By converting the entire production line to a virtual format, visiting the "Future Packaging" 2020 joint stand remained possible despite everything, and an avenue for dialogue between exhibitors and visitors outside of halls and aisles was created. Above all, the strategy gave us confidence in the future viability and flexibility of the joint stand.
For machine and equipment manufacturers, distributors, electronics manufacturers, technology and process providers, etc., the ability to quickly react to changes is key to maintaining relationships between clients and manufacturers, as well to relevancy on the international stage. Agility is still the buzzword of the hour, but when the show is over and the spotlights have been dimmed, one thing apart from the impressive technical achievements remains as prerequisite for further cooperation: trust.
How can these requirements be met without a physical trade show stand and how can all the information be communicated to visitors in an interesting and sound way? By means of numerous individual discussions between the Fraunhofer IZM team and the individual exhibitors at the joint stand, the first step was to analyze the expectations of both exhibitors and visitors. This revealed that considerable doubts persist regarding the digital processing of information. The exhibitors lack the direct feedback of the visitors, the visitors are missing the individuality of personal conversations.
Within the framework of SMTconnect, it was decided to pre-produce an one-hour line as a video, but at the same time to publish it on the channel of www.future-packaging.de and to give visitors the opportunity to watch the whole thing after the exhibition. In addition, a multi-stage plan was developed which, based on the overall video, will deliver and update interesting content over the next few months, thus filling the platform with life and creating a growing platform that functions as a direct channel for the joint stand. Because one thing is clear: digital exhibitions must also become sustainable in the area of content. The show no longer ends when the hall doors are closed. Only those who present themselves as reliable partners will survive.
It should be noted, that the content of the production line demonstration and its focus remain the same as those of the originally planned physical exhibition. Attention is paid to improvements, increasing efficiency, conserving resources and avoiding downtimes. Close networking between all elements of the value and supply chain across a wide range of technology and data platforms is not the only solution here. New approaches to the organization and the bundling of resources make even further efficiency improvements possible. An important approach here is disruptive thinking. However, within a comparatively traditional industry such as component manufacturing in Germany and Europe, this cannot be learned and implemented overnight. This was also evident in the various responses to the challenges of 2020. Nonetheless, pressure from customers who want to move from prototype to market maturity as quickly as possible, while at the same time taking advantage of economies of scale, is increasing day by day. Therefore, the "Future Packaging" joint stand exhibitors are keen to provide detailed answers to the pertinent pressing questions regarding the individual processes and technologies.
"Time for in-depth dialog is an important aspect of a visit to the production line, because the production line often provides impulses, which are then best discussed in greater depth directly with the customer”.
In this way, the production line is a pragmatic means of helping many electronics manufacturers struggling to keep up with the pace of development in the electronics sector. Because, today, being able to assess market movements and - above all - to set trends instead of playing chase is more important than ever. With the "digital production line" Fraunhofer IZM and its various machine, technology and process partners show what is currently possible and what will become important in the future. Since Fraunhofer IZM - also in its role as part of the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) - is already developing technology for implementation in five to ten years’ time and is holding it available for its project partners, all participants will be in prime position to benefit. Thematically, the production line covered a wide variety of trends - from the optimization of the actual manufacturing processes to new approaches to and understanding of all-encompassing data interconnection. In other words, current and future topics crucial to electronics manufacturers. Everything else can be discussed at any time via any conceivable channel.