It really and truly can be said that the printed circuit board is the heart of all electronics because is links the different components and enables the electronic device to function. Unfortunately, at the same time it is the most expensive single component and whenever an ABC-analysis has to be made it inevitably is the first one to be scrutinized. Insofar, the PCB industry was forced already very early to find economic ways for manufacturing. For a long time already, lowest possible scrap rates are an indispensable obligation which come along with optimized processes. But even this wasn’t enough for many procurement officers so called “low cost countries” (LCC) had to be identified and qualified.
It therefore, is little wonder that the number of PCB manufacturers in Europe dropped from formerly more than 1,400 to meanwhile just 230. After the recently finished survey on the European PCB industry Data4PCB came to the conclusion that the remaining manufacturers not only have a right to exist and a chance for survival but are essential for the electronic industry in Europe.
The German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) have a combined share of the total PCB production in Europe of 61%, followed by Italy (11%), France (8.5%) and UK (8.2%).
Technologies made in the different countries are very specialized and targeted to the industrial sectors located there and they play an important role for new developments. In addition to this there are certain sensible reasons which prevent outsourcing to low cost countries (such are protection of know-how or small volumes).
The survey about the European PCB industry is established annually and is based on a data base which has been established during the past three decades and which contains almost 100% of all manufacturers producing in Europe.
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This article was written by Michael Gasch of data4pcb, a well known German expert of the printed circuit board industry. For further information please contact him directly under the above mentioned e-mail address.