The Michigan SMTA Expo & Tech Forum 2018: A Review


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In May, I  had the adventure of driving across Michigan to visit the SMTA Michigan Expo & Tech Forum. This was a well-organized and attended tabletop expo and technical forum. There were over 75 exhibitors there and with 80 pre-registered attendees, it seems there were many that registered at the door.

The Tech Forum took the shape of two timely and interesting talks. First, Gary Goldberg and Mike Goldberg of Promation presented "Robotic Soldering Solutions."

Gary discussed the global market trends in the world of robotic soldering automation. The industry has discovered new emerging technologies, as global suppliers compete to gain an increase in worldwide market share and develop new industry standards for robotic soldering automation. He explained what constitutes as an ideal candidate for robotic soldering automation and how the technology can assist in better allocation of labor force and improve overall soldering quality and process stability. Gary proceeded to dispel misconceptions about robotic soldering and educate attendees to the latest and greatest technology being developed and the new increasing challenges for robotic soldering automation suppliers. A lively Q&A session followed the talk.

Next, Scott Schwartz of Stratasys discussed 3D printing. Additive manufacturing has been revolutionizing the manufacturing industry and is constantly changing the way people design, manufacture and market their new and existing products. Seeing this firsthand has allowed Stratasys to compile some of the most influential applications we have seen in recent years, and Scott shared these with the audience, including a demonstration.

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Figure 1: (a) The Stratasys 3D printer; and (b) various 3D printed examples including different painted, colored or plated surfaces.

Walking around the tables and chatting with old friends, there was nothing that struck my eye as new and revolutionary. Meanwhile, I-Connect007 had a tabletop display (Figure 2) with an iPad displaying all of their publications, including some examples of their many free e-Books for review.

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Figure 2: I-Connect007's tabletop display.

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Figure 3: The free lunch served to everyone at the Michigan SMTA Tech Forum.

The MI-EXPO ended at 3 pm with drawings for door prizes contributed by the exhibitors. A good time was had by all, and it was well worth the drive.

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