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REAL TIME WITH... IPC APEX EXPO 2020 SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE I I-CONNECT007 81 plenty of opportunities to optimize throughput and precision in the applications, while sol- der paste manufacturers are working hand-in- hand to deliver a product that allows the new machinery to run at its best. Jetting seems to have found its time in the market, and work across the industry is underway to mature that technology. production managers can, at a minimum, wire up the critical equipment. Even the lowly flux needs to do more with less as components get smaller. If there was an area of development that dis- played some disruption, it was in the control software space. I talked to established vendors, as well as new startups, all developing smart factory software solutions for process moni- toring and operational optimization. With a variety of process data sharing protocols now in place in the market, production floors have choices of how to build their data pipeline. With a variety of companies offering afford- able hardware solutions to retrofit even older machinery for Industry 4.0 data collection, production managers can, at a minimum, wire up the critical equipment. What's new is the greenfield opportunity to start using this data in new and powerful ways. I saw numerous AI offerings being dem- onstrated and discussed on the show floor. Tying together the MES, ERP, and production floor is in our near future. In my opinion, this is where our industry will see the next "killer app" for electronics manufacturing, but these apps have not yet made themselves known to the marketplace. You can bet that I'll be watch- ing for it. The pace of development on the control soft- ware side is accelerating. I'm already excited to see what all the development over the coming year will produce for IPC APEX EXPO 2021. S&T

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