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138 I-CONNECT007 I REAL TIME WITH... IPC APEX EXPO 2020 SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE by Chris Mitchell IPC —ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES IPC APEX EXPO is always a fascinating kaleidoscope of electronics manufacturing excellence, and this year was no exception. Most of the show's content is relatively tech- nical in nature, but it all comes down to mak- ing amazing things possible for the industry's customers. Here are my top takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2020 from the perspective of someone whose job it is to explain our industry and its concerns to non-technical government policy- makers. 1. The factory of the future continues to be a priority. According to a recent McKinsey survey, more than two-thirds of industrial compa- nies are making digitization of their factories their top priority. This trend was reflected at IPC APEX EXPO 2020 in the growing number of participants in the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) standard, which standard- izes machine-to-machine communication and makes possible a range of Industry 4.0 appli- cations. Accelerating the flow of information across equipment and throughout the manu- facturing process will improve the economics of manufacturing in all nations that foster the factory of the future. But when will these digital advancements start paying major dividends? And how can we prepare the workforce of the future to manage smarter machines? These difficult questions continue to loom even as the industry signals that we are on the cusp of radical change in electronics manufacturing. 2. The interest in environmental issues and corporate social responsibility is ever growing. While the U.S. government is currently focused on reducing the burden of regula- tion, the European Commission that recently took power in Brussels is pointed in the other direction, seeking ways to gain a global com- petitive advantage with stricter environmental standards. Perhaps this environmental action in Europe explains the nearly filled meetings of our revitalized Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Committee. IPC APEX EXPO attendees were also able to take advantage of sessions on California's Proposition 65 and lead-free electronics. But it's not just regula- tion driving interest in environmental issues. IPC President and CEO John Mitchell's key- note speech emphasized purpose-driven inno- vation, and that kind of innovation was well- represented on the floor. One company that caught my eye was InduBond, whose lamina- tion press performs using 10% of the energy of traditional technologies. 3. New faces reflect IPC's commitment to the industry. A quartet of new IPC executives attended IPC APEX EXPO for the first time, reflecting the association's commitment to supporting the industry globally. Matt Kelly, formerly of Seven Takeaways From IPC APEX EXPO 2020

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