IPC: Connected Factory Initiative Subcommittee's Progress on Machine Data Interface Standard


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Representatives of industry’s leading manufacturers, machine, device, sensor and software companies that comprise IPC’s 2-17 Connected Factory Initiative Subcommittee have made significant strides in developing a machine data interface standard, “Connected Factory Exchange or CFX” that would enable manufacturers, equipment, device and software suppliers to achieve Industry 4.0 benefits.

The subcommittee’s charter states that the standard will support the goal of true “plug and play interoperability” of devices, systems and machines in the factory. The standard would provide for a “baseline required” transport mechanism to support plug-and-play, but also allow for optional transport methods. However, to achieve the goal of plug and play interoperability when one purchases a machine or system compliant with the standard, a baseline transport would be necessary.

The subcommittee formed a task group that created the “Machine Communications Functional Requirements” survey to gather feedback from equipment, device, software, and product manufacturers and suppliers on the data sets and functional capabilities CFX should support. Survey data was reviewed by task group leaders, Dan Gamota, director of hardware innovation group at Jabil Circuit and Ranjan Chatterjee, vice president, emerging business and technology office at Cimetrix Inc. The survey responses are being used to prepare the draft standard that will reflect the necessary functionality to fulfill the consensus based requirements to realize Industry 4.0 benefits.

“2-17 Subcomittee Co-chair Mahi Duggirala and director of enterprise solutions at Flex offered to share the data integration work Flex is doing with their ecosystem of equipment suppliers and system integrators,” said Jason Spera, 2-17 subcommittee co-chair and CEO of Aegis Software. “Through this work, the plurality of machine vendors in the industry have already worked to create machine data and control interfaces using open standards to easily integrate with OT/IT systems in support of Industry 4.0 for their equipment.”

Adds, Nancy Jaster, IPC staff liaison to the 2-17 subcommittee and manager, IPC design process, “Some of Flex’s equipment suppliers and partners are willing to present and share the data content and interfaces they developed in collaboration with Flex, with IPC and the 2-17 committee for peer review, to see if those formats, transport/communication and implementation can be used as a baseline foundation to speed up the standard creation.”

The subcommittee plans to have the baseline foundation established by IPC APEX EXPO in February 2017. For more information on the evolving standards and 2-17 subcommittee activities, contact David Bergman, IPC vice president of standards and training at DavidBergman@ipc.org or +1 847-597-2840.

About IPC

IPC is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,800 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Brussels, Belgium; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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