What is the Future of the Global PCB Market?

“It’s a small world” are words that you have undoubtedly heard in some context. This phrase is often used to emphasize the fact that people all over the world are more connected today than ever before. A little channel surfing will quickly demonstrate the veracity of this notion. Lingering too long in front of the TV, however, can quickly result in information overload or much more information than you can possibly use. On the other hand, narrowing the focus or streamlining the information or data that you receive can be empowering. In fact, it can seem as though “the world is in your hands.”

The world in your hands

Focused information and data are not only useful but can also provide you with a framework for planning, which is essential to any business. For example, knowing what PCB design and development technologies your competitors are implementing can help you stay competitive in the industry. In fact, the more knowledge that you have about trends in your field, the abler you are to acquire the necessary tools and expertise to enhance your skills and better serve your clients. With this objective in mind, let’s explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the global PCB market for the near future and how you leverage this knowledge for your PCB development.

SWOT Analysis of the Global PCB Market

Global PCB Market SWOT analysis

Global PCB Market SWOT analysis

In the figure above, a summary of the global PCB market is shown. The projections made extend to the year 2023 and are largely based on the indicators over the last several years. As asserted in [1], the PCB market is expected to continue to grow in areas such as computers and other consumer electronics; however, fields such as medical devices, aerospace, and automotive electronics will show increased growth. Increased connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be strong drivers of this projected growth.

Now, let’s delve into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the global PCB market to explore targets that may be used to improve or enhance your PCB development.

Strengths of the Global PCB Market

The history of PCBs extends farther back than most people realize. After several decades marked by sporadic advancements, the industry began to truly find its mark in the 1980s due to the culmination of automated manufacturing and design file uniformity. Since then, there has been an explosion in the number of boards produced. Globally, sales of PCBs are expected to exceed $80 billion by 2023. This growth will be fueled by a continued increase in the demand for consumer products, such as computers and peripherals, and increases in non-standard board deployment and PCB utilization for devices in a number of business sectors, as shown below.

  • High growth product sectors
    • Aerospace
    • Automotive electronics
    • Industrial
    • Education
    • Medical devices
    • Military/Government

Weaknesses of the Global PCB Market

The process of PCB development has steadily improved due to more comprehensive design software, better and more precise equipment, enhancement of process techniques, and development strategies. Yet, there is room for improvement. Two areas, in particular, are good candidates: design file standardization and the designer-CM relationship.

  • Lack of design file standardization.

For many years, Gerber files were the standard design file format in the PCB industry. As manufacturing equipment has advanced, this standard has come under increased scrutiny. Today, there is no consensus on a format; however, X2 Gerber files and CAD formats, such as ODB++ and IPC-2581, have strong rapport within the industry.

  • Lack of collaboration between designer and manufacturer.

Traditionally, PCB design and manufacturing have typically been isolated stages of PCB development. An improvement to this black box form of PCB development has been the increase in recognition of design for manufacturing (DFM). However, further strides in collaboration can and should be made to optimize the PCB development process.

Opportunities in the Global PCB Market

The ultimate goal of PCB development is to produce the highest quality, most reliable boards that meet or exceed the client’s performance objectives. It may be that absolute attainment of this objective is elusive; nevertheless, it can be approached by continually improving the equipment, processes, techniques, and strategies of the development process. Areas that provide the opportunity to do so are listed below.

Threats to the Global PCB Market

As PCBs and electronics are critical elements in systems for gathering, storing, and distributing data and information, they are targeted by individuals and entities with bad intentions. The most severe threats come from hackers and others trying to intercept information and those attempting to disrupt the supply chain of components.

  • Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is always a concern for any digital system where sensitive data is processed or stored. As the IoT, Industrial IOT (IIoT) and other big data networks continue to grow this threat will only increase.

  • Supply Chain Breach

The interjection of counterfeit components, which threaten the operation of sensitive systems, is a prime target.

Suggestions for Succeeding in the Global PCB Market

Having the knowledge of what to expect in the global PCB market is great, however, it is only useful if it can be a guide for planning what will benefit our process and our clients. To aid you in this utilization are suggestions that should be helpful to your operations and may even be transformative.

A. Partner with a CM early during design.

B. Optimize your component selection.

C. Verify your CM’s capability to produce quality non-standard form factor boards.

D. Ensure your CM is employing advanced manufacturing techniques.

E. Maximize collaboration with your CM.

Following some or all of the above suggestions will improve your PCB development process.

Tempo‘s Custom PCB Manufacturing Service
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600 and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Accurate quote in less than 1 day.
  • Performs entire turnkey process in as fast as 3 days.
  • Emphasizes DFM to eliminate time-consuming back-and-forth design corrections.
  • Sources components from the most reputable suppliers in the industry to reduce procurement time.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during assembly to ensure PCB quality for prototyping.
  • Provides support throughout the PCB manufacturing process, beginning with design.
  • Smooth transition from prototyping to production.

Tempo Automation, the PCB industry’s leader in fast, high-quality PCB prototyping and low-volume production, has the capabilities to produce highly complex, very small boards that will meet your needs as well as those of your clients. We employ a white box approach to PCB manufacturing to ensure that your design intent is integrated with our process and equipment capabilities to optimize the building of your boards.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on the global PCB market outlook, contact us.

[1] Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Market Report: Trends, Forecast and Competitive Analysis (Lucintel, 2018), https://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/cj5sj4/global_printed?w=4.

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