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36 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Automation and connected smart factories are the new manufacturing trend. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to enter PCB manufacturing. However, if we con- tinue down the same path with specifications and requirements written on electronic papers and unintelligent production files, human interpretation is still crucial to avoid mistakes. CircuitData could solve this problem because having one language for automated smart fac- tories is the future! With the I-Connect007 article about the grand opening of the Unimicron factory in Germany fresh in mind, I also had the opportunity to visit it in June for the 50 th anniversary of EIPC [1] . I have seen hundreds of PCB factories virtually, but this was my first time seeing a smart PCB factory in person. The tour showed me how far we have come if we use all available tools. Further, it reminded me of the missing links that disable a true digital chain of information needed to utilize systems in smart factories, such as Unimicron and Whelen Engineering's GreenSource Fabrication in the United States. Automating PCB Production Today, most processes in a smart PCB fac- tory can be automated and monitored. Contin- ued innovation is accelerating the Industry 4.0 transformation of the PCB factory. We strive to analyze and share time-production data to be able to understand and act immediately. When I have visited and audited PCB factories lately, I have seen a growing trend—even with more traditional factories—to have connected equip- ment, such as online and real-time process monitoring, remote production, and mainte- nance alarms [2] . Observing this, it is puzzling to me that we still feed factories with specifications and require- ments written on electronic papers and unin- telligent production files. Experts in the indus- Digital Specs for Automated Manufacturing: Find the Missing Link! PCB Norsemen Feature Column by Jan Pedersen, ELMATICA

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