The connectivity debate rages on and with the addition of yet more standards it remains a major issue. It strikes at the foundation of the smart factory and is what Industry 4.0 is built upon. Machine to machine, machine to system and machine to operator communication are the starting point of the digital transformation of manufacturing and the key to the numerous benefits on offer.
We’re publishing interviews conducted with experts involved in the deployment and development of smart factory solutions to get their view on the key issues surrounding connectivity. The fifth interview is with Thomas Marktscheffel – Director Product Management SW-Integration Platform at ASM Assembly Systems.
On the importance of connectivity for Industry 4.0 or IIoT
Thomas Marktscheffel – Director Product Management SW-Integration Platform at ASM Assembly Systems:Smart equipment, like ASM’s SMT solutions, is and remains the basis of every efficient electronics factory. Connectivity and integration are the new challenges. Only the electronics manufacturers who provide reliable data in real time and irrespective of time, place and device will be able to run a smart SMT factory with agility and competitiveness.
This requires strategic partnerships between electronics manufacturers and competent digital transformation experts, for target-oriented operation in teams, for workflows instead of production, and for open standards instead of proprietary islands. Manufacturers and equipment suppliers must “network”, not just technically, but with customers, partners and competitors.
What are the main issues or challenges associated with connectivity in our industry today?
Thomas Marktscheffel: So far, the one-and-only industry standard that “does it all” is not available. Today, most data are still trapped in “silos”, in proprietary formats of various equipment makers, in machines, on the shop floor, and in standalone solutions. Furthermore, different parts of the industry have different histories of using certain different standards. I suppose midterm we will see a coexistence of a few standards playing different roles in their industries. Long-term there might be a convergence. However, for the time being, openness and flexibility is still key to successful communication and integration. Thus, ASM will continue to support industry standards in use by our customers, responding to customer demand and industry needs.
Explain your strategy to address these issues and challenges
Thomas Marktscheffel: ASM is already offering a coordinated portfolio of products and services for all integration levels – from circuit board information to standards and an MES for process data integration in the digital age to an IIoT platform for apps. We have answers for partners of choice for all questions regarding data and process integration. We also believe in openness. Connectivity and integration are more than technical concepts. No supplier can off everything, but he must be willing and able to communicate and cooperate with other people and companies in a respectful and trusting manner. We focus on our customers, their objectives and their capabilities in everything we do. ASM chose Cogiscan as a partner to support industry standard protocols on top of OIB, because in this cooperation both partners can focus on their core competencies. With Cogiscan for instance, ASM works closely with a partner which has been known for a long time for their expertise in communication standards.
What is your perspective relative to new industry standards such as Hermes, CFX and others you are aware of?
Thomas Marktscheffel: Getting new standards like CFX and HERMES into the market does need some effort and broad support in the market. Midterm, I believe we will continue to see a coexistence of a few standards playing an important role in their industries. Long-term there might be a convergence. However, openness, sharing among partners and highest level of flexibility is still and will always be key to successful communication and integration. Thus, ASM will continue to work closely with partners on all integration levels and support the industry standards, which are in demand by electronics manufacturers and industry needs.
Previously in this series: