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46 SMT Magazine • May 2014 Technology Convergence Critical for PCB manufacturing The PCB industry is showing some signs of life, which indicates that the pendulum is swinging in a more positive direction economi- cally, but we're not quite ready to uncork the Champagne. A June 2013 report by Research & Markets forecast that the global PCB fabrication industry alone will reach about $94 billion in 2017, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1% during this period. If we in- clude assembly and test, the prediction exceeds $1 trillion. This is encouraging news for those of us in the PCB design, fabrication and assembly markets, driven by consumer demand for high- end products loaded with high-performance features and functionality. Much of the growth will be in the Asia/Pa- cific market, with China leading as a primary manufacturing country, particularly with the increasing appreciation of Chinese currency and increasing costs of raw materials, such as copper. As a result, today's designers will be challenged to develop sophisticated new prod- ucts that can be manufactured cost-effectively and efficiently. Another trend reported by iSuppli (IHS iSupply Outsourced Manufacturing, November 2012) focusing on electronics OEMs indicates their plans to reduce the number of contract manufacturers they work with over the next year. This decision to reduce vendors is based on the need to trim their outsourced manufac- turing suppliers to reduce costs, which include EMS provider and original design manufactur- ers (ODM). Currently, OEMs average about eight external contractors. Critical changes that OEM decision-makers must undertake with their ven- dors include lead-time reduction and price ne- gotiation, according to the iSuppli study, which covered OEMs in all facets of the electronics in- dustry: computing, communications, automo- by Dan Hoz MenTor graphiCS valor DiviSion vIEWPoINT ColuMn a Strategy for Design-Through-manufacturing

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