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From the Publisher: APEX 2022 Report – ‘Good to Be Back’

IPC’s APEX Expo 2022: Achieve, Drive, Lead Digital Transcendence took place last week after a two-year pandemic-driven hiatus. I attended the event to spend some long-overdue facetime with industry colleagues, and I was very impressed with the show, overall. IPC took many precautions to ensure attendee safety and I felt comfortable with the preparations. IPC BraceletsMasks were required, all attendees had to be vaccinated or show a negative test within the previous 24 hours, there were plenty of hand sanitation stations throughout the convention center and there was an ingenious system of color-coded wrist bands that allowed you to control the interaction level with other attendees. If you wore a red wrist band, that meant no contact; white indicated elbow bump was appropriate; green meant handshakes and hugs were fine. I noted several people wearing all three indicating they were good with whatever was on offer.

Attendance felt lighter than pre-COVID years, but that’s not surprising. Everyone I spoke to expected a lighter turnout. The report that several larger EMS companies had denied employee requests to attend was one explanation. The Omicron variant has been surging in many areas, and COVID policies are by no means settled in most companies. I can’t imagine anyone expecting 2022 to be like 2020 when the pandemic was just a rumor.

As for exhibitors, there were fewer booths and most companies had scaled back significantly. Some companies elected not to bring their machines to the show at all or brought a more limited selection. While some booths were quite busy, many were not. As usual, Day 1 had the most activity. My discussions with EMSNOW supporters indicated that while the number of booth visitors was low, the quality of the leads was good. This is similar to what we heard from productronica 2021.

The EMS Leadership Meeting was reportedly very good and well attended. Quote Supervisor of Spartronics Brooksville, Deb Gude will represent Spartronics and speak to SupplyFrame’s quoting platforms during a user experience panel discussion on Quoting Software.  In walking the areas where courses were taught, I noted several ‘Cancelled’ signs. IPC President John Mitchell’s keynote on Day 2 was titled Navigating the Road to the Factory of the Future. I thought it a very informative and positive presentation, and EMSNOW will post the video version when that is available.

Other observations

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Dr. Koh of Koh Young meeting with customers

I noted that Mexico had very strong representation at the show.  SMarTsol had a full and busy booth and I met with our new EMSNOW Mexico Editor, Karen Carillo. Watch for more exclusive features from industry leaders in Mexico in the coming months.

I was able to meet with a handful of EMS companies of all sizes (Tier 1 – 4) who gave me insights into business conditions and trends. Stories of reshoring were common, and after my three weeks in Germany discussing the issues in that region, I’m confident that regionalization is gaining traction as a strategy to mitigate risk and shorten supply chains.

A second trend EMSNOW has been reporting on – Digitalization – was well represented at APEX 2022. The Factory of the Future has arrived, as evidenced by conversations with exhibitors and EMS.

Aside from the fact that my luggage was stolen from the baggage claim carousel at SFO, it was a positive experience, and it was very good to see EMSNOW supporters and industry luminaries in person again. I hope everyone got home safely.

Identco

IDENTCO Team

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Cogiscan iTAC teams

MacDermid Alpha Team

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SMarTsol team at APEX

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