APEX Trade Show

APEX 2017

The Apex Trade Show was held last week in San Diego.  Here are several new trends and technologies to watch for in 2017:


1. First and foremost was industry 4.0 or loT. That was definitely a big push at most every booth. This connectivity across all machines and processes in the factory promises to bring real and actionable data from every process step. Big data is promising big efficiency. Will it deliver on that promise?

2. 3D AOI has finally come of age. The technology was introduced several years ago but it has now come to fruition. Accurate dimensions and measurement are delivering useful information on component coplanarity, solder volume, lifted leads and package accuracy. Additionally, and possibly the most significant, is that 3D imagining actually makes the programming process easier, especially for unique parts not in the library. The 3D images have always been cool, now they are cool and useful.

3. The robots are here! There were different types of robots at many booths promising more automation throughout the factory. Most every manual operation including final assembly component counting/picking/storage, materials transport and any tedious task is ready to be performed by a robot. Better dexterity, better safety and very accurate GPS positioning are making the robots ready for prime time.

4. X tray technology continues to advance rapidly. X ray tubes, detectors and digital camera technology have enabled incredible resolution improvements creating incredible images inside the circuitry. Add in the computer tomography advances and failure analysis is becoming even more precise. X ray has also found new uses with component counting and counterfeit component identification.

5. A very significant yet sneakily quiet development is in lead free alloys for high reliability applications. SAC305 and SN100C have had a stranglehold on the RoHS alloy choice but poor reliability in some harsh environments has led to new high reliability alloy development. Many exemptions are expiring soon so this could signal a significant change in electronics manufacturing in the near future.

6. Finally, the most refreshing development at APEX was the overall industry optimism. Most customers were there to evaluate equipment and invest in new production capacity. Customers are generally optimistic that their business will grow this year and suppliers were equally encouraged and optimistic that 2017 will be a good year for all.


As always, let us know if you have any questions or want information about these new technologies and how they can help your business.

About Author: Patricia Kockott

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