Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ElectronicaChina and ProductronicaChina, 17-19 March 2004
ElectronicaChina and ProductronicaChina, 17-19 March 2004
Keywords: Conferences, China, Electronics industry
Messe Munchen held their first ProductronicaChina show in conjunction with the already- established ElectronicaChina in Shanghai at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (SNIEC) in March. The opening on the first day coincided with a tropical storm that may have blown umbrellas inside out but did nothing to extinguish the enthusiasm of those who queued patiently to register.
Like many new arrivals, ProductronicaChina was small, by comparison to Munich, but well formed, and it contained a spectrum of international exhibitors that attracted visitors from as far away as Chile to see what was on offer (Plates 1-5).
Plate 1 The Siemens stand was one of the busiest at the show
Plate 2 The Bruderer stand
Plate 3 The German based RECOM exhibited
Plate 4 The stands were colourful and imaginative
Plate 5 The tyco stand was on two storeys
An SMT company setting up in China would have no problem sourcing equipment, Bill Dai and Hongliang Lee of BTU Shanghai were showing their new Pyramax 98 lead-free reflow soldering machine, costing some $70-80,000. Delivery is included in the price and you can have one in a month. BTU have been in Shanghai for the last 5 years, and are doing very well – over 1,000 units sold into China in that time, 60 per cent for reflow, 40 per cent high-temperature furnaces for ceramics and semiconductors. They were having a good show.
BTU operates through Kasion, who also represent Casio, Electronix, Nutek, Teknek, CyberOptics and GÖpel amongst many others in SMT line equipment.
Another exhibitor smiling broadly was Sven Andersen, President of PAWO, the Swiss high technology company. This was their first show in China, but as a company supplying beautifully engineered and very expensive unique tooling equipment for the placement of seals and connectors onto wiring looms, their future looked more than bright. They are to double their turnover in the next 4 or 5 years as the automotive industry in China ramps up production. In 2002 turnover was SFr 250,000, 2003 that rose to 1.5 million, this year it is set for 2.5 million. Why? They are in China, and China is where, within the next decade, all the cars will be made.
In Hall 2 Vishay had a large stand, Norbert Pieper is their VP Business Development and said that 30 per cent of sales go into Asia at present and this is a rising percentage. Vishay is a $2.3 billion company, whose roots go back to 1962 when they were making foil resistors. Now they are one of the world's largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive components, and a company to watch in the opto-electronics field.
From Finland came Jukka Paajanen of VTI Technologies Oy who are in the business of MEMS sensors. They are only 10 years old, and have been selling into China for just 1 year, and see the big potential. Their MEMS are used in the automotive instrumentation field, as well as in the consumer market. In the next decade, 30 per cent of their sales will be in China, and they were having a good show, too.
On the UK sector, David Wilson of Batten & Allen said that 90 per cent of their production of precision metal stamping products was exported, and it was the move of Ericsson from Sweden to China that meant that his company is now in China, too. They took on an agent about a year back, and are now expanding into other top quality niche markets for their quality products manufactured in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
On a slightly larger scale Mecca of Hong Kong is an OEM/ODM company which cover SMT, assembly, PCB fabrication, equipment design, packaging, plastic injection moulding. They started in metal castings back in 1984, but now have a turnover of some £500 million, and are major exporters to China, Europe and the USA. Mecca gets to the major shows, Globaltronics in Singapore and Nepcon in Brighton, UK and is, according to David Chang, their Marketing Manager, extremely busy.
Arguably with the biggest stand of the show, and certainly one of the busiest, was Siemens Dematic. Sven Buchholz is the manager of product development in China and lives in Shanghai. In the last 3 years they have sold between 1,000 and 1,300 SMT machines into China, and he mentioned that the market is changing; whereas before the high-end (volume production) and low- end (start-up companies) was about 50/50, now it is moving 70/30 in volume terms and quality is what is needed in the high-volume business.
Over from Munich was Matthias Frindt who showed the HF/3 3-gantry system for larger components. This is an end of line machine that combines throughput and accuracy. It uses magnetic linear direct drive, and is the first component placement machine to use this technology. The carbon fibre gantry also minimises weight, and running at 3,700 cph it is accurate to 35 μm at 4 Sigma. Placement force is between 0.5 and 15 N, and it is designed to take larger components up to 155 × 30 mm.
