Sunday, March 08, 2009 | Dominique K. Numakura - DKN Research
I recently attended the International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference (nano tech 2009) in Tokyo. I am not sure how many years the show has been running; however, I think its history is short--not more than five years old. This was my first visit to the show, and my primary goal was to check out their newest exhibition added this year--Printable Electronics 2009. Printable Electronics 2009 was one of six concurrent exhibitions held at Tokyo Big Sight, Japan. My plan was to visit only this exhibition, so I scheduled myself for a half a day and showed up early in the morning on day one of the show. I began the tour on one end of the exhibition, and was pleasantly surprised to find many exciting displays and participated in a few thought-provoking discussions. I was so impressed with the show that I ended up staying the full three days the exhibition was scheduled to run.
The floor size was much smaller when compared to NEPCON World or the JPCA Show, but representatives from companies within the industry, as well as R&D organizations, reserved more than 700 booths. Additionally, several public R&D organizations, including NEDO, AIST and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, showcased more than 200 technical projects. All told, more than 1,000 leading-edge technologies were featured along with the latest affiliated products.
Nanotechnology and related products occupied approximately half of the floor plan. Running concurrently were: Convertech JAPAN 2009, neo functional material 2009, Nano Bio Expo 2009, Printable Electronics 2009, ASTEC 2009 (surface treatment technology) and METEC 2009. NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) reserved a large area and featured close to one hundred successful R&D projects.
A big difference between this exhibition and other industrial shows is that exhibitors at nano tech 2009 focus on future technologies instead of tomorrow's bread and butter. The products displayed were mostly ordinary industry materials and basic technologies such as coating, surface treatment, printing and photolithography. Of course, nanometer sized materials and processing are the major subjects at the exhibition.
A unique distinction for the show was the noteworthy contribution from foreign countries. Many were from major industrial countries and reserved large booths featuring the latest R&D activities for nanotechnologies. The countries represented included Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Iran, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The German booths occupied more than one third of the floor space, while Belgium reserved two larger booths to represent the Northern region (Flanders) and the Southern region (Wallonia). I think these countries had two agendas: 1) to promote their high tech companies to Asian countries and 2) to invite more high tech companies from other countries. Each government's representative was very aggressive and tried to speak with all the visitors during the show. I was surprised with the lack of representation from the United States--they did not reserve a booth, but the state of Illinois was represented in a relatively small booth.
As you may have guessed, there is a lot of competition among countries and providences of that country to attract high tech companies. Most of these officials presented sales pitches to many companies bragging about their state-of-the-art infrastructures, size of their science and high tech parks and the business value of their regions.
Many public and private universities participated in the show as well. University laboratories were provided with small booths; however, they were granted one booth free of charge. The students were very spirited to explain the results from R&D projects, hoping to secure patents for commercialization.
I mentioned earlier that the technologies I observed were relatively basic and not practical for business applications in the near future. However, there were many visitors from industry related companies at attendance despite the slow economy hanging overhead. Certainly, they are considering the long term relative to high tech business (assuming they survive the current financial crisis).
Dominique K. Numakura
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com
Headlines of the Week
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The company has achieved the world highest conversion rate (18.9%) for poly silicon base solar cell devices.
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The supplier has unveiled several fine printing machines with +/- 10 micron alignment accuracy for printable electronics.
3. HOYA (Major glass material supplier in Japan) 2/20
The supplier has decided to postpone its hard disc joint venture plan with Showa Denko due to slow demand.
4. Kyocera (Major device and substrate supplier in Japan) 2/20
The company will build a solar cell assembly plant in China. Operation will start in 2010.