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68 I-CONNECT007 I SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE 2018 by Dan Beaulieu There was something different about IPC APEX EXPO 2018 at the San Diego Conven- tion Center. At first, I couldn't identify it, but a quick tour of the show floor on Tuesday morn- ing led me to the answer. It was an overwhelm- ing buzz of optimism, something I had not felt at this mother of all American trade shows for many years. In fact, optimism had been absent for so many years that I almost failed to recog- nize it. People were smiling and talking to each other. They were actively engaged and seemed excited to be at the show. There was a certain upbeat tempo to the affair. People even walked faster! And when I stopped to chat, I realized that my observations were accurate. Attend- ees and exhibitors were optimistic. They were happy to be doing some business together. Some said that the traffic at the show was down from prior years, and that could be. But even if that was true, business was being con- ducted and deals were being consummated. By the end of the show, many pieces of equipment sported "sold" signs with the name of the new owner. I talked to one PCB shop owner who had bought two expensive pieces of equipment to go along with the $3 million worth he bought in 2017. He told me that busi- ness was "through the roof," which he attrib- uted to, get this, "improving my quality and delivery performance and raising my technol- ogy level." His company is working on many products of the future, including self-driving cars and new medical devices. Optimistic Globalization Shines Brightly at IPC APEX EXPO 2018

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