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Silicon Valley Automation Trade Shows

The reality: there aren’t any automation trade shows in Silicon Valley.  Here are my ratings for the closest:

  1. Semicon (July) has the most automated equipment (mostly wafer robots and back-end wire bonders) and vendors.  I’ve found some good new products at Semicon, but not many.  Heck, even most of the local automation distributors skip it, since the substantial exhibition costs outweigh the benefits.  I’ve skipped it the past few years.
  2. Photonics West (January) has very little; typically there are a few data acquisition vendors and some lab automation oriented vendors.  Last time I went, there were a bunch of companies with serial or USB stepper motor packages with horrible, “intuitive” simple protocols.  Sometime I’ll write a rant about how I hate those; maybe it’s OK if you’re truly doing something simple and you’ve only used one brand, but I’ve used way too many different ones.
  3. Embedded Systems Conference (April) typically has nothing directly related to factory automation, but I enjoy going because many of the underlying products are here, such as microcontrollers (MCUs), digital signal processors (DSPs), Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), and Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS).

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