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60 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 Article by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 For the past two to three years, almost every exhibitor in almost every trade show focused on the electronics manufacturing industry has an "Industry 4.0 Compatible" sign in their booth. As of today, the best question to ask is, "Compatible with what?" There has really been no standard yet developed toward this goal, and Industry 4.0 has been just a buzz word. But for the first time in the industry, a common machine communications standard for the electronics assembly supply chain is a reality, edging the industry closer to the vision of a smarter factory. At the recent IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, California, the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) Showcase provided a technical demon - stration operating in real time with standard- ized machine data delivered from participating exhibitors through the cloud and onto visitors' cellphones. This showcase was 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 digital factory shop-floor." This marks the industry's introduction to a true Industrial IoT standard. Rather than being constrained by legacy data formats and content that machine engineering teams created many years ago, which were all OK in their day before the modern digital needs of customers was conceived, IoT data is now available that can support the most ambitious of Industry 4.0 projects. I went around the show floor and talked to some of the CFX demo participants to know more about the CFX from their perspectives, the importance of the demo, the next challenges to overcome, and the impact of the demo to the industry. Importance of the Demo Major manufacturers traditionally ask for specific interfaces between their vendor's equipment and their manufacturing systems. This has become more and more time consum- ing and difficult to implement. Nearly two years ago, selective soldering specialist Pillarhouse International was asked to be involved with CFX. The company worked with the committee to put together a standard that would work across the industry. At last

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