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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 The past few weeks had been hectic. In mid-February, I travelled to San Diego, California, to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2018. It was just my third year of attending the show but seemed bigger than the past two I have attended. This year's show highlighted new features, including the CFX demo, which I found interesting; it looks like Industry 4.0 is beginning to take shape and cement its pres- ence in the roadmaps of every stakeholder in the industry. I talked to some of the partici- pants in the demo, and you can read inside what they have to say about CFX. By now you have probably seen our Show & Tell special edition (if not, click here), which is a comprehensive recap of the IPC APEX EXPO 2018 event, complete with our video cover- age, interviews of award winners, as well as insights from our expert columnists and editors, among others. Less than two weeks after arriving home, I travelled to chilly Shanghai, China, to attend the productronica and electronica China 2018 shows, as well as the CPCA 2018 show. The productronica and electronica China shows were massive and, by all accounts, very busy. One exhibitor expressed to us that in the three days of the show, he had not had a chance to walk the show floor—it was that busy in his booth. The CPCA Show likewise was a big event, and Happy's presentations at the conference, on topics ranging from auto- mation to Whelen's lights-out factory, were well attended. The shows were well-attended by engineers from Chinese PCB manufacturers. Industry Driver The past year was one of the strongest years that the PCB supply chain and the rest of the electronics manufacturing industry in general, has seen. Everyone we talked to at the shows, including the HKPCA & IPC Show 2017 event we attended last December in Shenzhen, China, were optimistic that the strong growth in the industry in 2017 will continue through 2018. And most industry players point to one thing when it comes to what's driving this strong growth—automotive electronics. In fact, one of my RealTime with… interviews at IPC APEX EXPO 2018 show was with Henk Biemans, managing director of MEK Europe. During our discussion, he mentioned the increasing use of THT AOI systems in the wave-solder- ing process because most power electronics in cars still use through-hole devices—and most of these assemblies are manual. All industry analysts are forecasting contin- ued growth in the automotive electronics market. According to Global Market Insights, the global automotive electronics market will surpass $395.91 billion by 2024, up from $206.33 billion in 2016. The growth is attrib- uted to the increasing automotive electronics adoption in cars to deliver safety features such as vehicle data recorder systems, emergency call systems and alcohol ignition interlocks, to name a few. Infinium Global Research, meanwhile, expects the automotive electronics market to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% over the 2017 to 2023 period. Editor's Note by Stephen Las Marias, I-CONNECT007 Automotive Electronics Still in the Driver's Seat

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