By Jennifer Read, EMSNOW Editor

In all the excitement in San Diego this week, I hope you got a chance to look at this week’s EMSNOW content. It was a great show, and I really enjoyed connecting with colleagues and meeting new people, so I can certainly understand why you might have skipped reading EMSNOW this week; however once you are home, I encourage you to take a look. I will be reporting on the show in greater detail next week.

The week started with a feature from Aegis’ Michael Ford on Digital Firefighting: some interesting imagery to describe how digital data collection during the manufacturing process can be used to set up a ‘smoke detector’ to prevent future fires. Digital traceability is a powerful tool, he says.

Today, we use our digital factory data to discover what were the exact unique conditions that occurred in the manufacture of this defective unit that differentiated it from all of the others. We can see the complex set of conditions that formed the cause of the unique defect. Here also is the evidence that other production units in the work-order did not have the same conditions and so they are good to be shipped….. As the data coming from manufacturing is live, this process makes a very effective “smoke detector”. Should any repetition of a defect happen, an alarm can be sounded to signal a potential epidemic, and to prompt immediate action before any further defects of the same type have the opportunity to occur.”

Industry 4.0 is clearly upon us, and the implications are exciting.

While Industry 4.0 is primarily about intra-company connectivity, at the inter-company level some are concerned about the security implications of cloud-based data storage and transactions. So that takes us to our Tuesday Feature, an article on Blockchain for EMS by IBM Senior Supply Chain Consultant, Quentin Samelson. He does a good job of demystifying this technology, and says,

“Blockchain technology would appear to be a perfect fit for the EMS industry, and experience seems to confirm this: In 2017 we began to see a high level of interest in blockchain, both from EMS providers themselves and from their customers. We also began to see the first proofs of concept and pilot applications developed. In 2018 I expect the number of new applications to grow, and we should begin to see some of those initial PoCs and pilots turn into production blockchain networks.”  

He goes on to explain in detail the variety of applications for this technology in the EMS industry specifically.

Next we offered two industry commentators – self-identified curmurgeons, in fact — who wrote about Europe and Asian electronics manufacturing. In the first, Dieter Weiss shared his experiences advising companies from outside Europe seeking to sell to that market. He doesn’t hold back. What do you REALLY think, Dieter? It’s a fun read, with some good insights.

And from Phil Zarrow, we offer you Part 2 of his discussion of global manufacturing competence from his decades of experience doing factory audits for OEMS looking for manufacturing partners. Again, please, Phil, just speak your mind. He makes some valid points.

So I want to express my gratitude for those Eric Miscoll and I met with in San Diego at the IPC APEX Expo this week – thanks for your time and patience in explaining your products to this new editor, and for allowing us to share our excitement about EMSNOW 2.0. Now it’s time for my flight back to Austin. Look forward to working with y’all.