NEPCON Japan 2018 – Takeaways from Tokyo

NEPCON Japan – Takeaways from Tokyo

You are looking at images from what is unquestionably the largest electronics show in the world. The scale of this show is huge and it continues to grow by adding small shows that address new technology areas such as Wearables, Robotics and Smart Factory applications. In total there are 17 micro-shows within one, attracting over 150,000 visitors last year – a number I think they are sure to exceed this year!

The RoboDex event which is only in its second year had most of the coolest new technologies in my opinion. At least half a dozen companies manufacturing robotic walking aids, a host of intelligent robotic assistant and hostesses and also mainstream, multi-axis robots and AGR’s to assist in manufacturing.

A surprising find in this area of the exhibition was JUKI, who were showing their latest partnership with Essegi to build an automatic reel delivery system from their storage tower that is delivered by AGR to the kitting area, speeding up the supply of materials to the line.

This system was not too dissimilar to the one demonstrated by FUJI over on the other side of the exhibition in the Internepcon halls. Both seemed to favor using the Omron AGR.

Yamaha had a flurry of new announcements, at the center of which was the launch of their long-awaited SPI system. The YSi-SP inspects print quality for volume, height, area and misalignment at record high speeds using a single head that combines 2D and 3D technology employing a proprietary Yamaha alglorithm.

One of the most impressive companies launching new products was ESE. This South Korean printer manufacturer has had an impressive record of introducing well-constructed innovative printers. Their latest printer has an automatic stencil changeover system that holds up to eight stencils; a great addition for high-mix manufacturers. The system also has a unique paperless cleaning system that is more affordable and is less problematic than paper.

Talking about stencils, LPKF showcased a superb new system for manufacturing step stencils. The purpose-built vacuum table enables stencil manufacturers to manufacture step stencils more easily and accurately, utilizing their existing laser system in as little as one hour! That’s a far cry from the typical 3 day+ wait most EMS companies are used to.

Nihon Superior announced plans at Productronica to continue SN100C as an official brand beyond the upcoming expiry of its patent. In Tokyo they went a step further towards reinforcing this with the launch of an official new logo supporting the brand identity.

And finally, I noticed a significant change in the audience this year. Many more of my US and European colleagues were visiting and/or exhibiting at this event and there was a sizeable contingent of buyers from India. In many ways this show is almost too big, but it continues to become more compelling.

Trevor Galbraith.


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