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10 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2022 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team e I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, about Factory of the Future. In this wide-ranging conversation, the team starts with the premise that factory automation is no longer a future topic, but a concern for right now. e conver- sation takes a closer look at the need for digiti- zation, upskilling the workforce, ensuring ROI is gained from digitizing the factory and, at the center of it all, the need for a strong commit- ment to move forward as a company. Nolan Johnson: Matt, you and John Mitchell have been making the point that North Amer- ica seems to be five to 10 years behind Europe and Asia regarding Industry 4.0 and automa- tion efforts. It was clear at IPC APEX EXPO 2022 that you were making that call to action. From your perspective, where does the elec- tronics industry need to go? Matt Kelly: First, we want to avoid the poten- tial us vs. them, the U.S. vs. anybody. When we share the message that "North America is behind," it's meant to be encouraging and to set a tone of urgency. It's meant to say, "Don't kid yourself, because there are many compa- nies that are already doing this." at's what I find really fascinating with the Factory of the Future. ere are a lot more companies doing this than people think; they're just not talk- ing about it. e reason is many are lower mar- gin businesses investing hard-earned money back into their operations. Any gains they real- ize they want to either retain for themselves as profit, for organizational improvements Matt Kelly: The Digital Factory Is Now

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