Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Organisers and exhibitors claim success for inaugural APEX 2000 show
Keywords Exhibitions, IPC, SMEMA
The first IPC and SMEMA Council organised Assembly Process Exhibition and Conference (APEX) held 13-18 March, at the Long Beach (CA) Convention Center, received plaudits from all quarters (Plate 1).
Plate 1 Brits at APEX. Left to right: Dr Chris Hunt (NPL); Alan Brewin (Concoat); Stan Renals (Crossflow); Barry Taylor (SMS Data Control); Alan Larwood (Earthtronics); Trevor Galbraith (Soldering & Surface Mount Technology); Mike Judd (MJM Marketing) and Stuart Wetherell (PAF Systems)
Although not a Productronica, which has become the world's leading electronics manufacturing exhibition with 1,800 exhibitors and 57,000 visitors, APEX, billed as the industry's own event, developed, managed and produced for the industry, focused solely on the assembly business. With over 300 exhibitors and 5,700 attendees (of which 1,200 were international visitors), it was a successful launch for this new event (Plates 2-4).
Plate 2 APEX show floor
Plate 3 Customers visting the Asymtek booth
Plate 4 Heraeus USA presented a colourful booth
Prior to the event, in a message to visitors, the chairman of the IPC SMEMA Council and general manager, EKRA America, Stephen Hall described the objective, "To develop an event that provides a focused forum to see the products and services that critically affect your electronics business, without walking miles of aisles of tangential products".
Steve DeCollibus, Cookson's global marketing services director and chairman of the APEX Trade Show Committee, was interviewed on the final morning of the show and had just returned from the final show wrap up meeting. He was in buoyant mood, "We have an unqualified success, the number of visitors exceeded our expectations. The quality of visitor seen at the Cookson booth was exceptionally high and was running about 20 percent better than other trade shows. We are pleased with what's happened, to bring a focus to assembly and the seminars/technical sessions also proved successful. The daily keynote presentations have been well attended, there was a full house of 3,000 at Norman Schwartzkopf's 'Leadership' presentation, great feedback to the Wall Street Journal's 'EMS overview' and the final 'Titans of the Supply Chain', was also very well received.
"As far as the future is concerned, IPC and the SMEMA Council will continue with the APEX concept. We are very satisfied with the results of this show, the attendance exceeded our expectations, the way the floor was organised and set up from all concerned was exceptional. We feel we have a winner on our hands and will stick with this concept. With this high confidence level we can grow the show a bit, but we must remain focused on assembly, continuing to bring a high level of conference to the event. Martin Barton, the conference director, did an unbelievable job, under an incredible deadline. When you think about it, the miracle of this show is that we were only thinking about this 14 months ago.
"So San Diego is definitely a GO, booked for the next two years. We'd like to have it longer but the conference people have to see a three to five year success before they block us out for a longer period, so Las Vegas is a possibility for a one or two time shot (after 2002)".
What was the exhibitors view? The larger companies were located in the main hall and smaller booths were in the arena. On the first day of the show it was clear that the arena was less busy.
Stanley Soderstrom of Ultrasonics Systems, Inc was very pleased. "It's been fantastic! Terrific traffic and the show people have treated us very well. Of course we would have preferred to have been in the main hall, however after the first morning we have been pleased with the attendance to our booth, probably the best show we have ever attended. We have already booked and look forward to the next show in San Diego. Our only concern is that the show might grow too large for smaller players like ourselves. This show was very focused and very concentrated on specific segments of the industry and that's good for us. If it grows too large we may miss out on an opportunity".
After the first morning of the show the arena was better signposted and regular PA announcements were made advising visitors not to miss this area. Three UK companies also in the Aarena have rebooked; Crossflow, Earth-Tronics and PAF Systems.
