Windy city to back IPs
21 September 2009
I’m not really sure what killed off the ‘super-show’ in America. My own theory is that the contributing factors of Nepcon West becoming unpopular with the exhibitors, the dot-com crash and the migration of manufacturing to lower cost geographies, all happened at a time when one factor was becoming prevalent – surface mount technology became mature.
In fact, not just the technology but the equipment supply base was beginning to throw up fewer surprises. Exhibitors and visitors were finding it easier to find reasons not to go.
Many companies in the US were now concentrating on the complex and high-value where small technological differences could make a big impact on the reliability and manufacturability of electronics goods. Engineers didn’t want to know how they could place tens of thousands of components per hour, they wanted to know if particular components could be placed in a reliable and repeatable way. Engineers had something to talk about again. And I think this is why the events like IPC’s Midwest, which is on this week in Chicago, and SMTA’s 2009 Exhibition early next month in San Diego, are establishing themselves as the ideal events for the North American electronics industry. Relatively compact, tightly focussed, high knowledge content and good networking – these are the features that are giving these events an established place in the calendar.
I have tried to include a number of products related to the IPC Midwest show in this issue and will include a number on the SMTA event in the next.
One thing that may be under discussion in Chicago is the IPC’s announcement that it is to develop a standard for IP protection, something that was formally announced last week. The steering group will not hold its first meeting until the end of October so there will be nothing concrete to talk about at Midwest, but it is an interesting idea. The Group will comprise board manufacturers, EMS providers and OEMs, which looks like an ideal mix of companies who have been both predators and prey as far as IP theft is concerned.
In the longer term it makes sense to have something, whether it is a standard or a code of practice, that companies can sign up to and use as a benchmark anywhere in the world to prove that a company can protect both it and its customers’ IP.
However, in the short term you wonder if it is going to be a bit like the tax man who gets every penny possible from those who are good and honest, while those who avoid paying any tax, and therefore should be the real targets of the tax man’s enthusiasm, always seem to fly under the radar. Won’t that be the same with IP protection? Those who are most likely to sign up are likely to be those who least need to do so.
It is a commendable idea though and the IPC have a habit of creating standards that work, so hopefully this will provide dividends for industry down the line.
I have given over a considerable amount of this week’s newsletter to the IPC Midwest show, with key features of the event in the news section and a selection of products that will be on show for the first time. If you are going – enjoy the show.
Contact Details and Archive...