M-Tech Tokyo Show Draws Huge Crowd

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The 19th Mechanical Components & Material Technology Expo (M-Tech 2015) was held on June 24 at Tokyo Big Sight. Running concurrently were the 26th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo, the 6th Medical Device Development Expo, and the 23rd 3D & Virtual Reality Expo. The trade shows encompassed a broad range of technologies and mechanical processes, and are an excellent source for cutting-edge technologies for designing electronic devices and other mechanical components.

Show organizers reported that more than 2,000 companies and organizations were represented, and the show was completely booked, with no vacancies.  It was tough navigating from booth to booth because the aisles were narrow and there were a remarkable number of visitors. It was somewhat frustrating because of the crowds, and I almost gave up trying to belly up to any of the booths.

The large turnout is a direct reflection of the efforts by the show’s promoter.  They asked the local governments in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand to reach out to the smaller companies in the area and promote themselves as unique technology providers.  The low cost of promoting at a national level was attractive to many of these companies.  Local governments also benefited by inviting high-tech companies to the show, hoping to lure them to set up shop in their cities and towns.  A nice byproduct would be an increase in local job opportunities and an increase in tax revenues.  

I wouldn’t exactly call the atmosphere “flea market-like,” but a lot of stuff was packed into small booths with little aisle space between them. The bottom line: It was a great opportunity for small manufacturers and customers to network.  The only knock against the show was the logistics. 

Typically, a government-sponsored show will have one company in attendance for a specific technology segment.  A customer looking for a specific technology or product will have no problem finding it.  But this time, the booths were spread out and there was a lot of walking between booths; comparison shopping was extremely difficult.  Potential customers could waste a lot of time looking for a specific technology only to come up empty. Navigating was extremely difficult, and it was almost impossible to cover the entire show in one or two days.

One of the most popular topics at the convention was 3D technology. Large companies that develop CAD, craft machines and measuring equipment demonstrated their latest technological progresses. 3D printers were probably the most popular products at the convention, and manufacturers displayed state-of-the-art printers and new inks.

A few years ago, most of these manufacturers claimed the new 3D printers would replace standard manufacturing equipment and traditional manufacturing processes because of their quick-turn capabilities and dimensional accuracy.  Unfortunately, 3D printers have not lived up to this expectation because of practical limitations for this technology, and the market for 3D printers may be shrinking.  Sometimes you cannot build a better mousetrap.

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Headlines of the week

Toshiba (major electric and electronics company in Japan) 6/16

Has developed a new chip recognition system utilizing the security technology of the random telegraph noise for IoT equipment.

Panasonic (major electronics company in Japan) 6/18

Plans to commercialize four network cameras for the security management of office spaces. These cameras are designed to work in dark environments.

Shin-Etsu Chemical (major chemical company in Japan) 6/18

Will invest 7 billion yen to build a new plant in Fukui Prefecture to expand its manufacturing capacity of photomask materials for semiconductor processes.

Toppan Printing (major printing company in Japan) 6/23

Has begun manufacturing leading-edge flip-chip-BGA (FC-BGA) substrates for high-end semiconductor devices on the Niigata plant’s new manufacturing line.

Ricoh (major electronics company in Japan) 6/25

Has developed the R1272S series, a new DC/DC controller IC for automobile applications with high efficiencies and high voltage resistance.

Toshiba (major electric and electronics company in Japan) 6/25

Has developed a new main transformer based on SiC that withstands 3.3 kV for the JR Tokai bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka.

Tokyo University (Japan) 6/25

Has developed a new elastic conductive ink with high conductivity. It is printable on textiles to generate new type of wearable devices.

Citizen Electronics (major device manufacturer in Japan) 6/29

Has commercialized the world’s thinnest multicolor LED module, the series CL-426F-AA and CL-426F-AACC with reflectors.

Kyocera (major electronics company in Japan) 6/30

Will build the fourth mechanical tool plant in China to supply tools for local automobile part manufacturers.

Molex Japan (major connector supplier in Japan) 7/3

Has commercialized a new low height FFC/flex circuit connector series “505110” with 0.5 mm pitch. The mounted height is 1.9 mm, 24% smaller than standards.

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