fabric brand Porlite, which has rapidly won the heart of high-end functional apparel brands. "In Light of Future Trends, HWAFUNE Develops Porlite Fabrics with Phoenix Innovative Materialsto take interest in PP membranes five years ago. Although HWAFUNE has the ability to mass produce fabrics featuring PTFE, PU, and TPU membranes, he believes PP membranes will become a trend in the functional apparel industry since the lifecycle of the material, from the production of the membrane and the manufacturing of the fabrics to the disposal of the clothing, is more in line with increased environmental awareness, I can guarantee that Porlite is capable of replacing existing functional fabrics and can fully address high-end brands' product development requirements" -Jackson Chang,ChairmanHWAFUNE. Turning the ambitious vision into reality is not easy. In the past three years, these two companies worked closely on the manufacturing, testing, and modification of the membrane. Besides functionality, HWAFUNE also considered the needs of consumers during testing, such as waterproof, moisture permeability, and even the appearances of the fabrics after washing. The reason that Chairman Chang is so committed is because he has put himself in consumers' shoes in the first place. He thinks environmental protection, safety, non-toxicity, and practicability should be combined perfectly. Product developers should not need to choose between them, nor should they force consumers to compromise on environmental protection, price, or quality. Dr. Chang, who is responsible for technology development at Phoenix Innovative Materials, explains the three major advantages of Porlite which is produced through non-toxic manufacturing processes in Taiwan. Firstly, there are 10 billion pores arranged in an orderly manner on the membrane. As the pores are smaller than water molecules and bigger than air molecules, the fabric can resist water penetration, even under pressure, while maintaining breathability. Moreover, since most outdoor exercises are relatively intense and will create a lot of sweat during the process, Porlite can also transport moisture from the clothing to the atmosphere by diffusion through the membrane, thus providing moisture permeability and breathability that no other functional apparel on market can achieve. Porlite Captures Top Brands' Heart with Non-Toxic Manufacturing, Sustainability, Fastness to Washing, and Moisture Permeability In line with the HWAFUNE's commitment to sustainability, the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) for Porlite can endure at least 30 laundering cycles and rain-resistant for period of time, thus providing a longer life span. Manufacturing in Taiwan is one of the main reasons that Porlite has won favor with Europe-based tier-one sportswear brands. The high quality enables Porlite to stand out from other competitors and meet customers' needs for upscale and reliable products. Both the PP membrane developed by Phoenix Innovative Materials and the Porlite fabric created by HWAFUNE are manufactured in Taiwan. Thanks to their insistence on domestic production, the companies have established a high-tech brand image for Taiwanese textile companies widely recognized by overseas esteemed customers. These are valuable experiences for both Phoenix Innovative Materials and HWAFUNE. Instead of pursuing short-term profits through contract manufacturing services, Chairman Chang and Dr. Chang spent five years developing the Porlite fabric whose overwhelming advantages for environmental protection and functionality have spoken for itself. The goal is to establish bio-based manufacturing processes by using natural materials such as weeds as raw materials and to provide biodegradable products in 10 years.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Time Manufacturing Company Acquires France Elévateur

