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Three Things to Know About the Connected Factory Exchange

The Connected Factory Exchange (IPC-CFX) is a new IoT standard that guides Industry 4.0 applications.

Industry 4.0 - connected factory exchange

As Industry 4.0 comes into widespread use, the global trade association IPC saw a need to develop a standard to guide applications that operate within these connected and automated smart factory systems. The new Connected Factory Exchange, or IPC-CFX, is a global standard that simplifies and standardizes machine-to-machine and machine-to-manufacturing-execution-systems communications and facilitates machine-to-business solutions. IPC-CFX enables equipment on factory floors to communicate with each other to achieve enhanced efficiency and provides greater visibility and lower costs across the line. It was developed by a task group called the Connected Factory Initiative, which is comprised of manufacturers, software companies, and hardware suppliers, including TE Connectivity, Keysight Technologies, and Fuji. Here’s what you need to know.

All Smart Factory Processes are Covered

IPC-CFX connects manual, semi-manual, and automated processes that are part of Industry 4.0 systems. In doing so, it helps streamline processes, improve efficiencies, and reduce waste in production lines. Benefits include product tracking, material traceability, and asset utilization. The standard monitors events along the production process, including materials events, production, events, sensor/scanning events, and work order and operator events to provide a complete and detailed picture of every step of the process, from design to product shipping.

It’s Free and Open Source

The standard is free and open source, using a software developer toolkit. CFX doesn’t depend on any third-party software or licensing, but it can be used within the Microsoft Visual Studio and is available as a NuJet package. Class/object representations of all connected factory images are provided and CFX messages can be serialized to or from the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format for encoding to ensure data security.

IPC-CFX Does Not Replace the Hermes Standard

In 2018, the Hermes Standard became the globally accepted standard for machine-to-machine communication in surface mount technology (SMT) lines. It is an open standard based on TCP/IP and XML and addresses the handover of PCBs along mixed vendor surface mount assembly in smart factories. Hermes replaced the earlier Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association (SMEMA) Standard, IPC-SMEMA-9851, and includes SMEMA’s guidance on board handover but expands to also address a range of requirements relevant to next-generation applications. The Hermes and IPC-CFX standards work together to manage the entire production line.

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Amy Goetzman

Managing Editor at ConnectorSupplier.com
Amy Goetzman made her first foray into the world of connectors and electronics two decades ago, when she helped Alice Tanghe edit The Inside Line, an early and influential publication for the connector industry. She’s worked for a diverse array of publications and companies, and has written about global logistics, architecture, building materials, science, technology, and the arts. She has contributed to Connector Supplier for the past 10 years, and is very pleased to formally join the Bishop family of publications as a managing editor. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas. You can reach her at amy@connectorsupplier.com.
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