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© gould Analysis | May 22, 2018

A problem that might worsen – the copper situation

The shortage of copper foil, and the consequences that follow, has the possibility to slow down large parts of our industry.
Norwegian PCB broker Elmatica has previously encouraged an open dialogue around the copper situation and its consequences. As the situation is expected to persist, especially when considering the current ongoing shift within the automotive industry – moving towards cleaner vehicles and all-electric vehicles – the situation might even worsen.

As Elmatica’s COO, Raymond Goh, put it in a previous statement; “The copper output has not increased, and the demand for copper in lithium batteries is not reducing, the copper foil shortage still persist. There are no signs in the near future that it will change, especially now with the recent governmental statements from France, UK, Scotland, and China, who have all announced a possible future ban towards fossil fueled vehicles.”

So what can companies do? Well, an open dialog within the PCB industry would be a start – and even include the growing number of battery manufacturers. For the automotive industry to actually be able to pull off this shift, both of these industries are needed, the PCB guys and the battery makers. But if one stalls, everything will stall.

But on a more practical level, Elmatica is advising manufacturers to analyse their portfolio’s of PCB’s in relation to copper thickness and type of base material.

FinancialBuzz took a deep dive into the situation and found several indications that the demand for copper is set to increase over the coming year. According to a research by Freedonia Group, the Global demand for copper metal is projected to advance 4.2% per year through 2019 to 36.0 million metric tons or valued at USD 261 billion.

The International Copper Association (ICA) states that one tonne of copper brings functionality to 40 cars, powers 60’000 mobile phones, enables operations in 400 computers, and distributes electricity to 30 homes.

Data provided by Martec Group projects that nearly 95% of the automotive wire harness will remain copper in 2020. According to Martec, "Electric and hybrid vehicles require more copper use due to higher power/voltage requirements necessary for that category. The study reveals overall global vehicle production is expected to increase from about 92.5 million total vehicles in 2016 to almost 102 million by 2020.


If you want to learn more about the situation at hand and what we as an industry can do to curb further tension on the copper shortage, join us at TEC Linköping (Sweden) on May 29, 2018, when Didrik Bech, CEO of Elmatica, takes the stage to give us an overview of current developments.
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December 05 2018 3:01 pm V11.10.4-1