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28 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2020 Feature by David Bergman IPC–ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES Earlier this year, IPC published IPC-2591— Connected Factory Exchange (CFX), Version 1.0. This standard was developed by the IPC Connected Factory Initiative Subcommittee over a two-year period to address issues with machine-to-machine communication and pro- vide the electronics manufacturing industry with a true plug-and-play system for any com- pany to achieve Industry 4.0. Since the release of the standard, there has been a lot of buzz regarding CFX within the industry from all segments, including EMS companies, equipment manufacturers, and software solution providers. The Subcommit- tee has grown to 275 members, with an addi- tional 63 members on the 2-17-CN Connected Factory Initiative Subcommittee in China, and 94 companies have declared their support on the CFX website. Additionally, 24 companies have shared their CFX implementation road- maps on the CFX website, with more road- maps coming in on a regular basis. You can view the supporters, roadmaps, and a library of helpful CFX resources at Still, with all of the buzz, there are also some misconceptions floating around the industry regarding CFX, how it is used, the need for middleware, and how it stacks up against other standards for Industry 4.0. Thus, I thought it would be fun to take some of those statements, using feedback from Subcommittee members, and play a little game of "True or False: CFX Edition." ______________________ "Middleware is needed to implement and utilize CFX." Answer: False No middleware is required. Middleware, once an essential part of the factory data triangle, is a barrier to efficient standard implementation. Middleware provides two additional interfaces that can break, which can cause third-party finger-pointing. One of the primary goals of the Subcommittee, when it developed CFX, was to eliminate that triangle and need for middleware or other programming to enable machines to communicate with one another on a line. CFX is implemented natively within each machine and system. This holds true for mixed-vendor lines or lines with both legacy and new equipment. The Subcommittee developed standardized equip- ment messaging to enable any piece of equip- True or False: CFX Edition

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