After only 10 minutes of walking The ASSEMBLY Show floor on opening day [October 29], I no longer felt the chill of a cold October morning in Chicagoland. The reason was not that the show floor hall was warm. Rather it was that my thoughts had turned to Jamaica after coming across the Jamaica Promotions Corp. (JAMPRO) booth.
“Last year we didn’t attend because there was not enough time for us to include exhibiting here in our budget,” explains Ricardo Durrant, manager—manufacturing, energy and mining for Jamaica Promotions Corp.  “This year we made sure to be here and increase attendees’ awareness of manufacturing opportunities in Jamaica, including assembly and fabrication.”
JAMPRO is a government agency that promotes exporting to Jamaica and business investment opportunities in the country. Durrant says that Kingston—the country’s capital and largest city—offers logistic capabilities equal to those of Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Singapore and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). Durrant says Jamaica also offers a very skilled labor force.
“Manufacturing accounts for 19 percent of total employment, $723 million (U.S.) in exports and 8.3 percent of GDP,” says Durrant. “The sector comprises more than 300 companies. In addition, electronics assembly and fabrication are beginning to emerge.”
JAMPRO was one of more than 35 companies exhibiting at TAS for the first time. Another was Elk Grove, IL-based Delta Precision Circuits Inc., which supplies quality PCBs to manufacturers in a wide range of industries.
“We’re here to reach contract manufacturers that need any type of PCB,” says Janice Rosario, sales and marketing manager for Delta Precision Circuits Inc. “All of our products are custom-made, and include single-side, double-side and multi-layer PCBs.”
Founded in 1971, the company also supplies metal-core PCBs—including aluminum or copper core boards for LED manufacturers. Akshay Patel, operation manager for Delta Precision Circuits Inc., says the company has Teflon-core PCBs for microwave applications and TMM (thermoset-microwave-laminated) boards for antennas.
A minority owned corporation, Delta is UL and ISO-9001:2008 certified. Its workers are trained and certified to IPC-A-600 class 1, II and III (Acceptability of Printed Boards).
MJM Industries Inc. also exhibited for the first time this year. The 30-year-old company specializes in wire harnesses, cable assemblies (standard, coaxial and flat flex), over-molded products, control panels and electromechanical devices.
“Nearly 50 people representing many industries from all over the United States visited our booth the first day,” says Peter Wanek, national sales manager at MJM Industries Inc., based in Fairport Harbor, OH. “You can’t beat that amount of exposure in such a short time.”
Wanek says the company’s main markets are auto and medical. In addition, MJM serves several industrial manufacturers and provides specialty cable assemblies for entertainment venues around the United States. The company uses automated and semi-automated equipment to process wire and cable from 4/0 to 32 AWG.
Several companies showcased their visual-work-instruction and assembly-guidance products. Visual Knowledge Share Ltd. makes VKS software, a Web-based application that enables companies to create and securely share paperless work instructions.
“The application tracks work time and works in sync with manufacturing equipment to capture critical productivity and quality data,” explains Ryan Zimmermann director of business development for Visual Knowledge Share Ltd. “It provides a significant reduction in defects and increase in productivity, as well as 100 percent traceability.”
During assembly, an operator must periodically fill out forms before continuing with an assembly task. The forms ensure that the operator is following directions and is acknowledging that there should be no error.
Besides error-proofing assembly, the software improves worker training, and equipment maintenance and repair. Zimmermann says customers include aerospace, medical, automotive, rail and contract manufacturers located throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The Light Guide System, from OPS Solutions, consists of software and an overhead high-lumen projector. Individual part selection and assembly steps are programmed in the software, using drop-down menus.
Preprogrammed visual display features (VDFs) are projected directly onto a work surface or parts bins where they can easily be seen, explains Chris Bala, vice president—sales and marketing for OPS Solutions. VDFs may contain instructional text, numbers, workstation location coordinates, colors, graphics, videos and animation. They automatically guide the operator through each step of the part selection and assembly process.
“Auto confirmation—done via vision sensor, torque tool feedback, or other technology—really takes error-proofing to a whole new level,” claims Bala.  “Also, dynamic tracking allows us to detect and track a moving assembly line, as well as both project work instructions and positively confirm an assembly or inspection operation."