So here’s a funny story.  At the MEMS Summit in Stuttgart in September, while chatting with Denny McGuirk President and CEO, SEMI, I suggested that SEMICON Europa 2017 would be better attended if it was held in Munich. I’ll admit this was mostly selfishly motivated, as I’ve made the trek from Phoenix to Dresden and Grenoble for industry events, and it’s not an easy one. (Full disclosure: the last time I attended SEMICON Europa was 2007 in Stuttgart). But I was also echoing the sentiments of many people I’d had discussions with on the topic over the years, which usually got around to them saying, “SEMI Europa was so much better when it was located in Munich…” citing the venue size, location, and accessibility of Munich, vs. Grenoble, Stuttgart, and Dresden. Denny gravely assured me he’d get to work on that right away. Turns out he wasn’t joking.

This week at the MEMS Executive Congress, he was pleased to report that the mission was accomplished. Not only will SEMICON Europa  2017 be held in Munich, it will be co-located with Productronica and Electronica (the two events alternate annually), for the next five years. Productronica is the world’s leading trade fair focused on electronics development and production. Electronica is the world’s leading trade fair for electronic components, systems, and applications. Both events draw crowds in the 40K and 70K respectively.

Now, as much as I’d like to claim that my comment inspired the move, the reality is that I’m just a good guesser. The plans had been in the works for a while and fit right into SEMI’s overall re-boot to serve the supply chain from end-to-end, as part of its SEMI 2020 initiative. If SEMI is to grow as an organization and continue to serve its members in the manner that they expect, it must evolve along with the industry. Massive consolidation and the shift of focus from Moore’s law to heterogeneous integration is driving the need to represent more than just semiconductor suppliers, and SEMI is responding by re-inventing itself to represent the entire electronics supply chain as well as related industries like photovoltaics (PV), LEDS, flexible hybrid electronics, and MEMS. This is why they’ve formed strategic partnerships with organizations like the Flextech Alliance, and MEMS & Sensors Industry Group.

While the move hasn’t exactly been met with enthusiasm by semiconductor companies based in Dresden and Grenoble, where SEMICON Europa has been held in alternate years since 2009, McGuirk and Bettina Weiss, VP Business Development and Product Management, SEMI, stand by the decision as being in the best interest of SEMI members and SEMICON Europa exhibitors. Personally, I think co-locating SEMICON Europa with Productronica and Electronica is pure genius; and should have been done years ago!

Why? It just makes sense. The reality is, neither Dresden nor Grenoble is easy to reach from anywhere outside the immediate regions, and while it made the trade show more accessible to local attendees, it didn’t actually result in increased attendance. Moving the event to Munich and co-locating with Productronica/Electronica allows SEMICON Europa to benefit from an easily accessible venue, a major international airport, with the assurance of a large targeted audience. Moreover, companies who regularly participate in both events will save on travel expenses.

SEMI’s primary source of revenue comes from its membership dues and exhibitions, which is then used not only for operational expenses but to fund its programs, initiatives and advocacy for policy and regulations worldwide. This will help grow this event to rival sister events like SEMICON West and SEMICON China and will help SEMI grow as an organization. McGuirk assured me that there were plenty of smaller conferences, symposiums, and summits to go around, so that other semiconductor hot-spots around Europe, such as Dresden, Grenoble, the UK, and Milan, will have plenty of opportunities to host events.

So mark your calendars: SEMICON Europa 2017, November Nov 14-17, 2017, Munich Messe. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make the trip next year! ~ FvT

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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