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PCB Technology Trends Study Shows Current State and 2023 Predictions

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IPC’s newest study, PCB Technology Trends 2018, has been published and is now available in IPC’s online store. The 2018 study focuses on key issues of importance to OEMs and PCB fabricators. Data were collected from both industry segments to gain insight on OEMs’ needs and PCB fabricators’ ability to meet those needs today and in five years. 

 

Here is a sampling of a few key findings in the report:

IPC’s newest study, PCB Technology Trends 2018, has been published and is now available in IPC’s online store. The 2018 study focuses on key issues of importance to OEMs and PCB fabricators. Data were collected from both industry segments to gain insight on OEMs’ needs and PCB fabricators’ ability to meet those needs today and in five years. 

 

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Here is a sampling of a few key findings in the report:

The data on OEMs’ use of emerging technologies showed that more than half of those surveyed are currently making products that communicate with the Internet of Things and three quarters make products that depend upon sensor inputs. 

By 2023, more than half of the reporting OEMs expect some of their products to incorporate artificial intelligence and more than one-third expect to make products that interface with humans via neural networks. 

The study also reveals interesting regional differences, such as in the use of blind vias which are more commonly specified by OEMs in North America and Europe than in Asia.

Another difference is in the use of stacked vias by PCB fabricators, which is much more prevalent in Asia today, but fabricators in all regions expect the use of stacked vias to grow, displacing staggered vias. 

Asian PCB fabricators also use more stretchable materials and printed electronics today than those in North America and Europe. Their use is expected to grow in all regions by 2023.

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Based on data from 74 companies worldwide, the 213-page report presents data on PCB technology and OEM’s PCB requirements as of 2018, as well as OEMs’ use of emerging technologies. Predictions from both industry segments indicate what these measurements are expected to be five years into the future. 

 

Data on board properties cover thickness, layer count, density, line width and spacing, via diameters, aspect ratios, I/O pitch, via design, blind and buried vias, and thermal properties. Use of materials looks at rigid, flexible, stretchable, metal core, loss characteristics and surface finishes. The PCB industry’s use of special structures covers embedded components and chip packages, and its use of printed electronics includes 3D printing and e-textiles. Survey participants’ comments on compliance and technical challenges and trends are included. 

 

The data in the report are segmented by two regions — North America and Europe in one segment, and Asia in another segment — and by two types of products — installed and mobile. 

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