There’s Something Going On …

This is the term I have heard on more than a couple of occasions recently. Is the automotive industry going into overdrive? Are Artificial Intelligence systems and factory automation growing? Is Europe and the United States becoming more security conscious and beefing up its military spending? The answer to all these questions is YES.

In the first half of 2017, business has been brisk across most sectors of our industry, with the possible exception of computers, cell phones, and white goods, but confidence is high, as evidenced by the burgeoning stock market, which is now in uncharted territory.

Business has been brisk across most sectors of our industry, with the possible exception of computers, cell phones, and white goods, but confidence is high, as evidenced by the burgeoning stock market, which is now in uncharted territory.

On the technical front, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much innovation at SMT/Hybrid/Packaging in Nuremberg this year. In a productronica year, it is customary to save your latest innovations for the main event, but the pace of change is picking up and companies are eager to display their latest technology, especially when the market is strong. In part, this is also fueled by the ‘smart factory’ debate and increased automation, integration, and roboticization.

The race for the de facto standard in machine-to-machine collaboration continues with new entrants from Hermes, Flex and Celestica joining OML and IPC’s CfX. All of this is building up to a showdown at productronica, where the industry will choose which of these solutions will form the basis of the ‘smart factory’ going forward.

One thing that did emerge from the panel discussions in Nuremberg was the fact that the ‘Hermes’ option is a SMEMA style upgrade which enables packets of information to be passed from machine to machine while controlling the belt speed of the line. This system can sit comfortably below any of the other, more elaborate software systems for managing and controlling the process.

As we move through the slower summer months, I am confident we can expect to see a crescendo of activity in the fall, building towards a watershed productronica event in November.

– Trevor Galbraith Editor-in-Chief

editor@globalsmt.net

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