Global SMT December 2017 (17.12)

Industry Moves into High Gear at productronica

I have long felt that trade shows are judged harshly. They are universally graded by metrics such as the number of visitors, number of exhibitors, quality of visitors and even orders received or promised during the event. However, many of these events are planned between two and six years in advance. The organizers have no clue what the macro-economic effects of the market, industry and geo-political landscape will look like by the date their event opens its doors. In short, they are taking a massive gamble based on the history of the industry and previous events. 

 

productronica 2017 was in the right place at the right time. The industry was in a unique space where “all boats were rising.” A phrase I used often during productronica week to illustrate the fact that every industrialized nation building electronics assemblies is growing. A unique phenomenon that has never happened in my lifetime.

Most companies were actually producing more intelligent machines backed up by software systems on an open software architecture that communicates with any interface.

Most companies were actually producing more intelligent machines backed up by software systems on an open software architecture that communicates with any interface.

 

Markets and other economic props are aligned to underpin this growth, but there is little doubt that the industry is growing by application. What I mean by that is the automotive industry, which had a slow start in the adoption of electronics systems, is now going full-throttle to include a myriad of sensors and other systems in the development of autonomous (driverless) vehicles. 

 

The medical industry is adopting electronics equally fast with the introduction of medication delivery systems, non-invasive surgery, the use of AI to further interrogate the human genome etc.

Manufacturing is revolutionizing with greater automation, predictive testing, supply-chain enhancements and quality improvements to make more with less.

 

At productronica, this resulted in a real buzz in the aisles. Many of the discussions with visitors and technologists centered on automation, ‘smart factory’ optimization, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cobots and robotics. Last productronica many companies were guilty of sticking signs on their equipment say “Industry 4.0 ready”. This productronica most companies were actually producing more intelligent machines backed up by software systems on an open software architecture that communicates with any interface.

 

The Hermes Standard which began as a loose group of companies meeting in March to express frustration at the slow pace of industry standards, made its official debut on the first day of the show. Over 28 companies are now committed to offering The Hermes Standard as a building block on the road to ‘smart factory’ optimization and this number is expected to double by April 2018.

 

IPC did make some significant progress too with its CfX standard with the announcement of a system to enable legacy equipment to be connected to the protocol.

For a full analysis of the new product releases the Global SMT & Packaging team reported on at productronica 2017, see the article on page 22. 

 

– Trevor Galbraith Editor-in-Chief 

editor@globalsmt.net

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Global SMT November 2017 (17.11)
Global SMT November 2017 (17.11)