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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2018 For sure, 2018 is going to be the year of Indus- try 4.0, where we will see how enabling technologies including sensors, big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), will transform the electronics manufacturing landscape. But what's driving the electronics assembly community in this direction? The continuing rising costs, OEM price pressures, ever shorter product lifecycles, and continu- ously changing customer demands are clearly contributing. On top of that is the continuing evolution in electronics design and increas- ing integration and complexity initiated by expanding functionalities being packed in more and more compact devices and systems. These have been the key challenges of the last decade, that are, in turn, being addressed by the continuing manufacturing tech- nology and equipment d eve l o p m e n t s a n d advances. B u t t h i s t i m e i s different. I would say it's sort of the culmi- nation of the underly- ing development that has been happening all along, but hasn't re a l l y re a c h e d t h e fore due to varying and differing interests and viewpoints of most stakeholders in the industry. Everyone, finally, has come to the same page, towards a new chapter in the evolution of electronics manufacturing. The pieces—equipment, systems, and soft- ware—have been present here all along. What has been lacking is a communications stan- dard that would enable the legacy and the more advanced smarter systems to talk to each other regardless of their vendors or their place in the electronics assembly line (be it in paste printing, inspection, pick and place, or reflow or wave). CFX Demo at IPC APEX EXPO 2018 For the first time in the industry, a common machine communications standard for the electronics assembly supply chain—manu- facturers, equipment suppliers, and solutions providers—is a reality. At the recent IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, California, the Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) stan- dard was showcased, supported by more than 25 vendors who, in the words of Aegis Software's Michael Ford, "have stepped up to create the world's first conversion of a show-floor into a digi- tal factory shop-floor." According to Ford, this is the industry's induction to what the difference is with a true Industrial IoT standard. "Rather than being constrained by legacy data formats and content that machine engineering teams created many Editor's Note by Stephen Las Marias, I-CONNECT007 Electronics Manufacturing (R )evolution

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