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The mood in America's PCB industry is positive for the first time in years. Fabricators are busy and are hiring, especially producers of military boards and flex-rigid circuits. Industrial controls are also increasing. Global interest in automotive electronics continues to strengthen. North American board fabrication bookings increased over 17% last month over August 2016 according to the IPC. However, year to date shipments remain 4% lower than the same period last year.
CTI America Corporation, a division of Circuit Tech, will invest $10 million to build a new PCB facility in Maryland. CTI is working with the maryland Deparment of Commerce to select a site. The facility, which will emply 80, will open in 2018.
The composite sales of 52 EMS and ODM companies rose 10.5% in the 2nd quarter 0f 2017 versus Q2 in 2016.
A new form of HDI circuits, SLPs is rapidly gaining attention amongst the high tech board makers in Europe and Asia as well as the U.S. The substrate like PCBs use IC technologies to create feature sizes as fine as 15 μm.
Unimicon has increased its capex budget to $153 million, its highest in the past seven years. The increase is designed to finance the company’s development of substrate-like PCB (SLP) products, as well as to ramp up the production capacity of HDI boards and automobile boards at its plant in Taoyuan.
AT&S can now produce two new, leading-edge technologies at its site in Chongqing, China: IC substrates and substrate-like printed circuit boards (SLPs) for high-end applications.
South Korean PCB (Printed Circuit Board) manufacturers started carrying out large amount of facility and equipment investments as Samsung Electronics is planning to use SLP as the main board for its next strategic Smartphone.
Sources state that Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Korea Circuit, Daeduck GDS, and ISU Petasys are preparing to supply SLPs to Samsung Electronics. These four businesses are investing a total of $177 million to purchase equipment to make SLPs.
They are expected to construct mass-production lines by end of this year since their shipment of SLPs is scheduled to begin early next year in 2018. Samsung Electronics is the world’s leading Smartphone producer.t sells more than 400 per year. Daishin Securities analyzed that number of main board suppliers for Samsung Electronics can be reduced from twelve to five based on a model that uses SLP.
Taiwan Pucka has developed an all-screen printing process to produce 6-layer flexible circuits for wearable devices.
Increasing momentum in the automotive electronics sector
Company by company and country after country is committing to the all-electric vehicle. This coupled with the autonomous driving vehicle is bound to drive the largest change in electronics production in history. Almost 80% of the global auto market is pushing towards a phase-out of cars with internal combution engines and adoption of electric vehicles during the next two decades.
Hyundai and Tata Motors advanced their plans to make electric cars in India. Hyundai, South Korea's largest carmaker, is considering the assembly of electric vehicles in India as early as 2019 and has dropped hybrid car plans for the market. Mahindra & Mahindra is also planning to introduce a new electric car soon.
Samsung Electronics has established a $300 million fund to accelerate development in the self-driving industry. A company spokesman said, “The $300 million Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will focus on securing autonomous driving and connected car technologies.”
Self-driving and connected car technologies include: smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, and connectivity solutions. Managed by the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center, which is in charge of the company’s long term R&D operation in the U.S., the fund will be used for Samsung to cooperate with companies and startups in autonomous driving and connected car technologies.
Jack Fisher has been named vice chairman of the IPC Ambassador's activity to produce a complete automotive electronics supply chain meeting for senior executives on Monday January 28, 2019 in San Diego the day before the annual IPC APEX EXPO event. Fisher's technology and management experience in the interconnect, component and packaging industries spans over 50 years. Today he is known by many as Mr. Roadmap due to his leadership roles in developing technology roadmaps with the IPC, iNemi, and SIA. He also is known for his work as a project facilitator as the High Density Packaging Users Group consortium. He has received many awards including the interconnect industry's highest award, election to the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall Fame.
PCB capacity expansion in China is also reported to be on the rise.
Multek will spend $22 million to expand capacity in its Zhuhai factories. The expansion will increase Multek’s HDI capacity by more than 100,000 square feet per week during the next month. Multek's new equipment investments include mechanical drills, laser drills, Automatic Optical Inspection, VRS, DFR Lamination, Direct Imaging, Loaders/Unloaders, and plating lines.
Suzhou Donshan Precision Manufacturing (formerly MFlex) is proceeding with a $460 million flexible PCB production capacity expansion project to fulfill increased orders.
The 2017 International Printed Circuit & APEX South China Fair (2017 HKPCA & IPC Show) will be held at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, China. This year’s event will be held December 6 - 8, 2017. It's theme will be “Global Wisdom. Local Presence.” More than a half million square feet will house nearly 550 exhibitors occupying over 2,600 booths - a new record for the show.
Confidence among Japan'sbig manufacturers (excluding Toshiba) has inproved to its highest level in over 10 years as a weaker yen and a stronger global economy have given rise to record profits.
Shimadzu will double its circuit board production capacity in the Philippines by 2019.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industry has placed an order for reliable circuit board modules with EMS company Katolec in Japan for JAXA's (The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) H3 Rockets.
Ushio Electric has introduced a new UV-LED dryer “UniJet iIII” with the higher irradiation power densities for the inkjet printing process.
Nano Dimension Ltd’s wholly owned subsidiary Nano Dimension Technologies Ltd has signed an agreement with Jabil Inc., its first commercial customer, to lease a DragonFly 2020 3D printed circuit printer.