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FEBRUARY 2020 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 49 create their independent files and "languages" for conveying PCB data, and the inevitable consequence is that every PCB article requires a tooling procedure (non-repeating expense). This allows all the actors involved in the pro- curement and manufacturing of an article to agree on how to construct the PCB and how the data should be interpreted. This is the ma- jor challenge in regard to digitalizing the PCB industry, and this further reduces the possi- bility of optimizing and integrating automatic supply chain management. Reduction in Errors, Handling Time, and Quality Issues: A Dream? If there was a global standard for data han- dling the consequence for all the actors in the industry, there would be a reduction in errors and quality issues, reduced handling time, and increased transparency. One would easily be able to verify that what one has specified and ordered was what the manufacturer has pro- duced and delivered. Correct quoting in regard to price would also be a consequence as all actors would have interpreted the data in the same way. Further positive elements of the digitalization of the PCB industry would be el- ements such as verifying environmental stan- dards, sharing data from audits to ensure that there is no child labor in certain countries, and detecting quality issues automatically, based on data mining. There are simultaneously global elements and megatrends, which are starting to affect the data handling and digitalization of PCBs on certain levels. In this respect, I am spe- cifically referring to compliance and cyberse- curity. Compliance in regard to proving and documenting what has happened, who has ac- cessed the data, where the data is, and if all in- ternational laws and regulations are followed. Data Protection: Is Someone Stealing Your Gold? At Elmatica, we see an ever-increasing de- mand for compliance combined with total transparency, and those who are able to de- liver this product will have a strategic advan- tage. Cybersecurity is practically walking arm in arm with compliance, as it is the essential cornerstone for providing compliance in any industry, whether it is medical, telecommuni- cation, or defense. The questions are simple: Is your data protected? Who has access to your data? And is somebody stealing your intellec- tual property rights? Some tend to limit automation and digitali- zation to robots doing the labor humans used to perform; however, it's so much more. The digital era brings endless opportunities when it comes to manufacturing and purchasing processes. Moving from manual systems and handling to automation all over the PCB pro- duction and purchasing chain will affect the business and how we plan, design, purchase, produce, and ship. Compliance Is King Digitalization will improve the industry in several fields, and make it harder if not impos- sible for unprofessional actors who believe in a production strategy not based on documenting everything they do for their customers. Last year, I had the pleasure of attending several courses and seminars in Europe, Florida, Las Vegas, and Washington regarding compliance and cybersecurity. All I can say as the oldest and a trusted broker to all industries, compli- ance is tightening, and cybersecurity is king. PCB007 References 1. D. Dörner and D. Edelman, "What 'Digital' Really Means," McKinsey & Company, July 2015. 2. A. Annacone, "The 4 Types of Digital Transformation," June 19, 2019. 3. Business Wire, "Global Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Market Report 2018: Trends, Forecast, and Competitive Analysis 2012–2017 & 2018–2023—ResearchAndMarkets. com," November 12, 2018. Didrik Bech is the CEO of Elmatica. To read past columns or contact The PCB Norsemen, click here.

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