Even in our vastly internet-dominated world, nothing has quite replicated the impact of a face-to-face discussion with vendors and fellow engineers. Electronics manufacturing trade shows are valued for their inherent ability to establish a relationship and answer questions in ways you simply cannot achieve via email or over the phone.
Electronic contract manufacturers use these shows to break ground with engineers and purchasers in a variety of fields. Let’s take a look at some of the best trade shows out there for you to take advantage of and start meeting great new partners and vendors today.
8 Great Electronics Manufacturing Trade Shows
All show dates are in 2018 unless specified.
- March 17-19, 2019, Philadelphia
Founded in 1950, The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, commonly referred to as Pittcon, is an annual conference focused on medical and laboratory science. Consistently the largest gathering in the world in these fields, Pittcon is an excellent chance for those in the medical field who need ISO 13485 manufacturers.
The most recent event, held in March 2018, saw an impressive 11,415 total attendees, with 71 percent of that number involved in their company’s purchasing process, according to the event’s website.
The show is typically rotated among five cities (New Orleans, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia) every year.
2. Design 2 Part
- Sept. 12-13, Long Beach, CA
- Sept. 26-27, Marlborough, MA
- Oct. 10-11, Raleigh, NC
- Oct. 24-25, Akron, OH
- Nov. 14-15, St. Charles, MO
If you use electronic contract manufacturing often, you may be familiar with Design 2 Part. D2P is an exhibition company that focuses on contract manufacturing across the U.S.
Attend a D2P show and you’ll likely find several electronic contract manufacturers (ECMs), metal fabrication and plastics exhibitors. Smaller than most trade shows on this list, D2P exhibitions aren’t going to bring in vendors from all over the country, but they do provide a great in-road for local prospects looking for ECM services in their own backyard.
3. Advanced Design & Manufacturing Expo
- You just missed this one! It was June 12-14, New York, NY. There’s a Montreal version coming up Nov. 14-15, too.
ADM shows offer a rare diversity to its attendees. In one expo, you will find a show floor divided among several markets, including
- Design and manufacturing
Show sizes vary depending on the location, but exhibitions are held yearly in critical marketplaces like Cleveland, New York, and Boston.
Each event has conferences, keynote speakers and even classes revolving around current market trends and technology.
4. Railway Interchange
- Sept. 22-25, 2019 – Minneapolis, MN
Held every two years, Railway Interchange is the largest railway exhibition in North America.
These are big shows, with 9,000 attendees in 2017. They feature showcases from members of:
- Railway Supply Institute
- Railway Engineering Maintenance Suppliers Association
- Railway Systems Suppliers
If you are a member of these organizations, you’ll get a booth space discount, too.
If you are involved in the rail and transportation industry, Railway Interchange is a must-attend. Its usually held in Minneapolis or Indianapolis, providing a central location for several large railway markets to attend and see what vendors have to offer.
5. APTA Expo
- Oct. 12-14, 2020 – Anaheim, CA
APTA is the premier public transportation showcase in the country.
Held just once every three years, APTA is always a terrific location to witness the rapid innovation in the industry. Some of the categories on display at this gigantic show are:
Show officials expect over 15,000 attendees in 2020.
6. SMTA International
- Oct. 16-17, Rosemont, IL
The Surface Mount Technology Association is something your vendor could already be affiliated with. But did you know that SMTA puts on an expo once a year in Chicago?
SMTA International isn’t huge, but it offers its attendees the chance to see state-of-the-art SMT equipment like:
- Inspection machines
- Testing equipment
- Component placers
While most shows focus on finding new customers, this show is a good opportunity for your company to find suppliers and check out the innovative technology that electronics manufacturers are using. Consider sending a purchasing or engineering team to scout some of the opportunities that will be on display, including over 170 booths with live equipment.
7. Defense Manufacturing Conference
- Dec. 3-6, Nashville, TN
Two of the largest electronics markets in the U.S. are defense and aerospace.
DMC is a small, but effective, showcase sponsored by companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and CTG. This year, DMC is expecting over 1,500 participants and 140 exhibitors, making it one of the biggest defense manufacturing expos in the country. If you are seeking companies with ITAR registration and AS9100D aerospace certification, there should be plenty of opportunities.
In addition to the expo, a Diminishing Resources and Material Shortages conference will be held. Given the current state of the components industry, this is another reason to book your flight.
8. Semicon West
- July 10-12, San Francisco, CA
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Semicon West is one of the premier annual electronics expos. Known for its showcase of innovative, groundbreaking technologies, Semicon is a great place to learn about the latest developments in fields like:
- Smart manufacturing
- Wearable technologies
- Much more
In addition to the 500-plus exhibitors, Semicon features over 100 hours of programming, making it a fantastic opportunity for engineers of all fields to come together.
This three-day event drew over 22,000 visitors and exhibitors in 2017.
Education & Maybe a New Partner
There are so many chances out there to find out what an electronic manufacturing services provider can do for your product. Try to get to at least one trade show each year so your designs and processes don’t go stale!