Productronica Winds Down

We’re down to the last hour of Productronica. All in all, it was a better-than-expected show, modest by historical standards but strong compared to everything else this year. Perhaps more important, after a year of malaise, there is a noticeable improvement in the general outlook for 2010. The optimists far outnumbered the pessimists this week.

“It looks like the worst is behind us,” Juki Europe president Jurg Schuepbach told us. The placement machine market collapsed in 2009, falling 80%, he noted. Yet 52% of the firm’s 2009 revenue came from new accounts, and the company has high hopes to build on that in 2010.

TechCon’s Brian Glass pointed out that expectations for Productronica weren’t great, but its traffic and quality were “the same as two years ago.” AOI OEM Viscom added that the show was “much better than we thought [it would be].” A company spokeswoman said its X7056 AOI/AXI combination was of high interest, with a number of people also looking at SPI. Seho’s Christian Otte said that the value of leads was higher, and pressure was tight for shorter delivery time. “Companies want machines before the end of the year,” he said. Although Seho has a full range of soldering machines, most interest came from companies looking at selective soldering.

Electrolube introduced some 13 products this week, most in the non-VOC range. Customer demand is driving its push into that technology.

ECT’s Bud Fabian remarked that most attendees were interested in talking about the cost of test, and how to take that cost out of their end-products.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow