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The Tokyo Big Sight was the place to be on Feb. 15.

The East Hall was bursting with well-known organizations and individuals affiliated with the electronics and technology community. So began Convertech Japan 2017. The three-day event featured many exhibitions. Most notable were: Advanced Printing Technology Expo, 3Decotech Expo, Prototype & Contracted Manufacturing Exhibition, ENEX, Smart Energy Japan, Energy Supply & Service case, InterAqua, ASTEC, SURTECH, nanotech, Printable Electronics, and 3D Printing. The featured product at the exhibition was electronics and progressive technologies (e.g., advanced materials and interface technologies).

There were several noteworthy booths reserved by familiar and respected organizations. The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) reserved a huge booth to showcase their state-of-the-art projects. Also present were the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Japan Scientific and Technology Agency (JST). A strong academia presence was represented at Convertech Japan 2017, and offered a fresh perspective on new technologies. Many universities (mostly students showcasing their academic studies) had remarkable contributions in their technological field. In fact, several universities featured practical application for their new technologies. There were quite a few booths reserved by local and smaller sized institutes and consortia. Even though they were small, their presence was a clear benefit to people who attended the exhibition. Many companies from foreign countries contributed a significant representation Convertech Japan 2017. For example, Germany had a huge booth dedicated to their companies and the major institute, Fraunhofer. Other countries with large booths included the Netherlands, Taiwan, Korea, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Iran, Canada, and China. Companies from the US did not present many new products or technologies and reserved relatively small booths.

Companies affiliated with 3D printing introduced new capabilities and materials. 3D printing continues to be a major topic of conversation at these conventions. However, most of the displays were just mock-ups and many companies continue to look for realistic applications. Researchers have taken steps to illustrate the practicality of printable electronics. However, there is still a search for even more practical applications. Several keywords used during the convention were: nano, 3D, carbon nanotube (CNT), and graphene. At this time, it is unclear whether or not there will be actual commercial applications. One researcher confided in me that these were just buzzwords aimed at securing R&D budgets.

One thing was clear at the convention, although Japanese companies are still hurting from a long recession, we all look forward to learning about new technologies and dreaming of future applications. Japanese companies benefit from attending academic events and conventions like Convertech Japan. After all, only good things come from putting a bunch of intelligent and innovative people in the same room.

Dominique K. Numakura, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DKN Research, dknresearch.com

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Headlines of the Week

1. DNP developed a film laminate of nylon and PET suitable for pouch packages. It can reduce total thickness remarkably.

2. Fujitsu started free service of testing bed for large scale IoT systems. It could be valuable for the management of large size data processing.

3. AIST developed a small (5~40 nanometer) nano-capsule as the stable storage device for wide range molecular weights including various proteins.

4. Sony developed the first CMOS image sensor with three layer construction of DRAM chips for smartphones.

5. Lenovo unveiled a unique LTS (Low Temperature Soldering) process. It is valuable to reduce energy and improve component reliability.

6. AIST developed a compact high-power fuel cell system with high reliability for robot or vehicle uses.

7. Fuji Film rolled out a high-resolution lens series “FUJINON HF-XA-5M SERIES” for industrial vision cameras.

8. Tohoku University established a quickturn manufacturing system for lithium ion batteries for small-volume production of electric vehicles.

9. Sumitomo Chemical will introduce an organic EL lighting panel “Layer Series” during the Lighting Fair in March. It is flexible, and for designing colors, shapes and transparency.

10. Ube Industries started sample supplies of N-type organic semiconductor, available for printing organic ICs.

11. Kyoto University and Tohoku University studied the formation process of graphene nano ribbon conductors. It could be valuable to design ultra small size electronics circuits.

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