Nepcon '99 – Production firms quietly confident about business outlook

Nepcon ’99 – Production firms quietly confident about business outlook
Richard Wilson
Production equipment and test system firms at this week’s Nepcon exhibition in Birmingham said they were quietly confident about business prospects this year. The general consensus was that the UK’s electronics manufacturing sector was quiet, but in the last quarter there were signs of new ordering activity.
According to Mike Lowe, MD at Schaffner EMC, the company’s EMC component and filter division has had a good February and March. “The component business is buoyant. It picked up markedly in February and March,” said Lowe at the exhibition.
“We’ve had busier years,” said Stan Edwards of Panasonic Factory Automation, who indicated that the outlook was far from worrying with software upgrade products doing well. “When hardware sales are down, software sales are invariably up,” said Edwards.
Production equipment supplier ITE is also seeing strong growth in its UK test fixture and handling system businesses. “Sales are over target after the first quarter,” said ITE’s UK managing director Mark Patmore.
Patmore has a target of UK sales over ?2m this year and is seeing demand for test automation systems strong particularly in the contract manufacturing sector. “I have growing markets in PCs, automotive and domestic appliances,” he added.

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