“The industry is now believed to have either bottomed out or is close to doing so”, stated Walt Custer at this year’s EIPC Summer Conference. As an example he stated that the UK’s industry saw a negative growth of 12.3% for 2008, while Europe went down around 20%.
He stated that there were a number of indices that would suggest the worst had probably been passed. Now it seems that inventory levels across the electronics industry (and inventory relative to sales, were now increasing again. In Europe, medical and military electronics were virtually the only sectors currently showing growth. The electronics industry had been especially hard hit by the large drop in automobile manufacturing, which could not be compensated elsewhere (such as with a significant growth in netbook production).
The total PCB production in 2008 was valued at around $49 billion; Nippon Mektron being the largest manufacturer worldwide. Europe now has an estimated 240 PCB manufacturers – the largest proportion of which was located in Germany (with 38% of the European production). Austria based AT&S was the largest European PCB manufacturer in 2008.
Michael Weinhold added that the European PCB production had continued to decline in value – to below half the value of 2000. A map of China – indicating the locations of PCB manufacturers – showed an estimated 1000 companies in Southern China; and an estimated 3000 manufacturers across the entire country.
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