Just Like Being There: APEX 2018 & a Connected Factory Standard

Since Industry 4.0 was touted as a concept five or so years ago, the search for a standard, industry-wide, machine to machine communications protocol has been underway. Many have come and gone in that time and many companies have tried to share their own standard.

One of the key challenges has been independence, or the lack thereof. This has hindered several usable standards from being adopted as market politics got in the way of progress. This climate paved the way for IPC, one of the industry’s preeminent trade associations, to step up and take on the challenge, forming a standards committee that brought all stakeholders to the table, brushing aside personal agendas and driving the sector forward 

I talked to many people at the IPC’s APEX Expo 2018 about digital building blocks, the digital thread, connectivity and collaboration, all of which require a standard communications protocol. Everyone agreed that the sooner we can have a standard that people take for granted, the sooner the industry can focus on adding value using these digital building blocks.

While I look forward to not talking about standards in the future, I felt it was important at this show to shine a light on the success the IPC has had bringing the Connected Factory Initiative (CFX) to fruition and the impressive showcase of connectivity it was able to create on the show floor with more than 30 companies connecting equipment to the cloud using the standard. 

I was lucky enough to host two of the committee chairs, Heller Industries’ President Marc Peo and Aegis Software’s CEO Jason Spera and as well IPC lead on the committee, IPC’s manager of design programs Nancy Jaster in a roundtable discussion at IPC APEX. It was an absolute joy to share their enthusiasm and hear about the speed at which they had delivered such a successful project.

For me this is more than a success for CFX, it is an exemplary example of the work IPC should and does do every day and the success the industry can have when it comes together to work on a common goal. It turns out doing the right thing never gets old.

Filmed on location in San Diego at the SCOOP studio thanks to the sponsorship of Aegis Software, Cogiscan, Fuji America, Jabil, KIC, Koh Young and Radius Innovation.

3 comments on “Just Like Being There: APEX 2018 & a Connected Factory Standard

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    April 19, 2018

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  2. MelBrandle
    October 12, 2018

    How can it not be true that doing the right thing never gets old? The companies should have taken this step much earlier to better facilitate their work processes at a faster and a more efficient rate. It is not about simply following steps that are already there blindly, but more of collaborating with one another to see what can be improved to everyone's advantage. There is never an end that can be reached when digital notions are concerned but advancements can most certainly be achieved.

  3. RituGupta
    February 26, 2019

    You would have to have a really well developed machine and system for other people to want to adopt your standard so it's not surprising that so many people are trying to gun for it to make sure that they are the forerunner in the market. It's just a mater of time before something robust enough takes root anyway right?

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