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Page 49 of 115

50 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2021 Article by Mark Goodwin VENTEC INTERNATIONAL GROUP As we reach the end of a difficult year man- aging the many challenges caused by the CO- VID-19 pandemic, another series of challeng- es is rapidly coming into focus for EMEA and North American PCB manufacturers and their supply base. Increased demand, static capacity, and in- dustrial accidents have all come together to cause longer lead-times, reduced availability, and upward price pressure for key raw ma- terials. These factors are likely to have a mix of long-, medium- and short-term effects on the outlook for CCL and prepreg (PP) pric- es, but the pressure is building for significant and, in the case of copper foil, sustained price rises that would start coming into effect in early 2021. Copper Foil and Copper Demand for copper foil is increasing (Table 1) from both PCB and battery production for e- mobility, leading to an upward price pressure for copper foils as post lockdown pent-up de- mand starts to exceed capacity. Lead times are stretching and prices increasing, particularly for heavy copper foils (2 oz./70 micron and above) as capacity is repurposed to maximize square-meter output for lightweight foils to in- crease capacity for lithium battery production. With the forecast growth for battery demand, long lead times, and high investment costs to increase copper foil manufacturing capaci- ty, this situation is unlikely to ease given the What's Driving Price Increases for CCL and Prepreg? Table 1: Copper foil capacity utilization. (Source: Ventec International Group)

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