The North American PCB industry is stronger--in spite of appearances to the contrary.
As the map and table below show, it is a painful process involving selection and mortality, as Charles Darwin pointed out 140 years ago.
That industry strength, which resides in its leading companies, will help secure our place in the next chapter. The challenge will be to survive the winding down of Moore's Law on silicon while other materials and processes emerge to make possible future electronics advancements.
Noteworthy changes in the table above include:
- TTM, already #1 in North America, now contends in the top global over-billion dollar sales club. The billion dollar (cost) Meadville Group acquisition provides integration backward to lamination and forward to IC substrates and cell phone boards ($100 million worth) that use HDI build-up and microvias, new for North American-based companies, except for Endicott at the high-end. I am sure that TTM's mil/aero business (which is 45% of total company sales) is walled off from the two-way synergies, but will still benefit indirectly. The company's markets and technologies are now much more diversified and the company is positioned to serve a much wider spectrum of customers.
- The new Viasystems + (former) Merix offers similar, complementary capabilities in market and technology breadth, plus China facility consolidation opportunities for reducing costs. Viasystems now has a prototype operation in San Jose, California for staging volume production in China.
- The DDi Corporation acquisition of Coretec provides two consolidation opportunities, in Toronto, Canada and in northeast Ohio, increasing strengths in mil/aero and rigid-flex capabilities. The company's Colorado plant adds to the Virginia location's high-end prototype offerings.
- The 10 leading North American-based companies now account for half of North American fabrication. After deleting non-China operations, they account for more than 12% of China operations, largely the most advanced.