Development status of European PCB industry
2018-11-23 17:45Writer: qyadminReading:
The PCB fabrication industry is a key supplier to a wide range of EU-based electronics assemblers, systems manufacturers and end-users across many strategically important industry sectors, all of whom will also directly benefit from this project as a consequence of being able to source circuit board assemblies with enhanced reliability at more competitive prices.
Approximately 300,000 people are employed in the design and assembly of electronics in the European Union. In recent years the electronics industry in Europe has had to adapt in the face of increasing competition from low labour cost producers, who do not always conform to the same employment and environmental standards as those adopted across Europe. This has resulted in a significant decrease in the production of high volume, low cost electronic products in the European Union.
The migration of a large proportion of the previous market has caused a knock-on effect in the supply chain, including the PCB fabrication and assembly industries and their associated supply chains. The focus of the electronics industry in Europe, our members’ biggest market, is now concentrated on non-consumer, more specialised applications. These are low volume, high value products, or those which are based upon cutting-edge technology where sustained performance and reliability are critical. Typically, these might include applications in diverse industries such as telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial control systems and many other niche applications. The requirements of such products are widely different from those of normal high volume consumer electronics. In particular, they are often required to have very good in-service performance reliability and much longer in-service lifetimes. These key factors are strongly influenced at the circuit board manufacturing stage by the choice of solderable finish.
The continued existence of an EU-based PCB fabrication capability is deemed to be an essential component of the supply chain for the high value, high reliability electronics industry, which has a fundamental reliance on being able to source consistently high quality PCB products and which also needs the ease of communication and the fast supply chain dynamics offered by local companies. For example, the Prosurf project highlighted an increase in PCB production in Germany in 2006 as business was transferred back to the EU from Asia because of ongoing problems associated with bottlenecks and quality issues: the clear message being that sourcing PCBs from low cost suppliers in the Far East is not the best way to provide the building blocks for the high reliability, high value products that typically characterise the European electronics industry.