REPLItech North America 2001
My favorite tradeshow, bar none, is also the only event where one can see optical disc being made, along with exhibits of equipment representing every aspect of disc manufacturing. It really brings out the inner geek in me--seeing the robotics whirling clear substrates from the moulds into the sputtering chambers, and in the case of DVDs, then flipping one layer onto the other for bonding; watching as the spincoaters measure out a dollop of lacquer and whirl it around to coat the whole disc; listening to engineers describe minutae of esoteric processes and sales associates close deals with buyers in a dozen languages; witnessing conference panels with the occasional differences of opinion among experts who are truly the world's best in this global field.
The convention is also a social event, where those who have been around this surprisingly small (but very important) industry see old friends, have meetings, attend parties and dinners, and make new contacts as well as renew old ones. Newbies have the chance to learn an incredible amount in a short time, and old hands frequently see things they hadn't encountered before, too, since this event is frequently the site of major announcments. This expo and conference present the opportunity to absorb almost automatically the basic knowledge needed to understand how CDs and DVDs are made, along with many of the finer points of the matrix of crafts required to produce optical media that has changed the way information and entertainment are delivered. From handling raw polycarbonate to choosing appropriate labeling equipment and inks, to selecting a DVD bonding method (is hot melt better, or UV-cured adhesive?), to styles and methods of packaging and even disc cutters and special moulds for making non-round media, it's all there.
To register for the conference or exhibits and find more information, visit REPLItech's website at http://www.replitech.com