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SMT007-Oct2018

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14 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Las Marias: Apart from smarter factories, what else is driving the need for CFX? Bergman: There are several factors. One of the factors is an increased drive to efficiency, to increase productivity. If you have a smart factory, you can have your staff work in other areas while your machines are solving some of their own problems. What's also driv- ing it is the need for flexibil- ity. For example, if I'm an EMS company or an assembly manufacturer, and I want to have a piece of equipment from vendor A, and a different vendor for my second piece of equip- ment, I'll have a variety of suppliers. I want a way for all of them to communicate easily. If I want to bring in a new piece of equipment, I want to reduce the time that it takes me to have that piece of equipment integrated into my manufacturing environment. Right now, much of the software interfaces that need to be added to have your new equip- ment work in the manufacturing line takes a lot of custom coding. The very fact that so many equipment manufacturers are willing to work together, it's because their customers are driving and say, "We need this flexibility. We recognize the industry is going to be faced with different equipment from different manufac- turers speaking different languages. We need a common language." That's what's driving the demand for CFX. Las Marias: What are the technical challenges, if any, in adopting CFX? Bergman: This is an interesting question. Adop- tion, not to adopt. At some point in time, if I have 20 pieces of equipment, and six of them speak CFX and 14 of them don't, that's a prob- lem that must be dealt with in some fashion if I'm expecting to see all the benefits of CFX. I think that would be true in any standard that you're putting in place. I don't see that that is an overwhelming barrier to implementation. There will be some startup related issues as people are bringing things in. There are legacy machines that people will have to go back and work on CFX for some of their legacy machines. Our vision is that if CFX becomes widely adopted as we expect, new machines that are going to be out on the marketplace will already have CFX built into them. So for legacy equipment, there will be some conversion time to bring those things into use. Other than that, I don't see major technical challenges. CFX is intended to be a feature-rich standard. Smart factories that do in-depth analytics as to what's going on in the manufacturing envi- ronment requires a lot of data. That data can be collected in all the steps from all the devices, as everything has connectivity, and bandwidth and storage is getting cheaper and cheaper. That is not a significant barrier, but there are certain pieces of equipment out there, and conveyors are one example, where they don't have a lot of memory storage. They are simple and can only take messages of a certain size because that's all that was required of them. Whether that would change in the future or not, I don't know, but in its current configura- tion, there are certain devices that struggle to push the messages that CFX might send. We have been talking with the Hermes standard group to find ways that CFX and Hermes can work together to solve that particular issue. Any time you're trying to implement some- thing new, you're going to bump into individ- ual challenges that need solutions; this is one that's been identified, and we think we have solutions for it. Las Marias: During the CFX demo at IPC APEX EXPO 2018, I was able to talk to some of the manufacturers who participated. They were saying that Hermes is for the machine- to-machine connectivity whereas the CFX is for the messaging format for these machines, Dave Bergman

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