One of the big players in the main hall was Europlacer; Alden Lewis, North & South America sales manager was also positive. "The APEX Show has been excellent, we've got multiple leads and the quality of these leads have been excellent too. Attendees have been interested in our equipment and we've had plenty of opportunity to demonstrate to them. No time wasters and important to me is that visitors have come from all over the USA; from the East, Central, equally weighted with the West Coast. We also had some international customers, from European countries and Asian areas. Absolutely, we will be at San Diego".
The Workshops, Tutorials and Technical Conference Programme, also well organised and attended, covered critical technology issues and challenges. A busy programme of 30 sessions, 100 presentations and 50 tutorials.
Ray Chartrand of CharTrain Consulting had two, three-hour workshop sessions: in the morning "Troubleshooting the reflow solder process" and after lunch: "Trouble shooting the wave soldering process". He was overbooked with 70 delegates for one and 50 for the other. He agreed that it was probably too much information in too little time. He is booked for three sessions next year.
IPC also had a full programme of Standards Development and Committee Meetings. Topics included Assembly and joining processes, Assembly equipment, Cleaning and coatings, Product/reliability, Product assurance. Sponsors included: IMAPS, SEMI, Surface Mount Council, NEMI, ESD Association, EIA, MEPTEC, Japan Robotics Association, ACeM and EFIP.
Dr Chris Hunt from NPL "A very worthwhile trip with lots of good contacts, some interesting science, and good opportunities for NPL to be influential". Chris sits on some IPC committees.
Keynote Presentations, well timed at 8:15 a.m., before the show opened each day, were exceptional. The first was Gulf-War Retired General H. Norman Schwartzkopf, still a hero, welcomed to a standing ovation from 3,000 visitors and exhibitors. His subject was "Leadership: from the war room to the board room". He was tickled with the ovation and the early start, not expecting any delegates to fall asleep, unlike his after dinner speeches! He was humorous, apologising for his well-dressed attire and not more recognisable camouflage image. With a start in his leadership career as a Squad Leader of 11 staff, to the Gulf War leading 541,000 US troops and with the Allies 800,000, he gave a very personal view of the fundamental rules of leadership, offering some techniques that have worked for him.
"Great leaders in history are not born, but are ordinary people who have found themselves in extraordinary circumstances". After 40 years a leader, he still cannot accurately define leadership. The message was make decisions, then "Follow me and do as I do".
A slick presentation, followed by an honest question and answer session. When asked if the services could repeat Desert Storm today, it was a categorical NO! The US Army has been cut in half from what it was, the Navy and Air Force cut 40 percent. An impassioned honest response that there have also been no real pay rises for the services in seven years. He also declared that he will continue to serve his country, especially with his charity work, but has no interest in running for President.
A highlight of the week was Keith Dunn, managing director of the Banc Boston Robertson Stephens Inc, with a stunning presentation "EMS and the State of the Industry". This was in the keynote session on the middle day organised by the Wall Street Journal with views by bankers and investors, "Wall Street Speaks" (about the EMS Industry). Dunn was one of three speakers, and the audience were very keen to receive a copy of all the excellent and very professional papers.
Thursdays keynote was "Titans of the supply chain", with participants: John Brandt - Editor in Chief of Industry Week Magazine; Tim Conlon - President and CEO of Via Systems (PCB manufacturer); Raymond Sharpe - CEO Cookson Electronics (electronics assembly equipment manufacturer); Greg Frazier - Avnet (component distributor); Dr Vince DePalma - VP Solectron (EMS provider); Dr Iwona Turlik - VP and Director Motorola (OEM in the communications industry). They debated and discussed their views of the supply chain management and how industry can improve in today's changing environment. Each gave a short overview, followed by a question and answer session.
No expense was spared at the Gala Reception on the Wednesday night for exhibitors and visitors. It featured the '70s funky rock band WAR. A networking opportunity in happy surroundings, with lots of food stations and entertainment.
Before this show APEX was a blank canvas - now it's a successful and colourful addition to the exhibition calendar, "equipped" to meet the needs of the assembly industry.
APEX 2001 takes place 13-18 January 2001, at the San Diego (CA) Convention Center.
See you there ...