Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Publication Date: 04/1/2011
Archive >  April 2011 Issue >  Hi-Tech Events > 

APEX Shows Industry Leaping Out of Recession
Bannockburn, IL — Papers being presented at this year's IPC APEX EXPO® Technical Conference, April 12-14, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas include new research and innovations from industry experts around the world. The Technical Conference will cover more than 30 technical topics to provide the industry with practical solutions and new opportunities for the future.

Over two-and-a-half days, 35 sessions with nearly 100 research papers will be presented on topics such as counterfeiting, lead-free reliability, embedded devices, environmental issues, high speed/RF, moisture and laminates, solar power, and sustainability. In addition, soldering processes, head-on-pillow defects, design, reliability and stencil printing are the subjects of multiple sessions because of the wealth of new information available. "Lead-free processes and higher temperatures continue to challenge the industry on a number of fronts. One of the great advantages of IPC APEX EXPO is the chance to network and find solutions from multiple levels of the supply chain," says IPC Technical Conference Director Greg Munie, Ph.D.

Management Council
Before the action on the show floor begins, senior-level executives of PCB and EMS companies will meet to discuss industry challenges at the PCB Executive Management Meeting and EMS Management Council Meeting on April 11. Focused on providing executives with key information to successfully navigate today's business environment, these full-day meetings are rare opportunities for executives to hear from industry experts and to network with peers, suppliers and customers. Both meetings will be held in conjunction with IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas and will conclude with a VIP networking dinner boasting Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as a guest.

To kick off the PCB Executive Management Meeting, Isola Chairman and CEO Ray Sharpe will address attendees with a view of the PCB market from a laminator's perspective. During "Bridging the Gap Between Design and Fabrication," a panel of fabricators, designers and suppliers will share insights on how to ensure product success starting from the design stage. Representatives from Lockheed Martin, CTS and OLEC Corporation will discuss their respective companies' technology roadmaps and provide key information about technology requirements on the horizon.

During both executive meetings, time is dedicated to holding valuable roundtable discussion sessions where attendees can openly exchange thoughts on strategies and solutions to common issues.

Assembling Solar Panels
The assembly of solar panels is very similar to the assembly of printed boards, making solar power a hot opportunity for electronics assemblers. A small but growing market, solar module production is projected to increase 273 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to iSuppli. Shedding some light on the rapidly advancing business of solar panel assembly, IPC will host the Solar Assembly and Solar Living Pavilion on the show floor.

"Renewable energy sources will play an ever-expanding role in meeting future global energy demand," says Dave Torp, IPC vice president of standards and technology. He adds that although solar power is still relatively expensive when compared to other forms of power generation, analysts indicate it will have parity with those systems as early as 2014.

The Solar Pavilion will include multimedia displays on panel assembly, lamination, tabbing, stringing and cell manufacturing from industry contributors. In addition, solar panels from Bombard Renewable Energy will be set up outside the exhibition hall to power a typical family room staged on the show floor.

Celestica will provide a multimedia display of solar panel assembly from start to finish. The display follows a crystalline silicon cell through all the assembly process steps required to make a crystalline silicone solar panel. Individuals familiar with the configuration of surface mount assembly lines will be interested to see the similarities and differences in the solar panel assembly process. The multimedia display was created at Celestica's manufacturing operations in Toronto, Canada, which is being ramped up to meet the demand for new energy-generation alternatives through the Ontario Feed-In Tariff Program.

The fine art of interconnecting solar cells together, known as stringing operations, will be demonstrated with Komax Solar's Xcell solar cell interconnection platform, Xcell X2. Its evolutionary technology for stringing and tabbing solar cells together optimizes efficiency in the stringing operations by utilizing one machine base for two string tracks, producing the world's most compact solar cell interconnection machine.

APEX will also host a technical conference session on solar power (S25) with presentations on the solar PV business outlook, technology roadmap, reliability overview and a look at the impact on the PCB/PCBA industry. One-day or full conference registration is required to attend.

Keynote: Economic Recovery
IPC Director of Market Research Sharon Starr's latest reports show signs of an uneven economic recovery in the electronics manufacturing industry with pronounced geographic and sector differences. She will co-present this industry data and more at the Global Business Outlook Keynote along with noted industry analyst Walt Custer, president of Custer Consulting Group, on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.

"With some sectors leaping ahead and others struggling to maintain momentum, planning can be quite challenging," notes Starr. "Companies can't rely on generic industry growth statistics in this type of environment. Our keynote will present the latest data by type of business, sector and by geography, which provides invaluable indicators for the future."

"We've named the speech `Navigating the Recovery' because the environment is still quite difficult and competitive," says Custer. "Companies need to focus on profitable sectors and customers that provide real opportunities. Being able to take advantage of the recovery requires a lot of agility and insight. I think this hour will be very valuable for planning in the year ahead."

Custer and Starr will provide forecasts and trends for electronics equipment and component markets and discuss how seasonal and cyclical trends affect the industry and the supply chain. For more information, visit

search login