- SPECIAL REPORTS
The fourth annual Assembly East exhibition and conference, which was held May 1 to 2 at the Fort Washington Expo Center (Fort Washington, PA) was 2 days of encouragement for manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region. The mood throughout was upbeat, as 2,098 industry professionals searched the aisles for assembly equipment, tools and services to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve quality.
The show floor was a marketplace of assembly suppliers with 150 companies exhibiting automated assembly systems, workstations, adhesives, fasteners, wire processing machines, robots and motion control devices. "Assembly East is the most convenient way to compare equipment in the East," said attendee Jonathan Mann of Allegis Corp. (Bethlehem, PA).
Greg Hollows of Edmund Industrial Optics, a first-time exhibitor, was pleased with the event. "We can see 25 people in an hour vs. seeing 25 people in a week," he noted.
"The strong turnout of qualified attendees with purchasing agendas is good for this region and for the whole country," said Kel Marsden-Kish, industry vice president for the Assembly family of events, produced by Reed Exhibitions. "An event’s conference also indicates how the industry is trending, and the 150 percent increase in attendance at this year’s Assembly East conference is a very positive sign for American manufacturing."
"The increasing depth and breadth of service that the Assembly family of events offers the assembly community enables assemblers to serve their markets efficiently and profitably," said Marty McClellan, publisher of ASSEMBLY. "ASSEMBLY magazine launched the first small show back in 1974, and that service has grown continuously every year, making a significant contribution to the strength of American manufacturing."
Assembly East was accompanied by a cutting-edge educational conference produced in part by leading industry associations: the Surface Mount Technology Association, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Edison Welding Institute. Popular sessions covered topics such as workcell design, lean productivity systems, quick and continuous improvement through a Kaizen Blitz, and solder joint reliability of ball grid array assemblies.
George Szekely, general manager of Tyco Electronics’ Automation Group gave the keynote presentation, "Assembly Automation in a Rebounding Economy." His talk focused on how companies can benefit from the latest technologies without heavy investments. He stressed that it is essential to keep automation deployment, human resources and finance in balance.
Another well-attended event was the panel discussion "The Profits and Perils of Assembly Cells." Hosted by John Sprovieri, senior editor of ASSEMBLY, the panel included five senior executives from leading manufacturers. Check out Sprovieri’s report in this issue to learn what these experienced manufacturing professionals said about the pros and cons of using assembly cells as a manufacturing strategy.
Attendees also had the opportunity to tour two assembly plants. Tyco Electronics hosted a tour of its plant in Willow Grove, PA. The 36 attendees saw examples of kanban application and learned how Tyco rapidly integrates new products into manufacturing. Siemens Energy & Automation hosted a tour of its plant in Spring House, PA. The 31 attendees saw how Siemens improved its assembly processes through Kaizen Blitzes. Look Ahead to ATExpo Don’t miss the Assembly Technology Expo 2002the only trade event dedicated exclusively to world-class product assemblywhich will be held Sept. 24 to 26 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Rosemont, IL). Reed Exhibitions expects more than 700 exhibitors to be showing the state-of-the-art in product assembly equipment.
Two free keynote presentations are sure to be highlights of ATExpo. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Jerry Elson, vice president of vehicle operations for General Motors Corp., will address "Emerging Technologies in Automotive Manufacturing." In the increasingly competitive automotive industry, manufacturers must continue to increase productivity, improve quality, reduce costs and bring products to market as fast as possible. The application of digital and wireless technologies in the manufacturing environment will be a key enabler to achieving better results in the future. Elson will discuss how GM is integrating these new technologies into its manufacturing system.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Anne Stevens, vice president of North American Vehicle Operations for Ford Motor Co., will address "Technology as an Enabler for People and Quality." Ever since Henry Ford revolutionized vehicle manufacturing with the assembly line, Ford Motor Co. has remained on the cutting edge of technology. Stevens, who is responsible for 21 Ford assembly plants in Canada, Mexico and the United States, will share her insights on the use of advanced technologies to maximize both product quality and worker productivity.
For more information about the Assembly family of events, call 888-267-3796 or visit www.atexpo.com.