The next two to three years on the horizon should bring some challenges and opportunities for the electronics assembly industry. My perspective on the electronics supply chain is very broad in nature. Our firm is involved in PCB rework/repair, including the supply of niche PCB rework, repair, and assembly products, as well as the training of soldering technicians, engineers, and wire/cable harness users and suppliers.
In terms of markets, due to the very diverse nature of our business, we are involved in the military, aerospace, semiconductor, industrial, communications, EMS, IoT, computer, trade school, training center, education, research, and medical fields. The nature of our varied businesses and thousands of customers over 20+ years puts us in the mix from design through prototyping, manufacturing, and product support. Geographically, our products go directly into the market around the world, our rework and repair services are a harbinger of the EMS build market, and our training services are hyper-focused in the Midwest of the United States. Therefore, we see much of the activity in the global electronics supply chain. There are numerous PCB rework/repair challenges being faced by North American customers. One trend has to do with increasing package sizes, which are being driven by the market desires. In the past five years alone, the state-of-the-art semiconductor package has gone from approximately 10 to 30 billion transistors on a single package. These larger package devices—such as LGAs, BGAs, and CCGAs with greater than 50 x 50 mm overall package size—challenge rework equipment and processing capabilities.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the November 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.