Global Sources
Ready to import from China? Find verified suppliers on Global Sources.
Share / Recommend:

Multilayer PCBs: Compact PCBs, passive components & LEDs gaining ground

The trend for portability and mobility is driving product development toward smaller yet feature-rich components.

The portability trend permeating the global A/V equipment, computer and telecom industries is shaping China's electronic components sector. Makers there are developing products that can support multiple functions and features, and yet fit into smaller and lightweight form factors to match today's handheld devices.

Multilayer PCB

  In this report
  •  Main story
  •  PCBs
  •  Passive components
  •  LEDs
  •  Taiwan: Component miniaturization drives semiconductor industry
Miniaturization is gaining traction in the PCB, capacitors, resistors and inductors segments. Rigid-flex, multilayer and HDI variants in particular are increasingly adopted in the first category. In fact, a growing number of companies predict these will replace traditional versions in coming months.

In the passive components sector, the trend is evident in the rising supply of chip-based models. Such units now account for 70 percent of China's capacitors sales, and makers expect this to hit 90 percent in the next few years. They also dominate the resistors market with about 85 percent share of total output.

Many project chip variants will continue to drive production, spurred by demand from mobile communication devices, computers and peripherals, and digital consumer and automotive electronics. Among inductor manufacturers, such solutions represent only 30 to 40 percent of overall yield but the allocation will likely climb as more players switch to this type.

The miniaturization trend is also penetrating the LED segment, as reflected by the rising popularity of SMD variants. While the latter takes up only 20 percent of mainland China's total LED output, steady expansion will boost this ratio in coming years.

With the ubiquity of portable electronics, suppliers agree component miniaturization is the way forward. Anticipating technical and cost challenges, a growing number are boosting investment in R&D, and manufacturing techniques and equipment.

For many, particularly HDI PCB vendors, the biggest concern is the exorbitant capital requirement. Laser drilling machines are mostly from Mitsubishi and Panasonic of Japan, and cost about $1 million each. A company targeting an annual capacity of 100,000sqm needs at least five sets, the total outlay for which remains prohibitive for small and midsize enterprises. Those able to secure the equipment are finding it difficult to source technically skilled manpower for operation and repair. Production delays and missed deliveries resulting from equipment malfunction translate to huge losses for suppliers.

In the rigid-flex PCB sector, mainland manufacturers are forced to procure apparatus from Germany, Taiwan and Japan. Being a relatively new line, the domestic machinery industry for this segment has yet to mature, and most available equipment is for single- and double-sided flexible variants. Exacerbating the situation is the dearth in local materials. The majority therefore uses PI from Taiwan and Japan, which raises costs further.

Many enterprises have to make adjustments in their processes and techniques to reduce the size or form factor without compromising performance. Suppliers of rigid-flex PCBs, for example, need to study various insulation and coil materials as they yield different thermal expansion coefficients. Some are experimenting with liquid crystal polymer to lower deformation when temperature and moisture levels fluctuate. To increase precision in drawing transfer during manufacture, others employ tolerance compensation and parameter modifications.

This article "Multilayer PCBs: Compact PCBs, passive components & LEDs gaining ground" is originally posted in Global Sources.

Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

Add comment

Security code

Stay Connected

Get Import from China Headlines by E-mail

Attend the Global Sources Summit

  • For online & Amazon sellers
  • Interactive training led by sourcing & Amazon experts
  • Learn how to source profitably, avoid pitfalls
  • April 17 - 19, 2017 in Hong Kong
  • Co-located with Mobile Electronics and
    Gifts & Home shows

Learn More

Join the Smart China Sourcing Facebook Group
  • Connect with other buyers
  • Ask questions
  • Get advice from experts

Join Group

Join Global Sources on Facebook

Be our fan now for the latest sourcing news, practical sourcing guides and expert advice.

Follow Global Sources on Twitter

We'll keep you updated with tweets on sourcing news, trade resources & more.