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38 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Feature Interview by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 David Fenton is the group customer support manager for Blakell Europlacer. He is respon- sible for all of the service teams worldwide, including in China, Germany, Italy, France, the U.K., and U.S. In this interview with SMT007 Magazine, Fenton discusses technical challenges and the impact of the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative on the PCB assembly industry, and what manufacturers can expect from this electronics assembly connectivity standard. Stephen Las Marias: David, what has been your experience so far while working on and supporting CFX? David Fenton: There has been talk around Indus- try 4.0 and smart factories for many years. Until very recently, we felt that it was just a lot of noise. Nobody knew what to expect out of Industry 4.0, and then other companies started to release their own standards under the Indus- try 4.0 banner. Europlacer stood back, listened, and waited to see what would happen. Then, we had an opportunity to listen to Michael Ford of Aegis Software in one of the exhibitions. We became interested in what they were doing with the IPC CFX standard. We realized Aegis was taking it very seriously, and that they had the power of IPC behind it. We've been working with Aegis for many years, so we know them very well. Once we saw they were involved, we started following the CFX standard to see how it was going. We regularly contact Michael. When we saw the original draft standards from IPC, we realized it was a standard that should be very easy to implement for our programmers, and could be a truly global standard. Thus, we started work- ing with Michael and made some test code using a program provided by Aegis. For me, that was the key to making this work. Aegis has done a lot of the groundwork to make it simple for vendors like Europlacer to take part in CFX. We had test codes up and Understanding the Benefits of CFX

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