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60 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 Obviously, the level of maturity within the electronics assembly industry, in terms of core technologies, is high and relatively stable. Experts once required to have a specialized knowledge of materials and processes are giv- ing way to those experienced in the application of automated and computerized solutions. It is time to reinvent the expectations and qualifica- tions that we seek in managers, engineers, and production operators to attract and support a different kind of manufacturing innovation. When SMT first came along, I naively thought that it could not be that difficult to pick up a component and place it on a PCB in the desired location, though there did seem to be challenges at times. Technology and exper- tise flourished, machines became faster, and materials became smaller. With PCB dimen- sions and spacing reducing in line with the material sizes, we saw the same challenges coming around, over and over again, related to cleaning and access for testing and inspection, for example. After 30 years of SMT production, with an immense contribution of technology and work by people far more clever than myself in these specialized areas, I still maintain that PCB assembly is not complicated. This perspective Changing Roles in the Digital Factory Smart Factory Insights by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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