Perhaps it's just the result of spring thaw, but the trade-show season seems to have blossomed in all its colors. This issue of Vision Systems Design alone will be distributed at nine vision-related shows, and the pace keeps up next issue with another eight. Is this too many shows for one industry or technology? That's an open and frequently debated question, but, as we know, these shows are not at all alike—they are each quite unique in either application or location.
Shows such as Semicon Europa (Munich, Germany; April 20–22) and the Hannover Fair (Hannover, Germany; April 19–24) are not focused on imaging or machine vision per se, but they are important for the industries that we serve. In semiconductors and manufacturing automation, vision-based equipment is critical to production and quality. In addition, there are trade shows, such as the Defense & Security Symposium (Orlando, FL, USA; April 13–15), that address sensors and systems for law enforcement and the battlefield, and Photonics Europe (Strasbourg, France; April 27–29), that cover all optoelectronics, including sensors and cameras.
Time marches on
May's Vision Show East (Boston, MA, USA; May 4–6), organized by the Automated Imaging Association (AIA; Ann Arbor, MI, USA), has been a key show in the machine-vision industry, focused primarily on imaging-related components. Jeff Burnstein, executive director of the AIA, says attendance should be around 2500, with about 100 exhibitors, which is typical of past shows.
Times are changing, however, and it's not just spring fever. The Vision Show East will now be collocated with two other shows: NEPCON East/Electro and Assembly East. As Burnstein explains, many attendees at NEPCON are customers for exhibitors at The Vision Show East, and many exhibitors at The Vision Show East have exhibited at past Assembly shows. The joining of component and system makers is welcome and should help draw more systems integrators and end users to both events.
There is another aspect of this year's Vision Show East to applaud—the technical sessions and tutorials will be more extensive than past years. These reflect not just information on, for example, selecting lighting and optics, but include system design, machine vision for robot guidance, and numerous application and integration examples. Finally, a la the VISION show in Stuttgart, the Boston show will feature a floor party on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, with music, food, and beverages, where attendees and exhibitors from all three collocated shows can really network and relax.
This industry will certainly benefit from more integration, whether of components, systems, or people. So, see you in Boston, where the lilacs will be in bloom!
W. Conard Holton
Editor in Chief