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74 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2022 Feature Article by Happy Holden I-CONNECT007 Automation and computers have been my passion for the last 55 years, both as a student and a professional. is article will introduce the methodologies that have served me over the years in automating electronics manufac- turing. e hardest step is getting started. I know this because I have designed and built por- tions of nine automated PCB factories in my career, and a dozen more process factories, all automated by computers and the soware that drives them. is article focuses on: • Who should design it? • What should they learn? • How do you analyze and plan the automation? The Journey to Your Smart Factory • How long should it take? • When is the right time? • How much will it cost? Let's get into some detail on these key ques- tions to help you to get started. Who Should Design It? Independent factory automation consul- tants are exceedingly rare and, if you find one, they will most likely charge you for learn- ing your processes and procedures. ey will be restricted to their products which then restricts their choices of solution. It usually is a better investment to select your own engineers who are familiar with your processes and pro- cedures and let them learn how to do the auto-

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