This year's Assembly Technology Exposition, held Sept. 27-29, has been receiving rave reviews, with exhibitors saying they were happy with both the quality and the quantity of attendees at the event.

One exhibitor, a regional manger with Fluid Research Corp. (Tustin, CA), described the show, which is sponsored by ASSEMBLY magazine, as the "best show in 4 years," with an "enormous traffic increase" over 2004 and many strong sales leads.

According to event organizer Reed Exhibitions (Norwalk, CT), this year's show, which was co-located with the biannual International Robots & Vision Show, had approximately the same number of exhibitors as in 2004, but the exhibit sizes were larger than in years past. That makes it the first ATExpo to improve on a previous year's performance since the onset of economic hard times in 2001.

"Assembly Technology Expo 2005 was the best show in many years," said Reed Exhibitions vice president Kel Marsden-Kish. He noted that the co-located Robots & Vision Show made it an especially valuable event for manufacturing professionals.

In all, more than 600 exhibitors took part in the two shows, displaying everything from workstations to heavy-duty robots to adhesives and manufacturing software.

As in years past, highlights included a fully functioning electronics assembly line and wire processing line. Immediately prior to the show's opening keynote address by NASA risk manager Michael Lutomski, ASSEMBLY magazine announced its 2005 Assembly Plant of the Year-the Xerox Corp. plant in Stamford, CT, where the company builds its state-of-the-art iGen 3 digital commercial printer. As a special treat, Xerox had one of the 3-ton, 60-foot-long machines on display in the main exhibition hall.

Scott Strode, vice president of production for Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner aircraft, also made a keynote address as part of the ATExpo, which was co-located with the SMTA International Conference as well. The latter featured a number of sessions on lead-free assembly, RFID and quality issues of concern to the electronics industry.

For a complete rundown on what went on at this year's ATExpo, visit You can also get insights into the event by visiting the ASSEMBLY magazine ATExpo blog at

Next year's ATExpo-the 27th running of the event-is scheduled for Sept. 26-28 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, immediately adjacent to Chicago's O'Hare airport.