Low Volume PCB Manufacturing

2022-12-09 15:01:20 low volume pcb 147 Viewed

SummaryAccording to the size of a single order, volume PCBs can be subdivided into low volume PCB boards and high volume boards. According to statistics, in 2016 the global PCB market accounted for 80-85%, 10-15%, and 5% of the output value of high volume PCBs, low volume PCBs, and prototype boards, respectively....

According to the different needs of downstream customers, PCBs are divided into prototype PCBs and volume PCBs. According to the size of a single order, volume PCBs can be subdivided into low volume PCB boards and high volume boards. According to statistics, in 2016 the global PCB market accounted for 80-85%, 10-15%, and 5% of the output value of high volume PCBs, low volume PCBs, and prototype boards, respectively.

Low Volume PCB Industry Overview

Volume PCB boards can be further divided into low volume PCBs and high volume boards according to the size of the order area, among which: low volume PCBs are mainly used for professional user terminal needs such as communication equipment, industrial control, medical health and automotive electronics, and high volume boards are mainly used for general user terminal requirements such as consumer electronics and some automotive electronics.

The downstream applications of low volume PCBs mainly cover enterprise-level industries such as communication equipment, industrial control, medical health, and automotive electronics. Low volume PCB products are usually required to have the characteristics of high reliability, long service life, and strong traceability. PCB manufacturers have higher requirements for technology and materials. The downstream application fields of general consumer terminal demand mainly cover consumer electronics and some automotive electronics. PCB products are usually required to have the characteristics of lightness, miniaturization and bendability. Due to the large demand for ordinary individual consumer terminals, and PCBs are relatively more standardized, which requires higher production scale for PCB manufacturers. Prototype boards and low volume PCB boards have a wide variety of products and are relatively less susceptible to macroeconomic disturbances.

Because prototype boards, low volume PCBs, and high volume boards have great differences in R&D, production, management, and sales models, different types of PCB manufacturers have their own characteristics in terms of customers, products, and production.

Prototype boards are usually in the front-end link before mass production of PCB products, and the order area does not exceed 5 square meters. It is mainly used in the R&D prototype, test and development stages of customers, and there are many product models. The batch board is in the batch production stage after the prototype is developed and formed. Among them: low volume PCBs are customized according to customer needs. There are many product models but the single order area is small. The order area is between 5 square meters and 50 square meters. Low volume PCBs are mainly used in professional user application fields after R&D and molding, including communication equipment, industrial control, medical health and automotive electronics and other industries; high volume PCB board products are standardized products, with few product models and large single-order area. The order area is greater than 50 square meters, and it is mainly used in the general user terminal application field after research and development, including consumer electronics and automotive electronics and other industries.

Low Volume PCB Production Guide

PCB production can usually be classified according to standards such as order area, product layers, characteristic processes or materials. PCB manufacturers focus on the difference in market order area, and face differences in delivery time, product use, product model, customer structure, production process and pricing strategy. The PCB industry is further subdivided into prototype boards, low volume PCB boards, and high volume PCB boards.

Whether it is low volume PCB production or high volume PCB production, PCB production is very different from prototyping. During the prototyping process, there will be issues that will need to be redesigned before finalizing or producing the design. Prototyping provides the flexibility to simplify board validation and testing. When used correctly, it can reduce overall development costs.

Mass production is different from prototypes, after the design is completed, there is minimal flexibility for high volume and low volume PCB production. For high volume production, it is critical to minimize component and material costs while maintaining performance and reliability standards. On the other hand, low volume PCB production is more flexible.

Precautions for Low Volume PCB Processing

Three key points to pay attention to when processing low volume PCBs

1. Process flow

The processing of low volume PCB boards is easily affected by many factors, such as the number of processing layers, drilling technology, surface coating treatment, etc., which will affect the quality of low volume PCB finished products, so the process flow needs to be fully considered the environment and the characteristics of the production equipment must be flexibly changed according to the types of low volume PCB boards and processing requirements.

2. Substrate

Low volume PCB substrates are mainly divided into two types: organic materials and inorganic materials. The selection of substrate types requires a variety of properties, including dielectric properties, copper foil type, base groove thickness, and processability. An important factor affecting the performance of printed circuit boards is the thickness of the surface copper foil. If the thickness is thinner, it will have great advantages in the convenience of etching and the precision of graphics.

3. Production environment

The environment of the production workshop is a very important aspect for the manufacture of low volume PCB boards, because the regulation of the ambient temperature and humidity of the workshop are crucial factors. If the ambient temperature fluctuates too much, it is likely to cause the drill hole on the pcb substrate board to be broken. If the environment is too humid, it will be detrimental to the performance of the substrate with strong water absorption, which is mainly reflected in the dielectric properties. In the process of producing low volume PCB boards, appropriate environmental conditions should be maintained.

Market Development Trend of Low Volume PCB

(1) Electronic products are diversified, and the proportion of low volume PCB boards is gradually increasing.

Low volume PCB boards are widely used in communication equipment, industrial control, automotive electronics, consumer electronics and semiconductor testing professional terminal fields, involving most of the terminal electronic products. Low volume PCBs are closely related to the development of downstream terminal electronic products. The continuous expansion of the market size of PCB downstream terminal electronic products lays the foundation for the continuous and rapid growth of low volume PCB output value. According to the calculation of the China Electronic Circuit Industry Association's 2021 list of the top 100 domestic-funded PCB companies, there are a total of 12 companies that mainly operate prototype boards and low volume PCB boards, with a total operating income of 19.319 billion, accounting for the operating income of all the top 100 domestic-funded PCB companies. The ratio is 11.35%. Based on this, it is estimated that the output value of my country's prototype boards and low volume PCB boards will be approximately US$4.95 billion in 2021.

From the perspective of the downstream market of low volume PCBs, the development trend of terminal electronic product market demand towards diversification, customization, and low volume PCBs is becoming more and more obvious. The production capacity of mid-to-high-end prototypes and low volume PCB boards in Europe, America and Japan is further transferred to mainland China. , The demand for mid-to-high-end prototype boards and low volume PCB boards in my country's PCB will increase significantly. In the future, the growth rate of my country's mid-to-high-end prototypes and low volume PCB boards will be higher than the growth rate of the overall PCB industry demand, and the diversified development trend of terminal electronic products will promote the gradual increase in the proportion of prototype boards and low volume PCB boards.

(2)R&D investment promotes the continuous expansion of the prototype market

PCB involves many downstream industries. Prototype boards are mainly used for the R&D, pilot test and new product development needs of downstream electronic information product manufacturing enterprises. In the product R&D stage, professional PCB manufacturers are needed to assist in the production of prototype boards. The growth of R&D investment in the entire industry is driving the prototype board market. The scale continued to expand.

Since 2021, the growth of my country's research and experimental development expenditures has remained strong. The rapid and continuous growth of my country's research and development expenditures is conducive to the continuous expansion of the PCB prototype market.

(3) The downstream application field of prototype and low volume PCB boards develops rapidly

PCB prototypes run through all stages of research and testing of electronic information products, and are widely used in high-tech industries with high R&D investment such as communication equipment, industrial control, automotive electronics, semiconductors, and national defense industries; similarly, low volume PCB boards downstream are mainly used in enterprise-level professional user application industries such as communication equipment, industrial control and automotive electronics.


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