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22 I-CONNECT007 I SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE 2018 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 I am always impressed with the amount of new equipment, solutions, and technologies being showcased at IPC APEX EXPO. It is just my third year of attending the show, but it has grown year after year since I attended it for the first time in Las Vegas. That was in 2016—the same year my colleague Patty Goldman was honored with the IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award. In that year's show, one of my takeaways was the increasing automation on the factory floor. I remember interviewing Rethink Robot- ics' Carl Palme about their collaborative robot, Sawyer, and why it can be a flexible solution for high-mix, low-volume operations. Last year, my takeaway was the trend towards smarter manufacturing or Industry 4.0, and how the Internet of Things (IoT) and data/ analytics was enabling these trends. In fact, I interviewed Cogiscan's Francois Monette, and we talked about how the industry can meet the challenge of connecting different machines, software, and enterprise systems to enable Industry 4.0 for the electronics assem- bly industry. This year, my takeaway is the fruition of all these efforts toward the goal of a connected factory. In particular, the IPC Connected Fac- tory Exchange (CFX) live demo highlighted how the CFX standard will enable manufac- turers to track their efficiencies better, prevent issues even before they happen, and make adjustments wherever needed, to name a few. Although there are still many issues to iron out with the CFX standard, its implementation is quick and easy—once an equipment manu- facturer really commits to it. In fact, according to David Fenton of Europlacer Americas, one of the participating companies at the demo, they were not aware of CFX until about four weeks before the show. Once the company committed to it, it only took them 48 hours to implement the standard in their systems and connect through the cloud to start providing real-time machine data, which—in the demo— may be accessed through a mobile phone. What's really interesting here is that machine vendors from across the whole industry that normally compete against one another have IPC APEX EXPO Takeaways

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