Printed Circuit Boards or PCBs form the heart of most electronics. They work parallelly as a supporting piece for most devices, while for others they work as the core wiring area. Usually, they are constructed out of glass fiber reinforced epoxy resin, which goes a long way in simplifying the complexity of the circuit. For the most part, PCBs that are designed for simple electronics are themselves simple in construction, consisting only of one layer. On the other hand, the more complicated tech hardware, such as motherboards or graphic cards may consist of multiple layers, going up to twelve. Even though PCBs are usually linked with computers, these days they are used in a wide variety of consumer goods, such as radios, TVs, smartphones, as well as digital cameras, to take a few examples. As a market of the future, PCBs promise to deliver guaranteed results as evidenced by the printed circuit board market size.
The PCB classification depends on the type of materials and the complexity of construction. It goes as follows:
- Rigid 1-2 Sided
- IC Substrate
- Flexible Circuits
- Standard Multilayer
Digitalization: Given that developing nations are increasingly adopting digitalization, the demand for PCBs is sure to rise in these nations on the industrial as well as the consumer fronts.
Recycled PCBs rise in importance: Due to the increasing weight placed on environmentally-friendly initiatives, both at the individual as well as the governmental level, PCBs are being recycled more. This is expected to further drive the PCB market in the near future.
PCB Design Improvement: After years of research, there have been developments in PCB designs which can minimize cost and maximize their utilization. This is achieved by replacing base materials and is estimated to support growth across all PCB markets around the globe.
PCB Market Share
Computers, as the largest end-use industry that makes use of PCBs, will continue to create the most demand for PCBs. This will happen owing to the increased demand for computer systems across the business, healthcare, and educational sectors. Moreover, the consumer electronics sector is also estimated to witness high growth, in large part due to the significant demand for interconnected devices.
The Asia Pacific (or APAC) region contributes the most to global production – over 90 percent in total, with China squarely in the lead, accounting for nearly half of all production in 2018. South Korea and Taiwan followed China at 11.6 and 12.6 percent respectively.
Moreover, this increased demand for PCBs is also complemented by electronic and communication companies like Samsung and Toshiba. These conglomerates have now changed their base of operations, shifting to regions with relatively inexpensive resource costs, like South Korea, China, and Taiwan. Additionally, the governments of these countries have prescribed essential environmental laws which favour PCB production, and that’s a big plus.
Asia Pacific, however, will still remain the largest market for PCB production. Not only is it estimated to witness remarkable growth in telecommunication products and consumer electronic devices, but it will also see a demanding hike the increased requirement of high electronic equipment in the automotive sector.
Notably, within the APAC region, India will be one of the fastest-growing markets for PCBs, as well as one of the largest. It currently has the 5th largest defense budget in the world, and the PCB market will likely witness stable and steady growth, owing to the fact that its links with the defense arm of the government are significant. This association will likely continue over the next five years as well, stabilizing the market. In addition, the Indian government too, like that of the USA, is currently zoning in on initiatives to foster local production, which is also estimated to result in a nett positive impact on overall PCB demand.
Restrictions on Outside Sourcing (in the U.S.): The pressure by U.S. President Donald Trump that manufacturers in the U.S. need to source materials only from domestic suppliers – thereby increasing job opportunities in the country – has left a huge mark on the market. Considering the fact that over 90 percent of overall PCB production happens in the Asia Pacific region, this restriction will challenge all PCB manufacturers, regardless of their location.
Increasing Utility and Labor Cost: Cost of utility as well as labor account for nearly 65–80 percent of the entire cost of the PCB production, contingent on factors such as size, layers, and other specifications. The rise in these costs is a cause of alarm for PCB manufacturers, as it is surely bound to hit their overall profitability.
Apart from being an essential part of electronic products, where they are used in consumer goods like tablets and computers, PCBs are important even in industrial products like power control devices as well as other manufacturing equipment. As the technology of PCBs evolves, the market is expected to grow further.