Happy’s Smart Factory Protocol Primer

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The smart factory concept is built upon data interchange as the foundation. There has been much development in the area of industrial and manufacturing data protocols over the years, stretching back into the 1960s. This article surveys what are considered the most common protocols in use in the electronics manufacturing industry today, including IPC-CFX/ Hermes, OML, SECS/GEM, and MAPS.

Protocols for the Electronics Smart Factory

One way to shorten the development time of any smart factory automation protocol is to leverage what is already out there. Three protocols have already been established in electronics manufacturing:

1. IPC-2591 Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) with the IPC-9852 HERMES standard.
2. Mentor/Siemens Open Manufacturing Language (OML).
3. SEMI’s SECS/GEM-SEMI Equipment Communication Standard/Generic Equipment Model.

Modeling any PCB fabrication smart factory protocol after one or more of these existing standards will shorten their development time.

An open network standard introduced by the IPC is IPC-2591 introduced in 2018 (Figure 1.) It establishes three critical elements for “plug and play” industrial IoT:

1. A message protocol using AMQP.
2. An encoding mechanism using JSON. 
3. A specific content creation element, as well as structured topics and messages.

The Hermes standard is a low-level line control protocol that passes information up and down the equipment line, including PCB ID, program name, and key product data. These elements allow for the creation of automatic decision-making and dashboard displays, alerts, and reports. Applications that improve productivity, efficiency, capacity planning, and quality while lowering costs. It allows the full traceability of components (IPC-1782) and feedback to design (IPC-2581).


To read this entire article, which appeared in the March 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

Editor’s Note: This protocol overview was previously published as a section in “The Smart Factory: All the Bits and Bobs” by Happy Holden in the February 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine. Click here to see the full article.



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