Changing technologies, business climates since show’s debut

IPC APEX EXPO will start its second decade when it opens next week in Las Vegas. It’s worth looking back to see how the industry has changed since the dawn of the decade. Many technologies have come and gone, and market conditions are certainly much different.

The exposition began in part as a response to the excesses of other shows for this industry. The parties and booths had gotten so extravagant that many exhibitors eagerly moved their booths to a show that wanted to shift the spotlight to products and technical sessions instead of chocolate fountains and ice carvings. That is no doubt one of the reasons the show has seen continued success during the downturn.

The technical sessions of the first IPC APEX EXPO were also quite different than those of this year. Flip chips were supposed to become the next big thing for circuit board manufacturing. Multichip modules were beginning to see a future. Both technologies have seen some success in semiconductor packaging, but neither became the mainstream board level technology that many proponents expected in 2000.

It’s easy to forget some of the technical oddities from the turn of the decade. Take the one technical issue that loomed over the entire electronics industry when companies were preparing booths for the first exhibition. It’s a punch line or seemingly an amusing peculiarity now, but Y2K was still a huge issue when preparations for opening day were being made.

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