Report from Circuitex 2008

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As more companies continue to diversify their end markets, many wind up investing greater amounts of time and money at more trade shows. Not only do expanding markets put more trade show demands on the industry, but also the large number of geographical areas companies must cover. When adding up all the shows just for the PCB industry, it becomes apparent that there are easily a dozen shows throughout the year in many different countries. Between design, fabrication and assembly, there must be at least one show per month--or more.In China, three key trade shows exist for the PCB industry--the CPCA Show, the HKPCA Show and last week's Circuitex, held in Suzhou, China. Over 320 exhibitors from around the world made up the Circuitex show floor this year. Show organizers reported there were approximately 20,000 visitors over the three-day show period. Though some on the show floor felt the exhibition was sluggish, the organizers indicated that attendance this year was up by 5,000 visitors.With so many exhibitions on the calendar, it is sometimes difficult to find products that are truly new at every show. However, Orbotech introduced a new Automated Optical Repair station that removed shorts on boards with high speed and accuracy. If one was to judge a product's viability by the crowd that gathers around it at a trade show, then Orbotech has hit a homerun.Watch Bob Neves of Microtek Laboratories interview Yair Alcobi, Vice President Marketing and Sales with Orbotech, here.Unfortunately, one thing that was not new at CircuiTex is the amount of technology copying being reported by exhibitors. During the show we had a chance to interview Jon Dallons, President of Western Quartz Products, Inc., who reported that not only have his products been copied, but those who stole the product designs actually print his brand name on the copies! As Dallons points out (and anybody who's bought a black market Chinese DVD can attest), just because it's copied doesn't mean the quality is the same. As we all know, Western Quartz is not the only company in the world with this problem.Watch the interview with Jon Dallons, President of Western Quartz Products, Inc., here.This year the conversation at the show was dominated by the devastating earthquake that struck China just days before the show opened. More than 40,000 people have lost their lives and the projected death toll is expected to reach more than 50,000 people. During this disaster, the Chinese government has been quick to respond and allowed world media access to report on the devastation unlike any event prior. This might be a case of projecting a good face for the upcoming Olympic Games or it could actually become a trend in what many are saying is the new, more open China, but only time will tell. In any case, we wish all the best for the thousands of families impacted by the earthquake.We have many more trade shows to cover this year, including next month's JPCA Show in Japan, Semicon in July and SMTA International in August. It seems the complaint we hear at every exhibition--that there are too many tradeshows--will not go away anytime in the near future.To view photos from Circuitex 2008, click here.



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