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November 18, 2013

Show Report - Productronica, Munich, Germany

Show Report - Productronica, Munich, Germany
Circuitnet attended Productronica last week in Munich Germany. This was the 20th Productronica show (held every other year), and alternates with Electronica which focuses on components and systems. I've been attending this show since 1987 and always enjoy meeting friends and colleagues who have grown up in this industry. This show provides a unique opportunity to get a global perspective of the electronics industry in a few days.

Productronica is the largest industry trade show for electronics production with more than 1,200 exhibiting companies and 38,000 attendees from 83 countries. Attendees learn about the latest technology in PCB fab, assembly, test and inspection. The show covered 450,000 square feet in seven buildings.

Show Report - Productronica, Munich, Germany
Hall A3 at Productronica
I walked the show floor beginning last Monday through Thursday visiting almost 200 companies learning about their technology and discussing business conditions. Based on these conversations, most companies are having a "flat year" in 2013 compared to 2012. The global economy has shown minimal growth and a slowing China economy has everyone concerned. However we did find a few companies with higher growth through unique niche solutions and product differentiation.

A few trends we noticed during our visit are AOI and SPI continue to grow as customers demand higher first pass yields. Selective soldering systems continue to take market share from wave solder machines and cleaning and conformal coating technology will provide
opportunities for equipment and chemistry companies.

Management at several companies mentioned 2013 started slower than expected due to the financial stalemate in the USA and the "sequestration" limiting growth of some military budgets. Many companies have seen a pick-up in momentum during the 2nd half of the year. Most companies are budgeting for a slightly better 2014 based on continued automotive growth, a stronger housing market, and continued growth in mobile communications.

It was interesting to note that although Apple is still a significant customer for many companies, the Foxconn effect seemed to be diminished at this year's show. Competitors for mobile technology including Samsung, LG, Google/Motorola and local China brands are spreading the opportunities for all suppliers to win new business.

The European credit crisis which was a significant issue during the 2011 Productronica show has stabilized and Germany's leadership role help prevent default in parts of southern Europe. The local Germany economy is doing quite well, led by the automotive industry.

It's been another successful Productronica show this year and we'll plan to be back again in November 2015...

Ken Cavallaro, Editor / Business Manager
Circuitnet