© luchschen dreamstime.com PCB | July 19, 2013
Why should you support European PCB manufacturers?
Rising costs in Asia and the loss of visibility and long-term planning are putting back many European Circuit Boards manufacturer as strategic factors.
No one wants to negate the developments in the last years in this article; developments which have seen a dramatic loss of production capacity in Europe. The competitiveness guaranteed by Asian manufacturers of circuit boards has determined the closure of many companies in Europe, but there are still around 260 producers of PCBs active in Europe. Why should we still be positive about the situation and believe in a brighter future? If the low costs in Asia have created - in the last decade - many advantages for everyone, it is also widely known, that these costs have now started to rise, and at a fast pace. Reasons for this are to be found in rising labour costs, new energy costs, environmental protection costs, transportation costs and last, but not least, the dramatic developments of the local credit issues. How many of the hundreds of Asian companies had to shut down in the last years? How many will have to close in the near future? Because of the economic downturn has brought less visibility to the European mid-size enterprises. The possibility of a mid- to long-term planning of its activities and therefore very low lead times is none existing. Managing these lead times from long distances means complex, costly, and highly polluting air shipments. Why should one manage its supplies through trading agents, who buy in Asia and need to bear the high cost of transportation to match the required flexibility? It is much better to open the doors to a collaboration with a European supply chain for Printed Circuit Boards production. Companies that have continued to invest in automation, technology, standardization and structures to guarantee competitiveness, even through these difficult times. Buying through trading companies does not seem to be a guarantee for competitiveness and development any longer. European Circuit Boards producers, those who are organized well, have recently returned competitive again and are also able to guarantee flexibility, stable supplies on time and the necessary collaboration between engineers and producers for the development of a particularly critical and complex component such as a printed circuit board. Due to the changed scenarios, the European Printed Circuit Boards industry is back in the spotlight and European companies gain importance. This will guarantee a technological development of the entire European electronic business, the maintenance of its product and technological leadership as well as the promotion of a sustainable development of our continent through labour, occupation, widespread wealth, protection of the individual and of our precious environment. The European manufacturers will probably not go back to the production of consumer goods with high volumes, like smartphones and tablets, but they will still play a strategic role for medium sized productions. The big European enterprises will not be able to take the path back to Europe, but for the mid-sized European companies, it is the right time to start returning home. If the circuit board has been speaking Chinese for the last decade, it is very likely that - because of the rapidly changing conditions - it will also speak 'European' again. The OMR Italia Team
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