I recently attended the JPCA Show, the largest trade show event for the printed circuit industry. Organized by Japan Electronics Packaging and Circuits Association (JPCA), this year’s event was held on June 7 at Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight). This general exhibition featured the following joint shows: JIEP 2017 (31ST Advanced Electronics Packaging Exhibition), JISSO PROTEC 2017 (19th Jisso Process Technology Exhibition), Large Electronics Show 2017 and WIRE Japan Show 2017. The printed circuit industry in Japan continues to struggle, and I was excited to visit the show to discover the latest business trends for the Japanese circuit board industry.
The size of the show was almost the same as last year, but there were significant changes to product lines from material suppliers. It seemed to me there was an increase in attendance, and almost everyone was there to get a glimpse of some new technology trends.
Equipment suppliers reserved large booths to demonstrate their new products. Just like last year, the major assembling machine companies—Yamaha, JUKI, Panasonic and Fuji Machine—received most of the attention. The machines they showcased did not have significant upgrades, but the suppliers promoted a few small improvements such as higher speed and productivity, easier handling and higher reliabilities. There were fewer drilling machine suppliers at the show compared to the previous years. They featured the new mechanical drilling machine models with higher productivities, and their laser drilling machines targeting microvias.
Equipment suppliers for the manufacture of flexible circuits shifted their focus this year. They did not showcase any machines related to photolithography and pattern etching. Instead they featured product lines aimed at basic processes such as punching and stiffener bonding that provides higher productivity and an increase in accuracy with roll-to-roll processing.
Material suppliers also shifted their focus this year. Historically, copper-clad laminates were the core products for material manufacturers. However, laminate suppliers did not feature any copper laminates this year. Instead, they introduced nano-powders, nano-inks with hopes to target companies with newer applications.
Circuit manufacturers featured new technologies aimed at the growing markets for wearable devices, automobile electronics and medical devices. The key words in these segments are stretchable (elastic) and transparent electronics.
Overall the show was a success. I am optimistic for the future—there are a few new trends coming down the road. Stay tuned for the next DKN Newsletter.
Headlines of the week
1. Hitachi Maxell (Major electronic material supplier in Japan) 5/25
Successfully observed the lithium ion movement in the secondary batteries during charging and discharging.
2. JST (Major R&D organization in Japan) 5/25
Has co-developed a new flexible motor using printable electronics process with Tokyo University targeting actuators of soft robots.
3. Fujitsu (Major electronics company in Japan) 5/29
Has developed a new cathode material based on iron phosphate compound without cobalt component for lithium ion batteries. It will be effective to reduce battery cost.
4. NTT (Major telecommunication company in Japan) 5/29
Has developed a new 3D imaging technology. Clear 2D images without glasses can be 3D images through glasses.
5. NEDO (Major R&D organization in Japan) 5/29
Has started new R&D projects of nano-carbon materials introducing AI technologies to speed the processes.
6. Mitsubishi Electric (Major electric and electronics company in Japan) 5/30
Has rolled out a new fiber laser system, the eX-F D-CUBES Series, that introduces a new control module known as D-CUBES. The new system has a higher productivity with a higher accuracy.
7. Yasukawa (Major equipment manufacturer in Japan) 6/1
Has commercialized a new arc-welding robot, the MOTOMAN-AR1730. It has a higher speed for heavier duty (25kg) with a long arm distance.
8. Hiroshima University (Japan) 6/5
Has co-developed a new CMOS amplifier by extremely low energy consumption with Fujitsu. The device works by VDD= 0.5V at 80 ~ 100GHz.
9. Sony (Major electronics company in Japan) 6/5
Has developed the industry’s smallest distance image sensor with 10 micron square pixels collaborating CMOS image sensor and ToF base distance image sensor.
10. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) 6/6
Has commercialized a new SMT connector series, P4SP, for power circuits. It works for both of BTB and FTB connection with 0.5 mm pitch and 5A capacity at one connection.
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