The company has three service centres, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, and over 100 service engineers working throughout China. They appear to be well placed to meet the ground they will be gaining in the coming months ahead. A rather committed company, they will be exhibiting again in 4 weeks time, at Nepcon in Shanghai.
Ivory Lim is the delightful senior customer service engineer at RÖchling, an engineering plastic company who showed how PCB pallet materials are handled in the creation of a carrier for assembled boards that are to be wave soldered. Under the trade mark of Durostone®, this material contains a resin that provides resistance to flux chemistry and prevents solder pick-up, and the low density makes the production process, and the CLF280 version remains dimensionally stable and flat even after the elevated temperatures of lead- free soldering. RÖchling are to be found in the UK, France, Singapore, Germany, Italy, USA and of course Shanghai.
Another enthusiast was Dr Jim Long who runs a company called eeParts.com which specialise in electronic component inventory re-distribution. Which is another way of saying that if an OEM or an EMS company finds that they have excess stock of a particular item, or items, then Dr Long's company will make them available to others via online sourcing, on the "spot market" for immediate purchase and delivery. They will also enter into consignment agreements to move the excess. EeParts Inc operate out of Carrollton, Texas, also Suzhou and Shanghai in China.
Bruderer and Daniel Troxler, their Product Manager, come from Frasnacht in Switzerland, and they manufacture metal forming and metal stamping presses. It all started back in 1943, and now if you want a metal press in this industry then it is likely to be a Bruderer. They came to the show in Shanghai because this is where their customers are, and they like to follow the trends that become apparent at such events. They export 96 per cent of what they make, which is hardly surprising, the main markets being Germany foremost, then Italy, France, with 10-15 per cent going to Asia. Daniel maintains that within the next 5 years the China market will be saturated, and will then move to India. Heard that before. They have gained considerable market share against stiff Japanese competition, and have a very good overhaul service in China. They were enjoying a good second day at the show.
One of their customers is Velt Precision from Shanghai, General Manager Zhang Jianwen explained that they have two product groups, one which produces metal strip and one for punched metal parts or components – metals being aluminium, stainless steel, nickel or copper. Typical of many companies at the show, all of who have their market sectors. Velt only started business in Shanghai 3 months back and are making rapid progress.
Mark Johnston hails from the UK but lives in Chicago where as Senior Director, he is reponsible for the global sales and marketing for Knowles Acoustics a $170 million turnover company employing some 2,700 people in the USA, Europe, Japan and in China. Knowles recently introduced the first MEMS microphone for mobile telephones, the SiSonic Surface Mount microphone which can also be used in a number of different applications. They are the first company to be manufacturing MEMS microphones in high-volumes, and joins their other major market share in microphones for hearing aids. If you are looking for MEMS, you need to go to Japan where they are most active in this field, but it would seem that R&D in Chicago is no slouch.
TT Electronics had a stand that was never short of busy, and had a lot of information packed into a modest space. TT Electronics is a synergy of companies who each are specialists in their field, thus Welwyn for surface mount components, IRC for wire wound components and thick film technologies, and their market sectors include industrial, automotive, consumer electronics, medical, avionics, defence, and instrumentation. Stuart Tugman has been working for them, on and off, for 30 years, and the inventory of products reflects the ten divisions that produce them.
The Shanghai Keepahead Ultrasonic Technology Company Limited might have won the prize for the longest title, if there had been one, but they are certainly keeping ahead of the field when it comes to ultrasonic cleaning equipment. They have a dozen sales offices in China, as well as a further 12 companies representing them around the rest of the world. Cleaning, drying, handling is their forte, as well as electroplating lines.
There were few circuit board companies at the show. AT&S had a stand for sure, but within the many German companies who were exhibiting there was Neuschafer Elektronik GmbH who come from Frankenberg. Ravan Graubner, their Sales Manager, explained that this was a company which had started up some 20 years back, making rigid bards, and 6 years back they moved into flexibles and Polyflex. Polyflex is unique in that unlike conventional PCBs which require soldering of connectors, the thick copper layer (250-400 μm) allows Polyflex circuits to be soldered directly. The thick copper tracks can carry high voltage current, and thus is suitable for use in the automotive and aerospace industries. This is their first show in China, and Herr Graubner indicated that once the business in China was established they would manufacture locally.
Also from Germany is Recom based in Dietzenbach. They make small DC/DC convertors. Very small ones. They supply a niche market, and much is made by hand, the tiny convertors being used in process control systems for the automotive industry, aerospace, medical and telecom sectors. Ancestry goes back to 1975, and they have been making them ever since, rather successfully.
