PCB007 Magazine


Issue link: https://iconnect007.uberflip.com/i/1309864

Contents of this Issue


Page 85 of 123

86 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2020 In the past 20 years, there have been significant changes in the PCB industry in North America. Consolidation and changing from high volume manufacturing to a quick turn, prototyping type of environ- ment. Trying to continually re- tool an aging factory to meet the demands of the U.S. mar- ket is an extremely difficult proposition. Johnson: That's a particular challenge. One of the other dy- namics that may play a part is the fact that there are so many more materials out there now. The materials and substrates market is booming with multiple simultaneous areas of growth, to re- spond, for example, to very small feature sizes, RF frequency requirements, speed issues, and extreme environment issues. Some of these re- quirements complement each other, but others conflict. You're delivering foil to that market, and it has to be quite a diverse set of targets to try to hit. Coll: It is, especially with all the changes in res- in systems and material requirements. At one time, as long as your copper stuck to FR-4, that's all that mattered. But with the wide va- riety of resin systems, copper foil needs to be more and more tailored to the specific user and specific application. Our initial manufacturing setup was for high-volume, "vanilla" copper foil. Now, with the vast number of resin sys- tems and requirements from our customers, we need to adapt, change, and produce multi- ple different varieties of copper to meet those new and emerging applications. Johnson: What have you been doing to accom- plish that? Coll: Part of the transition plan by our new own- er, ND, is to reinvest in North America and into our capability in our technology. ND has been producing copper foil since 1958, with a very strong reputation in Japan. They've developed a number of different prod- ucts and processes to meet the emerging requirements that, unfortunately, we're not capa- ble of making yet in the U.S.; however, we have a strate- gy to transition this technolo- gy from Japan to the U.S. for these emerging requirements. Johnson: As a raw materi- al, copper is in high demand worldwide. How do you pro- tect your supply chain? Coll: The only thing we do is make copper foil, so we're completely focused on this market. Electrodeposited copper foils start from scrap copper wire. There is an abundant supply in North America, and we utilize a network of suppliers that have been valued partners for nearly 40 years who understand our needs for copper quality and consistency. On the demand side, we pride ourselves on quality and service. To survive through the de- cline in consumption for North American PCP copper, we have had to diversify in product of- ferings and markets. The consumption of cop- per foil by the domestic PCB market is not enough to keep our factory operating. We have branched out into industrial applications and lithium-ion batteries. We do sell international- ly, where we are not competing on price, but rather through our flexibility and service. Looking specifically at the North Ameri- ca market, we're not expecting our sales into the circuit board market to grow substantial- ly over the next decade. Our focus is to con- tinue to diversify. The market that is expected to explode in the coming years is copper foil for use in lithium-ion batteries for electric ve- hicles. We are working with our new owners on how to utilize some of our excess capaci- ty to bring this technology to Camden, South Carolina. Johnson: Battery technology has been showing up on the electronics side of the aluminum foil and copper foil market. Michael Coll

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PCB007 Magazine - PCB007-Nov2020