LUFKIN, TX—Lockheed Martin’s electronics assembly plant here has adopted the IPC-CFX standard for its surface-mount production lines, enabling the defense contractor to turn the facility into a smart factory.

IPC-CFX is an industry-developed open international standard for omnidirectional exchange of information from machine to machine, machines to business software, and business software to machines. The standard applies to communication between all processes in the manufacture of printed circuit board assemblies—whether automated, semiautomatic or manual—and is also applicable to related mechanical assembly and transactional processes.

The standard provides a single, comprehensive, agreed-upon language and data set for all machine types, eliminating the need for middleware and the cost of developing custom machine interfaces. The standard supports a variety of software, including manufacturing execution systems, product lifecycle management software, and enterprise resource planning software.

As a result, the plant’s assembly machines can now more easily and securely transmit a wealth of performance data to its MES software, the FactoryLogix system from Aegis Software.

“There are so many opportunities for the enhancement of manufacturing through the smart use of data, which FactoryLogix MES provides for us,” says Jarrod Webb, manufacturing robotics engineer at Lockheed. “We require stringent security for our manufacturing and product data. The unique nature of the IPC-CFX standard, with its ‘plug-and-play’ capability, means that we now have just one manufacturing data protocol, with a built-in common language, generated natively by machines, greatly simplifying our manufacturing IT requirements. …Only in this way could we achieve our data-driven, smart manufacturing goals.”

The adoption of IPC-CFX by Lockheed Martin’s key machine vendors, as well as the utilization of IPC-2581 design data for reference during setup, eliminates the need for data in other formats, including paper, thus eliminating needless exposure of critical data.

“Lockheed Martin’s Lufkin facility sets the bar for smart, data-driven manufacturing in security-conscious sectors of the industry and demonstrates the value of interoperability of data from all vendors securely connected to our IIoT-based FactoryLogix MES platform,” says Jason Spera, CEO and co-founder of Aegis Software.

FactoryLogix is a holistic and modular software platform with configurable modules to support and execute a manufacturer’s Industry 4.0 strategy. FactoryLogix manages the entire manufacturing lifecycle: from product launch and material logistics to manufacturing execution and quality management. It also offers powerful analytics and real-time dashboards. The software helps companies accelerate product introductions, streamline processes, improve quality and traceability, reduce costs, and gain greater visibility for competitive advantage and profitability.

Lockheed’s Lufkin plant was established in 1995. Its approximately 283 employees perform circuit card assembly, wire harness assembly and final assembly, integration and testing for various guided missile products.

In November 2012, the Lufkin Operations facility was one of 11 organizations to earn the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence and quality achievement. It also won the IndustryWeek “Best Plant” award in 2011.