When is low-volume electronics manufacturing going to catch up?

Low-volume electronics manufacturing in the United States has been largely left out of innovations in manufacturing technology and quality, despite being a $290 billion dollar industry. While the products and the teams that develop them have become more sophisticated, the prototyping process they use relies on manufacturers that could be described as artisanal. 

Of the roughly 1100 US-based companies that support prototyping and low-volume electronics manufacturing, most are less than $50 million in annual revenue and many are owner operated. There is not much technology that is purpose-built for this industry, so it is often how good the best craftsperson is on the production line that determines the quality of the product. And it’s getting harder to find people with those skills anymore, they’re aging out of the workforce. 

Joy Weiss, CEO of Tempo Automation Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMPO) and Chairman Behrooz Abdi, spoke with SPAC Insider about how their partnership is revolutionizing the low-volume electronics manufacturing industry through AI and automation. 

In 2022 Tempo joined forces with ACE Convergence Acquisition Corporation in a SPAC deal and are transforming the speed and quality of electronics prototyping and on-demand manufacturing. A shared interest in consolidating the industry over time by utilizing software was a driving force behind the motivation for this partnership. Weiss stressed that understanding motivation and aligning well are key elements to any successful SPAC. Behrooz explained that a SPAC point of view allowed them to quickly zoom in and focus on improving Tempo automation.

Get your products to market faster with Tempo Automation

Integrating components and systems can also be challenging, as engineers must ensure that the different elements of the prototype work together. This can be particularly difficult if the components are from multiple suppliers or if there are compatibility issues between different systems. With products going through an average of 14 iterations before being ready to scale, there’s significant risk for costly delays. 

Taking a wider view, launching a new product looks more daunting and expensive than ever before when you take into account the lack of available skilled labor and barriers to accessing the latest manufacturing innovations and quality control.

“As a startup leader, our new product delivery schedule meant everything, but my engineers were routinely baking in an extra manufacturing cycle into the prototyping phase for our products because they couldn’t trust the vendors to deliver a quality product on time, and it drove me crazy.” – Joy Weiss, CEO, Tempo Automation

Why should leading product designers, engineers, project managers, and procurement teams accept this antiquated process for their newest products?

They don’t have to, at least not any more. The challenges are a few of the many faced by teams designing new electronic products and are the reasons Tempo Automation was started.

Our goal at Tempo is to help companies get their electronic products to market as quickly as possible, faster than they can with traditional electronics manufacturers. From rockets to robots, autonomous cars to drones, many of the fastest-moving companies in industrial tech, medical technology, space, work with Tempo from product concept through to production. We thrive in the quick turn, high mix, low volume paradigm of building the early phases of a product.

To ensure a high quality product through every iteration we’re continuously enhancing Tempo’s Software Accelerated Manufacturing Platform. Built into it is the ability to learn from every order, every build, and every step to eliminate errors and ensure quality. 

Our self-service customer portal makes easy it to share the product’s manufacturing specifications and can be quickly updated throughout the prototyping process. 

We’ve also built a propriety smart warehouse system that allows us to acquire any quantities of components and track them on an individual component basis. If you want to make three of something today and then 23 of something next week, we can very readily identify all of the individual components associated and marshal them.
If you’re a fast-moving company seeking a manufacturing partner for your prototype, request a quote to get started or learn more about Tempo.

Most of this blog was derived from SPAC Insider podcast episode featuring Tempo Automation President and CEO Joy Weiss and Chairman Behrooz Abdi. Listen to the full episode and then follow us on Linkedin to always stay in the know.

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