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68 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, discusses the growth of the technical conference tracks in this year's IPC APEX EXPO program, as well as market dynamics that are influencing the topics presented at this year's event. Nolan Johnson: Matt, thanks for taking the time to talk with us about what's coming up at IPC APEX EXPO 2022. e theme is the drive for digital transcendence. Can you walk us through your thinking on that theme? Matt Kelly: Sure. When you look at the breadth of the technical topics embedded within Industry 4.0 or Factory of the Future, the num- ber one topic that's long overdue and ready for operational execution is digital transforma- tion. For example, it's amazing how many dif- ferent processes within a factory are still moni- tored and controlled using basic soware func- tionality such as Microso Excel. Let's break it into a couple of different areas. One area is the manufacturing floor where most people think to apply digital transforma- tion. is is where products are built using sta- tistical process control methods. ere is tre- mendous opportunity to improve all process steps and to significantly improve key produc- tion metrics including productivity, efficiency, increased yields, reduction of scrap, and, most importantly, highest quality/reliability prod- uct assurance. ere's also logistical digitization, things like track and trace, so you can understand where things were built and when, so you can track when things go wrong. On the positive side, people are looking for demand forecasts: "I need to ship X number of pieces by these dates. Where are the parts in my line? How far are we into that job or build?" But on the oppo site side, and this happens a lot , (albeit not w idely communicated), these c a s e s a r e g e n e r a l l y q u i e t , b e c a u s e t h i s is where task forces g e t i n i t i a t e d . I t 's problem resolution and containment; an issue will be found, and the line may be stopped. "When was it built? How much of this problem affects what I already have now sitting at the end Technical Track Opportunities

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