Posted on November 8, 2017
Revolutionary products create their own ecosystems. Take the automobile for example. Cars have changed the face of the world. Their usage created a need for paved roads, highways, driveways, and parking lots. As a result of their ubiquity, communities changed their layouts to make car ownership and transportation easier. It doesn’t stop there, though—the ecosystem the automobile created has large niches for secondary industries dependent on the car. Automotive repair shops, for instance, wouldn’t exist with automobiles. Neither would dealerships or, perhaps most profoundly, the innumerable factories that create automotive parts to be assembled by car manufacturers. After all, it takes about 30,000 parts 1to build a car, and every one of those parts needs to come from somewhere, as does all the glue to hold it together. Of course, all the raw or processed materials needed to make all those automotive parts need to come from somewhere as well. Without the car, vast industries wouldn’t exist. Oh, did I mention that cars require gasoline and oil to run?
Of course, cars are old news at this point. If they don’t fly, it’s hard to get excited. What is new, and what is cool, is the smartphone. Like the automobile, the smartphone has changed the world, creating infrastructure and restructuring communities. Also like the automobile, the smartphone has created a huge ecosystem for secondary industries to thrive in. It doesn’t take 30,000 parts to make a smartphone, but the industry still requires huge amounts of precisely engineered components. For glue manufacturers, smartphones present a huge opportunity.
Meeting the Stringent Requirements of Smartphone Companies
Naturally, given the exacting requirements of smartphone manufacturing, only the top companies— those that are able to meet stringent manufacturer specifications on time and on budget—are able to secure supply contracts with Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone manufacturers. Supply companies competing not only with each other but also with manufacturers of smartphones themselves, including Foxconn and other high-end manufacturers. But with these challenges comes the potential for great reward. To land a contract supplying a smartphone manufacturer is lucrative, to say the least. As a result, glue manufacturers are vying for the opportunity to play the big new game of the century.
The glue that holds smartphone display screens to their frames must fulfill several requirements. It must be strong, controllable, durable, and water-resistant. On top of all that, it must be absolutely colorless and transparent. Smartphone displays are meant to be visible, after all. Any color or haze whatsoever in the glue would ruin the effect. As such, glue manufacturers supplying smartphone makers must implement strict and effective quality assurance processes to make sure their glue stays clean. The stakes are high—if a company ships too many batches of glue that doesn’t meet the standards, they stand a chance of losing their contract to a competitor.
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