The future of electronics production on display at productronica 2019

Author : Caroline Pannier | Exhibition Director for productronica

01 October 2019

productronica Entrance
productronica Entrance

This year, it’s the turn of productronica to pack the halls of Messe München in Munich, Germany, from November 12-15. Alternating annually with its larger sister expo, electronica, productronica claims to be the world’s leading trade fair for the electronics production industry.

This show preview was originally featured in the October 2019 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Attracting around 45,000 visitors from almost 100 countries (more than half are international), as well as around 1,500 exhibitors from more than 40 countries, the show is spread across 9 halls and 88,000m2 of exhibition space. Under its theme “Accelerating Innovation”, productronica 2019 will present the entire value creation chain for the electronics production industry, and this year’s event will focus on a range of topics, including smart maintenance, smart factories and the vital need to attract young professionals into the industry. SEMICON Europa will also run alongside productronica, as it did two years ago. Caroline Pannier, Exhibition Director for productronica tells us what to expect at the show...

According to the latest Business Climate Index from the VDMA (Germany’s Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau or Mechanical Engineering Industry Association – Europe’s largest industry association), manufacturers of electronics production equipment expect to grow by 1% in 2019, with a further 1.4% sector growth in 2020. Asia accounts for almost half of all turnover, making it the largest market worldwide for electronics mechanical engineering, followed by Germany with 25%, and the rest of the European market at around 18%. Falk Senger, Managing Director of Messe München, views these figures as a positive sign for productronica 2019: “Electronics production is still in good financial shape. We’re therefore optimistic that we’ll have a successful trade fair and productronica will live up to its reputation as the world’s leading trade fair, with numerous international exhibitors and visitors this year too.”

One ongoing issue impacting companies in the electronics production sector is the chronic lack of specialist staff and young people joining the industry – and this remains the largest obstacle to economic growth. As Falk Senger explains, productronica 2019 will feature a dedicated exhibition area for this: “According to various studies, there will be 100,000 unfilled vacancies for electrical engineers in Germany over the next ten years. We see it as our task to attract young professionals to the electronics industry and to encourage dialogue between companies and graduates.”

“Accelerating Talents” for young professionals

productronica 2019 will feature several new concepts with a focus on young professionals and start-ups. With its “Accelerating Talents” area in Hall B2, productronica offers a platform for students, graduates and young professionals which aims to encourage them to take up a career in electronics production. The concept is made up of three building blocks: an engaging visitor trail with entertaining educational features (including an escape truck) to help raise awareness of electronics production; a co-working space for discussions between exhibitors and visitors; and a Speaker’s Corner, where visitors can find not only brief company portraits, but also specialist “Tech Slam” presentations.

productronica 2019 logo accelerating innovation
productronica 2019 logo accelerating innovation

Premiere for productronica Fast Forward >>

In addition to young professionals, this year’s show will also focus on future-oriented innovations from start-ups in electronics production. Together with specialist electronics community, Elektor, productronica 2019 is bringing young companies and international industry representatives together. During productronica Fast Forward, start-ups will present their products and solutions in a separate exhibition area and forum in Hall B2. Companies with the most promising solutions will receive a productronica Fast Forward Award on the last day of the trade fair, Friday, November 15.

First ever hackathon at productronica 2019

Together with the VDMA and Fraunhofer (a German collective of research institutes and Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation), productronica will feature its first ever hackathon in Hall B2 this year. Exhibitors will function as taskmasters for students, young professionals and start-ups, who will have 48 hours to come up with ideas, solutions and prototypes at the fair. Exhibitors will benefit not only from the results of the challenge, but also from contact with potential new employees. In return, hackathon participants will have to opportunity to introduce themselves to potential new employers and demonstrate their skills during the challenge.

Smart maintenance live demos & 3D AOI Arena

Other new features at this year’s productronica include special shows for smart maintenance and 3D AOI (automated optical inspection). In Hall B2, visitors can learn how smart maintenance forms the backbone of smart factories and Industry 4.0. The exhibition demo park will show how smart maintenance can help reduce operating costs and increase profits, thus improving production efficiency. Meanwhile, the 3D AOI Arena in Hall A2, jointly organised by Messe München and publishing group, Konradin Verlag, will provide an overview of the 3D automated optical inspection market. Leading providers such as Cyberoptics, OMRON, Viscom and Yamaha will present the latest solutions during daily shows and hands-on sessions.


Solutions for the future: productronica’s Innovation Awards round 3

For the third time, productronica will award prizes to its exhibitors for the most innovative products. An independent jury drawn from industry and academia will select winners from submissions in the following six categories:

•  Cables, coils & hybrids

•  Future markets

•  Inspection & quality

•  PCB & EMS

•  Semiconductors

•  SMT

Winners will be presented with their awards at productronica on November 12, 2019.


productronica’s PCB & EMS Cluster

The PCB remains one of the most important inventions of the last century. As the backbone of almost every electronic device, it is the pre-requisite for cutting-edge technology and mass-produced electronics. Consequently, the PCB & EMS Cluster is one of the most important exhibition areas at productronica 2019.

As electronics have become an indispensable part of our lives, this has ensured consistently rising revenues for the electronics sector. According to the German Electrical & Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), last year in Germany, the industry achieved record sales of €195 billion – a 1.9% increase on the previous year. The PCB industry benefited from this, with 1.4% growth to an estimated €1.8 billion, says consulting firm Data4PCB.

Approximately 60% of the market is accounted for by the three big ‘Cs’ (computing, communication, consumer) – and Asia is clearly dominant in this respect. On the other hand, European PCB manufacturers continue to service the more specialist industrial and medical segments. These account for 15% of global PCB sales, 10% from European production. In all areas, the increasing mobility and miniaturisation of devices requires the use of corresponding PCB technologies with extremely small connection solutions.

5G bonanza

PCB manufacturers are also hoping for a burst of growth from the new 5G cellular network standard. The automotive industry plays an important role in this regard. It uses about 10% of global PCB production, as the proportion of electronic components in vehicles continues to increase. Automated driving, infotainment, electric drive systems and all-encompassing networking will continue to drive this trend. However, companies wanting to jump on the 5G bandwagon will have to invest considerably in new PCB technologies, so they can continue to offer technologically leading, cost-efficient products with innovative solutions in the future.


EMS companies as full service providers

For EMS providers, modern machinery and high production skills alone have not been enough to guarantee success for some time. New capabilities are in demand. And factors such as process technology and leadership, together with logistics and organisation, are increasingly important. The agenda even includes accepting innovation and market risks, plus after-sales management. Current challenges facing the industry include delivery bottlenecks for components and shrinking component sizes, which represent high technological hurdles for every electronics production company. According to in4ma statistics from Weiss Engineering, total sales in the EMS industry in DACH were close to €9 billion last year, after €8.38 billion in 2017. German EMS companies recorded 7.4% growth in sales, with analysts predicting 6.2% growth for this year.

Other clusters at the  show include:

SMT Cluster

Component mount technology, soldering technology, test & measurement, quality assurance, product finishing, production subsystems, production logistics and material-flow technology.

Cables, Coils & Hybrids Cluster

Manufacturing technologies for cables processing & connectors, coilware production and hybrid component manufacturing.


Semiconductors Cluster

Semiconductor manufacturing, display manufacturing, LEDs & discrete devices, photovoltaics manufacturing, micro-/nano-production, cleanroom technology, materials processing.

Future Markets Cluster

IT to Production, Industry 4.0, technologies for batteries & electrical energy storage, organic & printed electronics, 3D printing.

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