The SMT Hybrid Packaging trade shows suffers during Productronica years. Manufacturers hold many innovations back until the fall. 2017 was no exception. Only a few exhibitors dared to show their smart factory offerings; isolated devices instead of whole process solutions set the tone in Nuremberg. Too bad. I personally saw only a handful of robots or cobots on the show floor. Some interesting items could be found upon closer inspection, however.
The automation specialist exhibited driverless vehicles that can carry out more handling tasks in electronics manufacturing plants. The vehicles will even be able to perform loading and unloading jobs in the future. The company is also active in data standardization. Together with 15 other suppliers, Asys is one of the founders of the new The Hermes Standard for M2M communication in electronics production. More about this standard will become available at the Productronica show.
Software maker iTAC Software AG presented its suite of for MES, planning, traceability and other activities in electronics manufacturing. As a modern software company, iTAC lets the customer decide whether he wants to store his production data the traditional way on local systems or in the cloud with continuous accessibility.
Listening to the discussions at the booth made it apparent that data integration and the connected smart factory continue to pose a major challenge for many users. They don’t know what’s involved and are afraid of high integration and connection costs. This is where the industry must deliver – with itac being one of the trailblazers in data integration and many machines already coming with proven interfaces.
At the ASM Assembly Systems booth, data glasses were more than decoration or entertainment for visitors, because the company presented its ASM Remote Smart Factory as a new, powerful and most-of-all secure platform for support and service. Customers can use the data glasses to set up a video link with ASM’s support department and let the technician guide them through the repair process. The system also lets ASM service technicians access machine data and even change configurations or install software updates. Complete support sessions were presented in live demos. As a smart additional benefit, customers can use the ASM Remote Smart Factory platform as an in-house communication platform for its own operators and service technicians.
Other than the competition, the ASM booth featured info centers on typical SMT processes (NPI, material management, production scheduling, etc.) instead of isolated machines, giving the entire booth a much more process-oriented look.
It’s going to be interesting to see what ASM and other suppliers will come up with for the Productronica show this fall. One thing is certain: there will be a lot more.