A protocol to advance Industry 4.0 in electronics manufacturing

“The Hermes Standard for vendor-independent machine-to-machine communication in SMT assembly” is a new, non-proprietary open protocol, based on TCP/IP- and XML, that takes exchange of PCB related data between the different machines in electronics assembly lines to the next level. It was initiated and developed by a group of leading equipment suppliers, bundling their expertise in order to achieve a great step towards advanced process integration. And the story continues: The Hermes Standard Initiative is open to all equipment vendors who want to actively participate in bringing the benefits of Industry 4.0 to their customers.

Beyond SMEMA: Improving board flow management in SMT

The current state of the art for board flow management is based on the IPC-SMEMA-9851 standard. It was a first important step towards communication between machines in an SMT assembly line. Yet a couple of downsides limit the usability of the standard in practical applications, such as a variety of different connections and the lack of interaction possibilities. Simply put: Being rooted in last centuries technologies and bringing in a lots of vintage elements, the SMEMA standard does not provide any basis for substantial improvement such as integrating state of the art network standards or technologies.

It was just about time to come up with something really new.

Cross-vendor / non-proprietary

The Hermes Standard is an open, non-proprietary and vendor-independent protocol based on TCP/IP and XML for machine to machine communication in SMT assembly lines. It provides flexible data structures to seamlessly exchange all essential types of board related data such as dimensions and different ID types. By this, keeping track of every board being assembled is possible without the need for repeatedly reading bar codes or other ID tags again at each machine. Thus The Hermes Standard is a key enabler of a controlled and transparent board flow management beyond existing restrictions of the old “SMEMA world”.

Open and modern

The Hermes Standard is an open protocol that can be implemented free of charge by all vendors of SMT equipment, while he still may decide to charge his customers for related features. In turn however, the vendor is solely responsible for the flawless operation of his equipment.

Scalable and Industry 4.0 ready

Version 1.0 was released in April 2017. It provides already an impressive set of board flow management functions, far beyond existing possibilities. Future versions of The Hermes Standard will further grow other functionalities, step by step implementing more and more smart processes into electronics manufacturing.

For that purpose, all vendors of SMT equipment who seek further advantage for their customers are invited to actively participate in the further development of the protocol by joining the The Hermes Standard Initiative, an open working group started by leading SMT equipment suppliers. Joining the group is free of charge.

Developed by leading equipment suppliers

The Hermes Standard is developed by The Hermes Standard Initiative, a group of leading equipment suppliers for the SMT industry. The initative is as open as the protocol itself: It welcomes all equipment suppliers who want to take an active, constructive part in developing The Hermes Standard. To become a member, companies just have to participate in one of the initiative meetings.

Current members of The Hermes Standard Initiative