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10 SMT Magazine • December 2015 eDiTor's noTe obSerVATIonS From ProDUcTronIcA for automation in production lines. Of course, this is not new; for crying out loud, pick-and- place machines are, first and foremost, auto- mated systems. Dispensing systems, reel-to-reel technologies, inspection systems, reflow ov- ens—these systems are already automated. Then why the automation trend? Perhaps because there are still smaller manufacturers who employ manual labor to do through-hole- component placement, or manual soldering— processes that, using these new technologies on showcase, can be transformed to make them faster, more efficient, and with as little (human) error as possible. I also think that the automation trend is part of the move towards creating systems of integrated systems—enabled by the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), data and analytics— that will really help electronics manufacturers take their production to the next level, or next phase of industrial evolution. This leads me to Industry 4.0, a big theme at this year's productronica. Industry 4.0, the smart factory, and cyber-physical systems— trends that are expected to transform the cur- rent electronics manufacturing environment— were featured at the Future Markets cluster. There, attendees were able to get more insights on the Industry 4.0 concept—complemented by VDMA Productronic's augmented and virtu- al reality show, which helped visualize various application scenarios on different electronics manufacturing machines. On top of these technology innovations at the show, the IPC hand soldering competi- tion, which I was able to watch, reminded me of my own experience, soldering different com- ponents and assemblies for projects during my university days (and the metallic sweet smell of lead-based solder, which is not good.) Overall, productronica 2015, attended by about 38,000 visitors from nearly 80 countries, was a success. It was a great show for me as well, and I hope to attend the next one in 2017. I be- lieve most of the future technologies showcased this year will be implemented in production fa- cilities by then. Moving on to our last issue for the year, we're happy to feature the SMT and electron- ics manufacturing industry associations, and il- luminate how they are helping their members' journey to success. First, we have Bill Barthel, president of the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA), discussing the association's conference offer- ings and various opportunities for members; longtime SMTA Executive Administrator JoAnn Stromberg's pending departure; and the way forward for the association. In another article, Tanya Martin, director of operations at SMTA, who will take the baton from JoAnn, discusses SMTA's activities, programs, and how to best serve its membership. Next, we have IPC President and CEO John Mitchell, who explains the association's goals and basic mission, activities, and how it pro-

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