PCB007 Magazine

PCB007-May2019

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74 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 think that two effects are happening. Vehicle production has slowed, but automotive elec- tronic content has continued to increase, par- ticularly with safety systems. In Asia, we see a negative impact in our busi- ness due to a certain degree of market slow- down compared to 2017 and 2018. The tariffs have contributed to some of the slowdown, but there have been large changes in automotive demand as well. Additionally, we have seen softness in certain market segments, which impacts the entire supply chain and increased competition. Some OEMs, for example, are rec- ognizing this scenario and are looking to cost savings since they have excess capacity avail- able. Thus, we've had to respond. We're seeing more price pressure and more sporadic and ir- regular order patterns from customers, which creates a fairly complex market dynamic with growth in the U.S., softness in Europe, and a higher degree of competition in Asia. Johnson: What are the dynamics in technolo- gies and what are the features of the materials that you're being asked to deliver based on the dynamics? Mirshafiei: Our development strategy relies on assessing the technology shifts and under- standing the underlying technical challenges to determine whether we are best positioned to address those challenges. Since these tech- nology shifts span multiple segments, solving the technical issue for one segment will benefit another segment. One scenario is that there's a push for in- creased safety systems throughout entire mod- el offerings, not just as high-end offerings. But with increased content making its way through automotive companies' model lineups, there's a huge push to drive cost down, and existing RF/MW materials are often too expensive to integrate into mainstream vehicles. So, there's a need to investigate other options. It's great because when these technical prob- lems show up, and there's motivation, auto- motive Tier 1s will spend the R&D dollars to find alternatives to incorporate safety systems into vehicles. Those technical problems that come as a result of these changes, creating op- portunities for PCB manufacturers as well as laminate suppliers. Another scenario, which also ties back in- to automotive, involves higher-temperature applications as well as electrification. The higher-temperature applications are interest- ing. The feedback we've seen is that there's increased push from the automotive Tier 1s to put the PCB closer to the point of operation instead of using as much cabling, etc. Maybe that's due to the intention of reducing weight plus a myriad of other reasons. That leads to increased attention on the operating tempera- ture of these PCBs, which creates new prob-

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