Manufacturing in its simplest form used to mean assembly lines comprised of humans creating and piecing together components that would eventually become an end product. Today, manufacturing is so much more. While manual manufacturing can still be a part of the process, today manufacturing encompasses humans with automated processes and the increasing use of robotics to make the process more efficient. Manufacturing advancements have had an astoundingly positive impact on many different broad manufacturing processes that impact many sectors.

As a result of these advancements private equity firms and strategic acquirers have been snapping up manufacturing companies. “We are bullish on manufacturing in North America,” says Steve Karol, the managing partner at Watermill Group. “Advanced manufacturing is creating a lot of new opportunities in many different sectors for many different companies. I believe this trend should continue.” Here is a look at five areas that are benefiting from breakthroughs in manufacturing and their impact on M&A.

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