The printed circuit board (PCB) industry has experienced rapid growth in recent times and studies show that predictions for the future are equally as optimistic. What is the key to this growth and what is driving it?
Part of the reason is printed circuit boards are a building block for everything electronic. PCBs are used with conductive strips to act as insulating bases. They are usually in the form of fibreglass, and the conductive connections are made from copper through the etching process.
In simple terms, PCBs are used when making electronic circuits. They may contain single or multiple layers of insulating material. They also have a layer of copper that has signal traces. The board’s design is dependent on the requirement of the electric circuit. A PCB is normally used in all electrical and electronics equipment and the reason why it has remained popular.
The global economy is drastically experiencing broad technology developments, which are increasing the demand for PCBs. As everything becomes more digitized, electronics are in high demand and even third-world countries are increasing their use of PCBs. It is possible that, very soon, circuit boards are going to be an important component in every vertical market.
The wide use of the internet is another driver as it is increasing the markets for this industry. The growth of recycled PCB markets will also be improved by e-waste collection goals.
The worldwide printed circuit board market is forecast to grow at a rate of 6.14 percent between 2017 and 2021, according to TechNavio. One of the latest trends that is growing rapidly and influencing the PCB market is the adoption of IoT devices. Worldwide, there has been a fast development in making smart devices that can adjust as per the ever-changing dynamics of expected consoles, TVs, laptops and mobile phones that are going to be introduced into the market.
The result will be more electronics and communication parts in devices, which will lead to an increased number of PCBs. These printed circuit boards are the platforms on which connections and ICs to other electronic apparatus get installed. They serve as the brains of these electrical devices. The rapid growth of IoT devices is set to increase the demand for PCBs from OEMs of smart devices.
Additionally, the adoption of PCBs in connected vehicles has also accelerated the PCB market. These are vehicles that are fully equipped with both wired and wireless technologies, which make it possible for the vehicles to connect to computing devices like smartphones easily. With such technology, drivers can unlock their vehicles, check their electric cars batteries status, start climate control systems remotely and track their cars using smartphones.
Connected cars are becoming popular due to the increased focus on the customer and vehicle safety regulations. This is a result of an increase in the number of reported accidents and casualties involved.
The market that is expected to remain the biggest in the PCB industry is communication. The ever-changing innovations in smartphones and rising demand from new economies are expected to increase growth for this market. The Asia Pacific region is bound to remain the biggest and most rapidly growing area, due to the rising production of electronic devices and components that takes place in the region.
A demand for PCBs becomes more global, meeting customer expectations becomes more complex and important. Companies such as Blundell Production Equipment, a leading supplier and distributor for production machinery & PCBs based in the UK, are continuing to see greater demand and wider interest in the industry. Companies like Blundell – focusing on production and servicing -- contribute to the ever-changing PCB- and production-equipment market by ensuring they remain relevant and reflective to industry priority. By doing this, growth and expansion is assured.
Neil Blundell is the managing director for Blundell Production Equipment, a leading supplier and distributor for production machinery and PCBs based in the UK