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46 SMT Magazine • September 2016 In this so-called digital revolution in elec- tronics manufacturing, we seem to be inching forward. This slow progress may be because the electronics manufacturing industry has special needs, being somewhat more complex than other areas of manufacturing. Previous genera- tions of software systems applied to electronics manufacturing achieved limited benefits while introducing additional costs, so it is under- standable that seasoned management are scep- tical about this new breed of Smart Factory or solutions related to Industry 4.0. Let's take the lid off this shop-floor digitiza- tion issue once and for all, to determine how what we do today, for example, with Open Manufacturing Language (OML), will be differ- ent from past challenges that caused people to move forward cautiously. Previously in this column, we discussed the various historical methods of collecting data from shop-floor processes, and how it com- pares to the fully normalized approach of OML, where data from any machine operation can be expressed in a single interoperable language. Let's progress now to the next layer of activity— where the data collected is to be used. In this first part of the Smart for Smart's Sake series, we consider the most basic of uses for the data: as- set utilization and productivity. Once a reliable flow of information from all the various processes on the shop-floor is estab- lished with OML, the natural inclination then is to store all of the information into a huge da- tabase, so that anyone can use it for whatev- er purpose they like. Nowadays, thoughts go immediately to the cloud, which we imagine is like a huge data repository that the likes of Google would use to find information on what- ever you are searching for. Unfortunately, it is not quite like that. Sending data to the cloud, through ERP, MES, or some sort of middleware, seems like an by Michael Ford MENTOR GRAPHICS CORPORATION Smart for Smart's Sake, Part 1 THE ESSENTIAL PIONEER'S SURVIVAL GUIDE

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