Jack van Mook lives in Singapore and is the Regional Product Marketing Manager for Assembléon. He has been in the SMT industry for 16 years. He heads up the Assembléon operation in China, where he maintains that their equipment has the edge where volume and technology are concerned. In the next 3 years, he said 70 per cent of all Asia business will be in China. Their market in Europe is reviving rapidly, too, especially in southern Europe, Turkey and Russia are examples. The multinational companies are now established in China, and the local companies come in two forms – existing electronics companies moving into SMT and new start up companies producing everything from "fridge to phones".
On their large stand, they were demonstrating two placement machines, the VX3, which places 45,000-90,000 components per hour through a succession of 20 robots which populate boards from two sides, and the VX5, which runs at between 75,000 and 150,000cph. He states that for this production capacity linear motors work just fine, 9 μm accuracy is obtained. By the end of this year it will be six, due to camera alignment. Jack maintains that their parallel placement concept is difficult to compete against. Assembléon have a rich technology heritage, he commented, and whilst his company has training centres throughout Asia, they find that customers try as much as possible to do their own maintenance with their own engineers. In fact the salaries of Chinese graduate engineers are rising at the CAG rate of 20 per cent, which is encouraging. For the graduates, that is!
In 4 weeks time he will be at Nepcon in Shanghai, and whilst this is the first Productronica in China, he wanted to have a look at how it tapped into new areas.
A scout through the show looking at some of the more interesting products revealed that Rogers Corporation were in the PCIM sector with a busbar range, Hoechst were to be seen through CeramTec, whose ceramics are used in the production of hybrid microelectronic circuits. Laser cut edges are an option, and interest in their aluminium nitride ceramics was strong in the power electronics field in China.
Truly semiconductors from Guangdong province had a range of tiny colour monitors and displays that will be familiar with those with the latest mobile telephones. On the Suneast International stand a range of REHM reflow soldering equipment was being displayed, including their popular Dragon 2.6 which uses nitrogen in the reflow for small grid soldering efficiency.
Mr Li Quan Xi is the Manager of AN FEI KE YI Scientific Instruments Company, they are the agents in China for the Vision Engineering Kestrel non-contact measuring system used for the optical inspection of surface mounted semiconductors, and close by the Xiamen Hongfa Electroacoustic Co. had a large stand. They are No. 1 in China for relays, and claim to be No. 6 in the world. They can make special relays to order, Chen Yihua says that their biggest competition comes from Japan and the States, but since 1984 they have grown to become a $40 million company employing over 2,600 people. It seems that they only have 10 of their staff to look after sales in 150 countries, which must mean air miles for some.
Frank He sells for Leister, another Swiss company; they produce laser soldering for metal- metal and laser welding for plastic-plastic, and have been operating in China for the last 3 years. Frank maintains that the market has yet to develop to its full potential for their equipment, but you can see from the samples that the applications are there already.
Like all good shows there was the usual colourful plethora of shell scheme stands proffering ESD protection equipment, tools, clean room clothing, clean rooms, lab. scale placement machines, ultrasonic cleaning baths, ferrite armatures, chemicals, and balls for BGAs. On the other end of the spectrum was TYCO, who had a massive stand on two floors. And why not, they are a $10.25 billion company employing 80,000 people in 54 countries, and with electronics being their second biggest market sector, they amply demonstrated the huge range of products that come under their umbrella.
The visitors to the Shanghai New International Expo Centre during Week 12 got good value for money. Halls 1 and 2 hosted ElectronicaChina and ProductronicaChina which were running along with PCIM China, and Halls 7 and 8 were the home of Semicom China. The latter was drawing in over 6,000 visitors a day. Mind you, if you had taken a wrong turning shortly before the SNIEC you could have gone to The third Plum Blossom Exhibition but that was very much an open-air event and would have been a chilly experience. SNEIC on the other hand was warm and welcoming and this show will doubtless be seen as some thing of a landmark occasion. That Messe Munchen took the initiative and added the Productronica element to the established Electronica may have much to do with the discussions which are now taking place between them and the CPCA to see how a joint event can be held in the future. Combining that with the news that Nepcon Shanghai would be moving to the autumn and you have the potential for a really comprehensive and world-class event in all eight halls at the SNEIC. We await developments with no little interest.