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 Trends In Electronic Manufacturing
It's no secret that much of the USA's manufacturing has moved overseas to China and India. The reason for this is basic - it's cheaper. According to SMT. John Myers of Bassman International Corporations says, "We make things where money is to be made, we don't make things where there is no money to be made, i.e. consumer electronics." The trend in manufacturing in the US is mostly in high-value-add processes like IC manufacture, medical, or military assembly. Because these industries inherently need to be close to the manufacture because of the high quality and reliability required for these types of electronic devices, this sector will continue to see growth.

One of the biggest trends lately is the "greening" of products in order to comply with a growing number of laws requiring such. Manufactures are considering longer life cycles, more consumer responsibility, and easier recycling among other things. According to InStat, the semiconductor assembly and test market continues its shift to Asia. The outsourcing of assembly and test to subcontractors has been increasing consistently. The outsourced SAT market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.3%, which is higher than the global semiconductor growth rates. The new NEMI roadmap notes that 7.5 percent of electronics assembly is currently done in China and that this could increase to 35 percent in 2020.

Many OEM companies are also looking at Mexico as a more convenient place for manufacturing. "Companies look at communications convenience when deciding where to locate manufacturing. To have an EMS plant at the same time or within a time zone or two is preferred versus communication with Asia which means you're on the phone 5 or 6 in the morning," says Robert Freid, president of Contract Manufacturing Consultants to Purchasing magazine.

Automotive electronics is one of the areas that is going to see the biggest growth according to an interview of NEMI executive director and CEO Jim McElroy by Manufacturing & Technology News. These electronics will bring entirely new functionality in autos from dashboard displays to driver monitoring systems.

Medical electronics is another area that will see more growth. This industry is part of the higher tier electronics market that the US focuses on. Frost.com says although the printed circuit board (PCB) industry in North America has been flat since 2001, the medical PCB market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.1 percent between 2003 and 2010. New flexible circuit designs for implants among other things are a big part of this.


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