IPC/WHMA to Help Grow Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo

IPC/WHMA to Help Grow Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo

Earlier this year, IPC/WHMA announced that it was selected to manage the Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo (EWPTE), to be held in Milwaukee, Wis., starting in 2021. What does IPC/WHMA bring to the table? David Bergman, WHMA executive director and IPC vice president, standards and technology, and Alicia Balonek, senior director, tradeshows and events, explain.

Q. Why IPC/WHMA? How can this help EWPTE grow?

A. IPC is an industry association with more than 60 years of providing excellent service to the electronics manufacturing industry with a mission to help companies build electronics better. IPC got involved in wire harness in the early ‘90s when our members requested workmanship standards for wiring harnesses. We collaborated with the Wiring Harness Manufacturers Association and together developed IPC/WHMA-A-620 Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies. After developing the standard, the two organizations created a certification program for wiring harnesses. IPC/WHMA-A-620 and its certification program have grown globally to become one of our most popular standards and training programs, with 17-20,000 individuals trained to IPC/WHMA-A-620 every year. The synergy between IPC and WHMA led to the two organizations signing an affiliation agreement in 2019, enabling an even closer working relationship and the opportunity for more services for WHMA members.

Q. What does IPC/WHMA bring to the table from the show perspective?

A. IPC got involved in producing shows for our members in the early ‘90s with Surface Mount International (now SMTA). Subsequently, IPC was asked by our suppliers to the PCB industry to develop IPC Printed Circuits Expo. In the late 90’s, IPC merged with the Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association (SMEMA) which directly led to the launch of IPC’s APEX trade show. These efforts made it very clear to us that there is a tremendous benefit to bringing end-user customers and manufacturers together with suppliers in an industry trade show event. This is the logic behind IPC/WHMA’s bid to manage EWPTE and our vision is to bond the associations and EWPTE together.

Q. Why is IPC/WHMA the best organization to take on this event?

A. WHMA’s aspirations are to:
• LEAD — By providing knowledge and best practices
• EDUCATE — By developing standards and distributing information
• CONNECT — By fostering relationships
EWPTE is the perfect place to take action on all three aspirations, along with IPC’s vision to help the world build electronics better. It’s good for IPC/WHMA and good for the show.

Q: Now that IPC/WHMA are producing EWPTE, will this mean a whole new look and feel?
A. EWPTE has a 20-year history of success. Our goal is to build on that and make it even better. IPC/WHMA’s promise to our members are for a focused, fair, and cost-effective event. It has worked for IPC’s flagship event IPC APEX EXPO and WHMA’s Annual Wire Harness Conference, and it is our belief it will work here. So, tweaks and enhancements are being planned, but not wholesale overhauls. We recognize that there is a comfortable family feel to the event, and we don’t intend to lose that, but to instead grow the family.

Q. You have stated that you will develop a technical conference component to this event. How will that be developed and what will it include? Can you highlight particular conference tracks?

A. This is still in the early planning stages. Historically there have been exhibitor sponsored workshops and seminars which are very popular with the attendees of the Milwaukee event. These will continue. We have reached out to OEMs and fabricators that come to the event to determine what educational topics will attract more of their peers. We will pull together a program committee that can provide first-hand feedback.

Q. How will you increase the global reach of EWPTE?

A. IPC/WHMA has hundreds of wiring harness manufacturing members and thousands of companies that have expressed interest in wiring harness technology. This is the advantage of binding the associations and the show together. Our goal is to reach out to these thousands of companies and motivate them to participate in the show.

Q. You will be managing the upcoming EWPTE May 11-13, 2021. Will you include a virtual component if the pandemic situation continues?

A. We have had hybrid elements to our show productions available for many years. However, our exhibitors have not embraced the usage of these available tools. If the pandemic continues, maybe this will change. We will be actively promoting the virtual/hybrid tools to our exhibiting members and encouraging companies to take advantage of them.

Q. What are the three top reasons to attend EWPTE in 2021?

A. Certainly the trade show activity would be first: come and see the latest industry solutions on the show floor. Attendees should also plan to check out the educational offerings: improving oneself and their industry knowledge. And finally, the opportunity to network with peers, suppliers, and customers to refresh existing relations and make new connections.

Q: Why is this event so important for wire and cable manufacturers? How does this event differ from WHMA’s annual wire harness conference?

A. EWPTE is the largest show of its kind for the wiring harness manufacturing industry in the United States. If WHMA members are going to go to one event, it would be this one. Many WHMA members send multiple staff to check out and hopefully buy the latest materials components and equipment.
The WHMA Annual Conference held in Q1 each year serves a different audience. This meeting is targeted more to the executives of harness manufacturing companies and is intended for business leader networking. WHMA’s annual conference is smaller than EWPTE, and while there are a number of tabletop exhibits, it does not compare to the business activity that takes place at the Milwaukee Center.

Q. Where can people go for more information on the 2021 show?

A. Those interested in learning more about EWPTE 2021, can visit