Research urges SMT industry to target China and the Pacific Rim

New research reveals that the domestic electronics market in China and the original design manufacturer market in the Pacific Rim are creating tremendous growth opportunities for SMT manufacturers.

The growing domestic electronics market in China and the growing original design manufacturer (ODM) market in the Pacific Rim are creating tremendous growth opportunities for surface mount technology (SMT) placement equipment manufacturers.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan – World Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Placement Equipment Market – reveals that the SMT industry generated revenues totalling $1.81 billion in 2001. Total market revenues are expected to reach $3.09 billion in 2007.

‘To be successful in the SMT placement equipment market, manufacturers will have to target high growth markets in China and the Pacific Rim,’ said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Raman Monga. ‘As a member of the WTO now, China is expected to receive more capital, technology, and management expertise from multinationals.’

While the growing ODM market in the Pacific Rim accounts for some of the biggest buyers of placement equipment in the region, the expanding electronics manufacturing service markets in North America and Europe are also bolstering the placement equipment revenues.

Recent technological developments have greatly improved the throughput, accuracy and flexibility of SMT placement equipment, gantry equipment in particular, thus increasing demand. Medium-speed modular machines are also gaining popularity because they offer versatility to handle an increasing range of part types and can be used with several units in line to create high-speed production lines.

New smaller, lighter, and more powerful applications such as personal digital assistants that combine computing and telecommunication functions are leading to higher demand for SMT placement equipment. Increasing use of micro-sized packages – smaller ball grid arrays, chip-scale packages, multi-chip modules, and flip chips – by electronic assemblers and the higher densities on printed circuit boards are also expected to fuel demand.

Automotive and medical end-user industries are opening new avenues in this market. This can be ascribed to the increasing number of electronic devices as well as the use of global positioning and telematics systems in vehicles and the rapid growth in the use and number of medical devices.

According to Monga, ‘Manufacturers that offer designs that better meet customer needs and SMT vendors that develop innovative solutions to improve flexibility, increase throughput, reduce form factor, and lower placement costs, are likely to experience increased market share.’

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