Weiner International Associates
           Weiner International Associates

Best Wishes For A Happy Hanukkah, Merry Xmas, and  A Happy New Year To All Of Our Readers And Supporters Around The World!   


December 2019


Well, we were partly right. Before year-end China and the U.S. have agreed to implement a "phase 1" towards settling the current trade war. Both countries will see some benefit to some reduced tariffs as well as commitments to buy certain products. However, as far as the electronics industries go, some of the damage and shifts are irreversible. We may have to redefine what we mean by the term "electronics is a global industry".


It's now time for corporations to review the past year and cinch up their forecasts for the next 1 to 3 years. The current uncertainty is making it unusually difficult to do so, especially where money must be budgeted for facility and equipment investments. Some firms are reported to running short term (6 month) forecasts without major commitments to long range needs. 


One prognosticator just wrote a column speculating on the return of the captive circuit fabrication shop to hedge bets - and enhace security. This follows the realization that industry consolidation continued in the western world with another 7 PCB houses in Germany closing their doors in 2019.


Huawei's latest smartphone, the Mate 30, which competes with the iPhone11 does not contain any parts or chips from the U.S. We doubt that they will return to Qualcom, Intel, or other American chip suppliers in the "near" future - if ever.


Apple, on the other hand, while it is touting its planned production increases in the U.S., has deepened its cooperation with China-based supply chain makers for not only ramping up its shipments to China but also further reducing its overheads, according to Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers. Source: Digitimes.


I agree with those that say that times of great change offer great opportunities. Now is such a time!


Looking forward and showing strength


The Thai PCB industry has formed the Thai Circuit Board Association (THPCA). The THPCA has been officially recognized by the Thai government. The THPCA plans to develop the PCB industry and occupy a strategic position in the global electronic equipment supply chain. 

It’s mission is to strengthen long-term cooperative relationships with Thailand and ASEAN countries and to establish a global network with the World Electronic Circuit Alliance (WECC) through cooperative activities. The THPCA will work closely with WECC members to establish close business alliances and move forward to the next stage to jointly change the future of the PCB industry.


China has initiated a new round of efforts to accelerate the development of its homegrown chip industry. The broad objective of the initiative calls for plans to replace core CPUs used in PCs, communication devices and consumer electronics products with homegrown products, to develop chip solutions for servers and related 5G equipment, and to produce multiple ASICs for its surveillance systems.


From Dr. H. Nakahara, N.T. Information 


There are about 100 PCB related projects going on in China from materials to PCB manufacturing plants.  I could identify at least 30 new PCB plants under construction and/or being planned.  Many of the plants in Shenzhen will be closed and those with financial muscle are moving to Jiangxi Province (Ji’An and Gangzhou) and in addition, many others are moving into the southern coastal area of Zhuhai.

Some of these new PCB plants are enormous, with 200-300 drilling machines in one room, becoming the norm in China.  The PCB industry will remain in the U.S., Europe and Japan, but seeing what is going on in China, the past glory will not be restored at least in my life time.  Good or bad.




Japan’s flexible PCB industry's output has declined to $1.04 billion in the first 10 months of 2019, a drop of 24.9% from the previous year according to data compiled by the Japan Electronics Packaging Circuits Association (JPCA).


It's time to pause and reflect for a moment


The world today is a much sadder and dimmer place.  On December 2, ninety-six year-old industry pioneer and *IPC icon Bernard (“Bernie”) Kessler left us.  Bernie, a WWII and Korean war veteran, was one of the pioneers that introduced epoxy-glass laminates as a substrate for the  manufacture of printed circuits.


Internationally known, he was a friend and mentor to many. The Japanese fondly nicknamed him Kuma-san (the bear). Bernie was knowledgeable. He combined his intellect with his amazing wit to educate and challenge us. He was selfless and loved life. He was legendary. 


Bernie had many noteworthy accomplishments. He was a proponent of the IPC’s first trade show. He was chosen as the first chairman of the IPC’s Technical Activities Executive Committee (TAEC). He received the industry’s highest honor and recognition in 1991 when he became the 7th inductee to the IPC’s Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame. 


Bernie, you shall be missed, but NOT forgotten!

*Formerly the Institute of Printed Circuits


Trade shows


Are there too many or not enough under the current trade war situations? Will they become more regional or national? Will they be more specific or broader like CES or NEPCON Japan? Which will be the rising stars? Will they divide into specific segments or combine with other smaller shows? How will they align in the coming 5 years? How should American companies plan their overseas exhibit participation, especially in China?


Productronica was well attended (approximately 40,000 visitors). "Everyone" displayed robots. AI ruled.


The renamed HKPCA show co-sponsored by the HKPCA and CPCA (former rivals) was well attended despite the China-U.S. conflict. All of the booths from 4 halls were sold out!  Attending Europeans state that Chinese produced equipment was now competitive to the well-known brand names for 20-30% less. Chinese manufactured direct imaging systems sold in 2020 will exceed 500. There are now more than 20 vertical continuous plating systems running in China - and at least one in the U.S. produced by UCE of China.


Next up in January are the giant NEPCON show in Tokyo and the monstrous CES event whose thousands of exhibitors will draw hundreds of thousands to Las Vegas. Then in February IPC APEX EXPO 2020 will be held in  San Diego.


American tech companies are getting the go-ahead to resume business with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies but it may be too late. Huawei is now building smartphones without U.S. chips.

Huawei’s latest phone, which it unveiled in September—the Mate 30 with a curved display and wide-angle cameras that competes with Apple’s iPhone 11—contains no U.S. parts, according to an analysis by UBS and Fomalhaut Techno Solutions, a Japanese technology lab that took the device apart to inspect its insides.


Huawei said that its sales increassed to a record $122 billion this year in spite of the trade war and sanctions against it.


A visitor to China's Victory Giant early this month stated that he counted about 1,000 mechanical drilling machines in four buildings on its campus, 500 of which were in a single structure. He also stated that many small shops there are either shut down due to lack of business, insufficient funding, violation of waste treatment regulations, or a combination of these.


TSMC is  on track to move its 5nm process technology into commercial production during the first half of 2020. It also plans to initiate the production of chips built using a newer 3nm process node in 2022 at its Hsinchu R&D center, according to JK Wang, senior vice president for fab operations.

Wang made the remarks when presiding over TSMC’s annual Supply Chain Management Forum held December 5. The event was attended by over 700 suppliers from around the world in the fields of equipment, materials, packaging, testing, facilities, IT systems and services, and environmental and waste management. services. Source: Digitimes


I wonder: What's the status now of MB's highly promoted  inkjet solder mask system?


Meyer Berger Technology sold its PiXDRO inkjet printing technology subsidiary in Einhoven to Süss MicroTec in Germany for $5 million. Süss MicroTec makes process equipment for microstructuring in the semiconductor industry and related markets such as 3D integration and nanoimprint lithography as well as key processes for MEMS and LED production.




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