What is IPC-CFX?
The IPC’s Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) standard is a hot topic among electronics manufacturers implementing smart manufacturing processes. The communication standard establishes requirements for the exchange of information between the manufacturing processes and the software systems used in PCB assembly. Considering the mix of disparate equipment platforms used in the typical manufacturing assembly line, a standard interface for equipment promises to streamline implementation of Industry 4.0 scenarios.
In 2019, the initial version of the standard was published, and several equipment vendors participated in demonstrations at regional tradeshows. As a member of the CFX standard committee, Siemens supports the CFX format with its CFX Adapter for Valor IoT as was demonstrated most recently in November on the IPC’s CFX Demonstration Line at Productronica.
CFX Communication Protocol
The two most significant developments in CFX are the message delivery protocol specification and the message content definitions. CFX defines AMQP v1.0 (Advanced Message Queueing Protocol) as the message exchange technology to be used in the communication protocol. AMQP is an open technology originally developed to broker messages between financial institutions and has been adopted in other industries to share data between varied endpoints.
AMQP defines how messages may flow between endpoints through brokers or through direct endpoint-to-endpoint communication. In CFX, an endpoint could be a piece of equipment, or it could be an external system connected to the manufacturing process.
A centralized routing system, often referred to as the message broker, may be used to distribute messages between endpoints, or data can be exchanged directly between endpoints. In the CFX implementation, event-type messages are distributed through the central message broker, and request/response messages are exchanged through ad hoc connections established directly between endpoints.
CFX Adapter – Reading CFX
The CFX adapter for Valor IoT connects to CFX endpoints using AMQP and reads data coming from CFX enabled equipment into the Valor IoT device. CFX messages are translated to OML (Open Manufacturing Language), enriched with additional information from the Valor IoT device, and then relayed to all consumers.
After translation into the OML language, the CFX equipment is connected to the Siemens software portfolio just like any other equipment already supported natively by the Valor IoT device; enabling scenarios with MES, advanced material management, and analytics.
The message content defined in the CFX standard is similar to many existing OML events, requests, and responses. The CFX adapter maps messages between the two formats as shown in the example table below.
For the Productronica 2019 tradeshow, the IPC showcased CFX capabilities using a functioning production line with equipment running CFX interfaces.
Siemens participated in the demonstration by showcasing our Valor IoT dashboard capabilities driven by CFX data coming in real-time from the production line. While the dashboards look great, the real value comes from the full portfolio of software connected to Valor IoT: Opcenter Execution, Material Management, and Analytics.
I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the CFX Adapter for Valor IoT. For more information on Valor IoT, please visit https://www.mentor.com/pcb-manufacturing-assembly/iot-valor-manufacturing/.