An overview of the 24th annual Assembly Technology Expo.

It’s never been more important to bring higher-quality, lower-cost products to market faster than ever before. With today’s rapid pace of innovation, you and your team need specialized equipment, tools and knowledge to succeed. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Assembly Technology Expo 2003.

ATExpo 2003 showcases the latest in automated assembly machines and systems, power and hand tools, printed circuit board (PCB) assembly equipment, fiber optics automation systems, adhesives, dispensing equipment, robots and vision systems, fasteners, parts feeders, brazing and soldering equipment, motion control devices, test and measurement instruments, and manufacturing software.

More than 600 exhibitors will be displaying the latest assembly technology, and industry experts will be available to explain how to use the equipment for productive and profitable assembly. ATExpo 2003 focuses on the technology, equipment and tools that will help manufacturers achieve their goals for quality, productivity, flexibility and cost. At ATExpo, you’ll be sure to find solutions to keep you at the forefront in the fierce competition for market share.

The Electronics Assembly Pavilion (EAP), now in its eighth year, is a familiar element of ATExpo. The EAP focuses on practical solutions needed by today’s PCB assembler. The centerpiece of the pavilion is the EASI Line, a fully operational mixed-technology PCB assembly line that will build production quantities of a working memory game.

Now in its fourth year at ATExpo, the Wire Processing Assembly Line will build complete wiring harnesses to order. You can scan a bar code label to select the harness you want to build, and watch as the wires are cut, stripped and terminated. You can then assemble and tie-wrap the harness, run a final test, and register to win a prize.

The Robotics Pavilion, now in its fifth year at ATExpo, is one of the most popular highlights at the show. Systems integrators, original equipment manufacturers and contract manufacturers visit the pavilion to find state-of-the-art robotics technology and vision inspection equipment for their product assembly processes.

The Surface Mount Technology Association is again co-locating its international conference with ATExpo. The 5-day program will focus on leading-edge technologies for electronics assembly and packaging. The Adhesive and Sealant Council Inc.’s Fall Convention and Expo is also co-locating with the show.

The ATExpo technical conference program includes presentations by industry experts that will explain how to use the latest technology and equipment, so that you can take full advantage of every benefit that today’s assembly technology has to offer.

For the second consecutive year, ASSEMBLY magazine will host a panel discussion. This year’s discussion, to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 2 to 4 p.m., will focus on fuel cell manufacturing challenges and opportunities. Austin Weber, senior editor at ASSEMBLY magazine, will moderate the event.

Fuel cell production is predicted to grow at rates exceeding 40 percent per year over the next decade. The market for these trend-setting devices is expected to reach $20 billion by 2010. As a result, hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers are investing millions of dollars in fuel cell development.

The panel discussion will focus on the mass production issues that need to be addressed before fuel cells become cost-effective for transportation and stationary applications. The following topics will be discussed by a group of leading experts: design challenges, materials, joining processes and controls.

Be sure to attend the two FREE keynote presentations! On Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 9 a.m., Gerald Palmer, vice president of Caterpillar Inc.’s Wheel Loaders and Excavators Div., will lead off the expo with his presentation “Six Sigma Is About Success.”

By implementing Six Sigma, Caterpillar has achieved breakthroughs in quality and financial performance. In his keynote, Palmer will share his company’s success with its implementation of design for Six Sigma. Caterpillar uses the Six Sigma set of strategies, statistics and methods in everything from manufacturing to marketing.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m., Yasuo Tanigawa, vice president of production engineering at Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, will discuss how Toyota approaches the challenges in planning new process layouts and equipment specifications within the Toyota Production System. He will also address the flexibility that is required to work successfully in a lean environment.

ATExpo 2003 is the right place to find practical solutions for assembly challenges. A

Please stop by and see us in Booth 20072.

Don Hegland, Editor

John Sprovieri, Senior Editor

Austin Weber, Senior Editor

Patricia Carter-Roberts, Associate Editor