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First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”
Q: What do you think will drive more greenfielding/new PCB capacity in North America? And when do you think we will see a new PCB facility built from the ground up to meet the demand in North America for locally built PCBs?
A: Greenfield opportunities appear to be highest for high-mix, low-volume PCB manufacturing within North America. Customers requiring special supply chain security measures, rapid turn early-stage co-development, or increased new product introduction capability are well suited for North American operations, situated close to North American OEM facilities.
Operations having high levels of automation may also be attractive for North America. North American PCB operations have not historically been utilized for high volume commodity PCB supply. Instead, these plants are best utilized for their higher complexity skill, new product introduction expertise, design for manufacturing design reviews, and high-quality yield production.
As for when we will see a new PCB facility built in North America: Suppliers that are considered a trusted source are likely to be able to service special supply chain security requirements being issued by North American governments and military organizations, so now is absolutely feasible for new PCB facilities to be built.
To submit your questions to John, click here.