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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Electronica 2010, Munich, Germany, 9-12 November 2010
Article Type: Exhibitions and conferences From: Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, Volume 23, Issue 2
For anyone familiar with the electronics industry, November in Munich means one of two things; Electronica or Productronica. These are the two exhibitions that are held in November on alternate years at the Neu Messe in Munich. This year, it was Electronica 2010, the 24th trade show and exhibition covering electronic components, systems and applications. For anyone who has not visited Electronica, the sheer scale of the exhibition is at first difficult to comprehend, but the official figures produced by the organisers help to give some idea of its magnitude. There were almost 2,600 exhibitors occupying 143,500 m2 of space in 13 large halls, with over 500 organisations exhibiting just on photovoltaics-related products and technology. In addition to the exhibition, there was a full supporting programme of almost 240 lectures and panel discussions covering a wide range of subject material from automotive electronics to wireless technology. Visitors to Electronica also had the opportunity to visit Hybridica, the international trade fair for the development and manufacture of metal-plastic hybrid components which ran concurrently.
Although for many people, it is Productronica that is most associated with printed circuit boards (PCBs), Electronica provides a valuable opportunity for PCB fabricators to demonstrate their capabilities and products to new and existing customers. Consequently, one of the 13 halls, Hall B1, was well populated with PCB manufacturing companies from across Europe and further afield. The Austrian company AT&S had an extremely large stand, while other well-known board makers such as Fuba, Somacis and Graphic Plc were all to be found nearby, along with supporting companies such as Polar Instruments. Perhaps not surprisingly, there were also quite a few Chinese circuit board makers present.
Unless one has almost unlimited time available to visit Electronica, it is impossible to achieve a comprehensive visit to the whole exhibition. Nevertheless, it was quite apparent from simply walking around the various halls, just how much interest there was in new lighting, display and LED-based products and technology. With the established requirement for displays to be as flat, energy efficient and high resolution as possible, it was clear that display manufacturers were focussing on these attributes in the products they had put on show. Samsung, for example, presented its new, large format HD displays that were intended for use in e-signage applications, such as those that are found at airports and shopping centres, etc. In Hall A3, there was a “Display/e-Singage” forum which, under the logo of “big sizes, low energy, 3D and touch”, offered both a range formal speaker presentations and an area for exhibitors to promote their products. With sales of LEDs being predicted to double by 2013, to a figure of €14.3 billion, it is not hard to see why there were so many new products on show, especially those in the fields of very bright LEDs and OLEDs.
There was also a significant focus on automotive electronics, with the organisers estimating that around 20 per cent of the exhibitors at Electronica were either presenting products related to the automotive sector or future mobility applications. As part of Electronica, there was also the Electronica Automotive Conference and an “Automotive Forum”. The conference was held on 8 and 9 November, with the first day focussing on markets and strategies, while the second day covered more technical aspects.
Companies promoting products and technologies around renewable energy were also well represented at Electronica. Exhibitors showed storage technologies for wind and solar power plants, components for power electronics, inverters and energy harvesting solutions for building services and industrial applications. Energy efficiency also became part of the trade fair itself with entire stands being equipped with LED lighting for the first time. This offered the organisers the advantages, compared with conventional lighting, of reduced heat generation and lower energy consumption.
Electronic applications in medical technology were also very much present at the exhibition, with more than 1,100 exhibitors displaying many innovative new products and technologies in this area. They presented, for example, electronic components for the latest generation of intelligent prostheses, portable medical devices such as blood sugar testers and pulse monitors, implantable blood pressure sensors and remote monitoring and control systems for heart pacemakers. With so many exhibitors showing such a wide range of products, it was a clear demonstration of the contribution that medical electronics is now able to make to the quality of life of many people and also an indication of what it will be able to do in the future.
This was the second time that Hybridica had been held in conjunction with Electronica and for 2010 the focus was on moulded interconnect devices (MIDs) and related technologies. In Hall C1, there was a joint 3D MID stand which was occupied by more than a dozen companies and which gave visitors the opportunity to see some of the latest developments in MID technology. Companies exhibiting on this stand included Evonik Degussa, Harting and Laser Micronics, as well as the Institute for Manufacturing Automation and Production Systems from Erlangen University. Hall C1 also had a demonstration of the latest technology for reel-to-reel manufacturing of hybrid components and it contained examples of new developments in stamping machines, injection moulding, strip feed systems, strip welding, quality monitoring and automated removal. The resulting so-called “glass production line” provided an excellent example of recent company collaborations to provide an innovative and effective solution in state of the art hybrid manufacturing.
With key themes for 2010 including “the importance of the electronics industry in coping with economic and environmental challenge”, Electronica 2010 was an exhibition that provided the electronics industry with an opportunity to show its future capabilities to a large audience. It was truly huge in scale and offered a massive selection of information from a wide range of disparate sources. Data produced by the organisers on the day after the show indicated that over 70,000 people from 115 countries had visited the event and that there had been exhibitors from 45 different countries. Overall, the general mood at Electronica seemed to be very positive and it had clearly been influenced by the upturn in the industry that had been witnessed over the last few months.
For readers who are regular attendees of Electronica, this will be a familiar picture but, for those involved in any way at all with electronics, who have never before visited one of these exhibitions, it is an event that should not be missed. In addition, Munich is an excellent city for a visit and I very much look forward to attending Productronica later this year.