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70 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 of line?" ere is a lot happening. ere is work in progress (WIP), in addition to what has already gone through the line. There's containment and maverick lot containment. e value of digi- tization is that collected data can help engineers and operations management understand where things are and quality impacts of what's happening. Lastly, the supply chain man- agement portion of this is coming to the forefront because of electronic compo- nent and mechanical part shortages. "Where are my components? What are my lead times? Who are my approved vendors? Has there been a natural disaster and I need to engage second source supply? Which suppliers have been qualified? Am I getting hit with tariffs? Should I consider switching to a regional or alternate geography source? Believe it or not, digitization at an industry level is still in its infancy. It needs to be utilized and applied in the factory, in the supply chain management, and most importantly, between companies. is is where things really start to gain value. If you look at topics that encompass Industry 4.0, specifically things like digital twin, AI, and machine learning, they are wonderful enablers that will provide value. But they cannot—and will not—happen if you don't have a proper data infrastructure. ese are prerequisites. Industry 4.0 will take off when we can digitize and have the data collected. Digitization is the number one topic for Industry 4.0. Johnson: Can we expect to see more research papers submitted on Factory of the Future type topics on digital transformation at the APEX EXPO Technical Conference? Kelly: We are thrilled with the number of abstract submissions we have received. As of today, we have over 150 submissions, which may be the highest number we've ever received. It shows the appetite and the interest people have to present and share their knowledge. Last year was our first year for Factory of the Future, and it was offered in a virtual format. is year, we have a full track of 29 papers with contributions from IBM, Omron, MTC, Lockheed Martin, Continental, and ASM to name a few. Johnson: Wow, 29 papers. How do you see these papers and what's happening on the exhibition floor to tie this all together? Kelly: is year we're launching the first Fac- tory of the Future Pavilion. We're bridging the raw technical content in the conference with the companies and the suppliers that are work- ing in this space. e difference is when you're in a conference, we're very technically focused. We have commercialization rules, trade names, with limited ability to promote your company. e pavilion is a place on the exhibition show floor where companies can talk tech and pro- mote their commercial product and service offerings. is is the first pavilion that we're offering and expect that to grow in future years. Johnson: Based on what you're hearing and what you know about what exhibitors are doing around Factory of the Future, can con- ference attendees anticipate getting some of that product-specific information on the show floor this year? Kelly: Yes, absolutely. e pavilion is an open space for multiple segments of the industry to come together, such as MES soware provid- ers, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Also, on the show floor you will see IPC-2591 CFX qualified equipment suppliers of that pro- tocol, and then just an increase in the capabili- ties of those suppliers. Matt Kelly

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