APEX show diary – Day three
Feb 26, 2004
Community and collaboration
Before we get onto to Thursday, a little of Wednesday evening. This was IPC’s chance to host the first combined IPC Expo and APEX gala. It was to David Bergman’s credit that he could stand in the lobby of the Hilton with arms full of flowers looking as at ease as he does presenting a paper on PCB technology.
The invitation said "Wear your Hawaiian shirt and join your colleagues for an island adventure." As many were coming direct from the show floor, few Hawaiian shirts were in evidence although the "join you colleagues" line fitted well. Most exhibitor and visitors took part and it was nice to see so many relaxed and friendly faces.
The evening was indeed a great networking opportunity and I enjoyed chatting with friends from Europe, Asia and North America.
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere seemed to carry through to the morning at the show. Most exhibitors expected a quiet day – a chance to catch up with each others products and chat about the leads and business they had generated in the last two days. This was not to be – the visitors kept coming. Exhibitors were still demonstrating product when the show closed at 2pm.
The spirit on the floor was anticipation and of course relief. Confirmation that the US market could share in the upturn was the news many had hoped to get at APEX. The whole community had breathed a sigh of relief as APEX confirmed what TPCA, Productronica and InterNepcon Japan had led us to believe.
The question of community has seemed pertinent this week as we had been invited to see how companies that collaborate could achieve more. Aegis and Cogiscan had got together last year and seen an opportunity, this year they had bought the product to the market. Companies are working together to solve problems in each other’s spheres, equipment vendors are working with software companies and consumables companies to improve processes and resolve issues. All in all people are working with people to leverage combined knowledge and improve each other’s products.
This to me is one of the unseen benefits of such events – the time exhibitors spend talking to each other and exploring mutually beneficial opportunities. What other time do you get to spend with those people who make the machine that sits next to yours in the line?
It’s a kind of joined up thinking that is key in both the PCB and the assemble processes. In some ways the data connection are providing the glue for these lines, but other collaborations such as cleaners, stackers, conveyers and other gadgets all add value to the machines they connect to.
A day to sum up
For today was about talking to exhibitors and finding out if the sold signs were scheduled or if they happened at the show. With no press conferences, I had been let loose on the show floor for almost the first time this week.
I am happy to report that, with no exception, exhibitor’s expectations were met. That’s thanks to the industry picking up, but thanks in no small part to the IPC. The co-location has worked. The show had the critical mass that it needed and the two sides of the event fitted together well.
It seemed to me the bare board guys had the best improvement - perhaps being the smaller part that should have been expected.
As for the orders won and the enquiries received they were real. Real customers with a real need for equipment and a real commitment to invest. Many equipment vendor were finding it difficult not too jump for joy. They have been working hard to get to this point and those who are still here deserve some reward for their patience.
IPC / APEX had been a great show. Next year it will co-locate again…