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52 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2020 In the electronics manufacturing space, at least, less is more. There are a whole pleth- ora of reasons that have been driving down the size of electronic assemblies for many years—a trend which shows no sign of diminishing. The price we all have to pay as electronics manu- facturers is not trivial, as existing paradigms of assembly, inspection, test, and quality control are challenged to the extreme. The digital twin is supposedly the new paradigm, yet—as with many things these days—the term has already been abused by various marketing teams to promote many disparate products and bespoke technologies, causing confusion, which stifles progress. Let's consider what the true digital twin is really all about—including the compo- nents, uses, and benefits—and see that it is not just an excuse to show some cool 3D graphics. Size Matters Miniaturization, in one form or another, has led the way competitively between OEMs of key consumer devices—a phenomenon that has now stretched across the whole industry. The trend started back in the 1980s when por- table consumer devices first appeared, and rivalries between the giant consumer device manufacturers became public. One great exam- ple was the launch in Tokyo by Sharp, who launched their smallest ever mini-disc player to huge media accolades. Attending the event was Sony's president at the time, Norio Ohga, who—when asked about his reaction to Sharp having the smallest player in the world—took out of his shirt pocket what appeared to be a prototype of a player half the size, and said, "I don't think so." Size Matters: The Digital Twin Smart Factory Insights Feature Column by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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