France Elévateur | June 28, 2022

H.I.G. Capital ("H.I.G."), a leading global alternative investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Time Manufacturing Holdings, LLC (“Time Manufacturing” or the “Company”), a leading, global provider of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts, has acquired France Elévateur (“FE Group”). The pairing of the two companies, who share a mutual dedication to quality and safety, strengthens the combined platform’s global manufacturing capabilities while enhancing value to customers through a broader portfolio of complementary products and services. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Flavigny, France, France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility, roofing, telecommunications, rail networks, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and comprehensive after-market services across Europe. “The France Elévateur acquisition represents a meaningful step forward in our global growth plan by adding more than 450 experienced professionals, a world-class regional product line, and over a dozen facilities across France, Belgium, and Spain. Leveraging our existing reach in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland, The FE Group improves our reach in the important national markets of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Eastern France and Spain.” -Curt Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Time Manufacturing Company. “Together, Time Manufacturing and France Elévateur can leverage their combined portfolio of vehicle-mounted access products to bring additional solutions to all customers.” -Charles Goffin, Chief Executive Officer of France Elévateur. France Elévateur is a highly complementary addition that brings further diversification to Time Manufacturing’s suite of aerial lifts, and strengthens the Company’s global leadership position, said Tenno Tsai, Head of North American Industrials at H.I.G. Klaas Reineke, Managing Director at H.I.G., added, We are thrilled to continue supporting management and the Company in their efforts to enhance our European operations, particularly in the utility and telecommunications end markets. About Time Manufacturing Company- Time Manufacturing Company is a global manufacturer of bucket trucks, digger derricks, cable placers, truck bodies, buckets, and other specialty equipment for electric utility, telecommunications infrastructure, bridge inspection, tree care, and other fleet-supported industries. Selling via the Versalift, BrandFX, Aspen Aerials, Ruthmann, Steiger, Ecoline and Bluelift brands, the Company employs more than 2,000 associates worldwide. For more information, visit https://timemfg.com. About France Elévateur- France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility lines, roofing, telecommunications networks, rail networks, equipment rental, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and after-sales services across Europe. For more information, visit https://france-elevateur.fr. About H.I.G. Capital- H.I.G. is a leading global alternative assets investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management.* Based in Miami, and with offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta in the U.S., as well as international affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, H.I.G. specializes in providing both debt and equity capital to small and mid-sized companies, utilizing a flexible and operationally focused/ value-added approach: H.I.G.’s equity funds invest in management buyouts, recapitalizations and corporate carve-outs of both profitable as well as underperforming manufacturing and service businesses. H.I.G.’s debt funds invest in senior, unitranche and junior debt financing to companies across the size spectrum, both on a primary (direct origination) basis, as well as in the secondary markets. H.I.G. is also a leading CLO manager, through its WhiteHorse family of vehicles, and manages a publicly traded BDC, WhiteHorse Finance. H.I.G.’s real estate funds invest in value-added properties, which can benefit from improved asset management practices. H.I.G. Infrastructure focuses on making value-add and core plus investments in the infrastructure sector. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 300 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 100 companies with combined sales in excess of $30 billion.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Akoustis Signs New DARPA Contract to Advance XBAW Technology

Akoustis Technologies | June 27, 2022

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKTS) (“Akoustis” or the “Company”), an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today that it has entered into a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods. As a result of the expected advances, the program could extend the Company’s patented and proprietary XBAW® technology to 18 GHz, opening up significant new commercial and defense applications to Akoustis. Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. One approach to BAW frequency scaling is simple overtone mode operation which severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In this DARPA program, XBAW® technology utilizes a novel approach to circumvent trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce, at the completion of the program, XBAW® filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire kt2 of the underlying piezoelectric material. “A different frequency scaling approach is required for BAW resonators to operate at higher frequencies above 10GHz, such as X and Ku bands.In this DARPA-funded effort, we intend to introduce a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q factor while mitigating the decrease in coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology along with the successful mode overtone operation which we plan to develop under this program, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology at lower frequencies for 5G and Wi-Fi—specifically in terms of power handling, Q factor and frequency operation relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.” -Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and has entered the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2022, the Company is increasing the annual production capacity at its New York fab to approximately 500 million filters per year. About Akoustis Technologies, Inc- Akoustis® is a high-tech BAW RF filter solutions company that is pioneering next-generation materials science and MEMS wafer manufacturing to address the market requirements for improved RF filters - targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology deployed today. The Company utilizes its proprietary and patented XBAW® manufacturing process to produce bulk acoustic wave RF filters for mobile and other wireless markets, which facilitate signal acquisition and accelerate band performance between the antenna and digital back end. Superior performance is driven by the significant advances of poly-crystal, high-purity and single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology which enables optimal trade-offs between critical power, frequency and bandwidth performance specifications. Akoustis plans to service the fast growing multi-billion-dollar RF filter market using its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) business model. The Company owns and operates a 120,000 sq. ft. ISO-9001:2015 registered commercial wafer-manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes a class 100 / class 1000 cleanroom facility - tooled for 150-mm diameter wafers - for the design, development, fabrication and packaging of RF filters, MEMS and other semiconductor devices. Akoustis Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in the Piedmont technology corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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