PCB | August 03, 2007
European PCB Production<br>- A Dying Market?
With printed circuit boards' experiencing reduced demand in many industrial applications as a result of being overtaken by newer and more advanced technologies, it is not surprising that the electronic chemicals market is facing a similar situation considering the close link between the two industries.
"Growing replacement of PCBs in several industrial applications has led to decreased usage, and is further compounded by the increasing shift of production capacities to low-cost countries in Asia," observes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sowmya Ramaswami. "This is the leading cause for increasing saturation in the European electronic chemicals market." New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Market for Electronic Chemicals, reveals that this market earned revenues of $225.0 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $267.0 million in 2013. In addition, the market is also grappling with significant pricing issues. Low selling prices of PCB's inevitably impacts the selling prices of electronic chemicals that play a vital role in the fabrication of PCB's. With the added complication of PCB production capacities moving to Asia, the electronic chemicals market is not only experiencing reduced growth, but is also witnessing the exit of many participants, and in some cases, mergers of smaller companies with market leaders. In such a situation, the challenge for electronic chemicals manufacturers in Europe is to promote the sales of PCB's. Adopting the strategy of forming collaborative partnerships with Asian manufacturers could help in promoting a global image of these products. The quality of products may also improve due to a combined effort of two or more manufacturers' Research&Development (R&D) initiatives on product formulations. Despite reduced application in many end-user industries, the demand for PCB's from applications such as automobiles continues to be strong. This is likely to promote the application of electronic chemicals and sustain market growth in Europe to a certain extent. Automotive applications of PCB's are projected to grow at around 4 to 5 percent annually in Europe. "On a positive note, it seems unlikely that Asian chemistries will fully replace European ones or PCB's will be completely substituted by more advanced technologies in all industrial applications," says Ramaswami. "Despite the reduced application scope for PCB's today, continuing demand from sectors such as the automobile industry will drive the PCB market and ensure the stability of the electronic chemicals market in Europe."