Find the tools your company needs to succeed at ATExpo 2009.

Despite the economic hard times, assemblers in the United States will still spend more than $2.5 billion on new assembly equipment this year, according to ASSEMBLY magazine’s 13th annual capital equipment spending report.

Not only that, as the economy works its way out of the downturn, assemblers are going to have to work smarter and more efficiently than ever if they are to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy.

To make sure your company has the capital equipment it needs to survive in this kind of environment, be sure and check out this year’s Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo), set for Sept. 22-24 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, immediately adjacent to Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

As in 2008, ATExpo 2009, which is sponsored by ASSEMBLY magazine, will be co-located with the Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest (MD&M Midwest) show and the Green Manufacturing Expo. Also co-located with this year’s ATExpo will be Quality Expo and the new Design & Manufacturing Midwest and Electronics Midwest shows.

In addition, ATExpo 2009 will feature a range ofconference sessions, including a quality track, a design track, a medical track, a green manufacturing track, and a track on automation and assembly.

The latter, which is being sponsored and organized by ASSEMBLY magazine, will be comprised of a number of specialized sessions, including those on plastics assembly, affordable automation, lean manufacturing, compliant design, affordable robotics for smaller manufacturers, machine vision and recycling. (See Sidebar below.)

Building the Future

As it has been for more than a quarter century, ATExpo istheone-stop source for assembly-related equipment and materials, including automated assembly systems, adhesive and solder dispensing machines, robots, conveyors, parts feeders, circuit board assembly equipment, adhesives and sealants, mechanical fasteners, machine vision systems, power tools, presses, workstations, process monitoring systems, and test and inspection equipment. 

The show also plays host to dozens of integrators and machine builders with experience in assembling everything from the tiniest consumer gadgets to high-end medical devices and mission-critical components for the automotive and aerospace industries.

This year’s ATExpo will include a number of what show organizer Canon Communications describes as technology-specific areas, including a sensors and vision area, a wire harness processing area and a new lean “factory,” which will feature lectures and a step-by-step demonstration on how to build an actual lean production area.

Canon Communications is also creating an Innovation Briefs Theater, a 50-seat amphitheater complete with its own screen, where experts can give 30- to 40-minute seminars on various technologies.   

Co-Located Shows

For those with responsibilities in the areas of design and planning, this year’s Design & Manufacturing Midwest show will include exhibitors featuring the latest in CAD, CAM and CAE software, computer hardware and peripherals, contract manufacturing services, linear motion devices, material handling systems, plant engineering products, motors, drives and other manufacturing support equipment.

Similarly, Electronics Midwest will be your one-stop source for the latest in component insertion and placement equipment, soldering machines and everything else you’ll need to manufacture and package printed circuit boards.

For those either already a part of, or planning to become a part of the red-hot medical-device industry, MD&M Midwest will bring together many of the major equipment, materials and service providers doing business in the Midwest and beyond.

In fact, the five states comprising the upper Midwest-Illinois, Wisconsin,  Michigan, Indiana and Ohio-are already home to some 1,800 medical OEM facilities producing about $20 billion worth of medical devices and equipment every year. Thanks to the United States’ rapidly aging population and continuing advances in medical technology, those numbers will only get bigger in the coming years.

Finally, for those looking to either become a part of the new green economy or cut their costs through environmentally friendly technologies, there is the Green Manufacturing Expo.

Now in its second year, this event focuses on sustainable manufacturing and covers economically sound and nonpolluting manufacturing processes that conserve energy and natural resources.

Products and services featured will include solar and wind power systems, recyclable and reusable packaging, energy management software, and consulting for energy management, recycling and waste treatment.

Last but certainly not least, for those in search of the quickest possible return on investment for their trade show dollar, this year’s show will include an hourly “grab bag giveaway.” Every day of the show, between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., there will be a drawing each hour, with prizes including MacBook Air laptops, Best Buy gift cards, iPhones, and iPod Nanos.

Registration Information

A single entry badge allows attendees to visit all six shows. If you preregister online or bring show material with you on-site, admission to the shows is free. Otherwise, you will be charged an expo-only fee of $55 to register on-site. Online registration is available even on show days.

For more information, current exhibitor lists and to register for free show admission, visit any of the show web,,,,

Sidebar: Prepare for the Rebound at the Assembly Conference

As the economy gets back on its feet again, assemblers are going to have to work smarter and better than ever before to remain competitive. This, in turn, will require not only the latest technology, but new ways of thinking-both of which will be the focus of this year’s assembly conference at ATExpo.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the conference kicks off with three tracks:“The Ultimate Plastics Assembly Seminar,” “Lean Manufacturing,”and“How to Profit from Automated Assembly.”

The plastics assembly track will feature industry experts addressing everything from ultrasonic welding and light-cure adhesives, to the best ways of placing inserts and using the latest environmentally friendly materials.

The track on lean manufacturing will include speakers such as Kevin Duggan, founder of The Institute for Operational Excellence, discussing how to employ lean techniques to grow a business in a recovering economy. The automation track will feature speakers such as Mikron Corp.’s Jim Mueller, who will explain how designing a new product with assembly in mind can reduce costs.

On Wednesday, the conference continues with three more tracks:“Technology for Profitable Assembly,” “Robots and Vision,”and“Preparing for the Economic Recovery.”

The session on profitable assembly will begin with presentations on resistance welding, crimp quality verification, and press fits and process monitoring. In the afternoon, the track continues with a panel discussion on how even small companies can benefit from robotics. There will also be a presentation by Denise Coogan, manager for safety and environmental compliance at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc., on how her plant has cut the amount of solid waste it generates to zero.

The track on robots and vision will include sessions on robots and the “green” economy, collaborative robots working in close proximity to people, and how to employ machine vision to improve your bottom line. In the afternoon, Dr. John Kamauff, a principal and expert on supply chain management  at Archstone Consulting, will give a pair of presentations titled“North America: the New Low Cost Manufacturer”and“Planning for the Rebound.”In these sessions, attendees will learn how companies can position themselves to take advantage of the latest trends in manufacturing.

Finally, the conference will end on Thursday with a pair of workshops:“Reducing Part Counts and Product Costs Through Compliant Design”and“Lean Workshop: Operating System Design.”

Chairing the session on complaint design will be Sridhar Kota, Ph.D., a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. Leading the workshop on lean manufacturing will be Matt Zayko of the Lean Transformations Group.

Individual sessions are about an hour long, and will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday workshops will begin at 9 a.m. and finish at noon. For more information, including session abstracts and a complete conference schedule, go