What is the future development trend of PCB?

Where do printed circuit boards come from today?

For the PCB manufacturing and PCB assembly market, this set of numbers is very convincing: about 50% of all PCBs manufactured and assembled come from mainland China, 12.6% from Taiwan of China, 11.6% from Korea, and we note that 90% of the total PCB and PCBA production comes from the Asia Pacific region, with the rest of the world accounting for only 10%. However, both North America and Europe are now growing, mainly because production costs in those areas are starting to come down.

What kind of new PCB will come out?

Formaspace, a leading supplier of advanced industrial equipment that manufactures, assembles and tests PCBs, has spent the past few years listening to its customers and offering its vision for the future of PCBs. According to Formaspace, the following five trends will define the future of PCBs.

Trend 1: PCB substrates with built-in ESD protection to prevent ESD problems during assembly and testing.

Trend 2: Protecting PCBs from hackers, for example, by embedding encryption keys into the PCB's substrate.

Trend 3: PCBs that can withstand higher voltages, mainly because pure electric vehicles bring with them a higher voltage standard (48 V instead of 12 V).

Trend # 4: PCBs with unconventional substrates for easy folding, rolling, or bending (despite the apparent lack of progress in these technologies, they have become increasingly important since the advent of curved screens).

Trend 5: Green, more sustainable PCB, not only in terms of material use (lead removal), but also to help reduce the power consumption of the devices on them.

What is the passive component market like?
According to Research firm Market Research Future, the passive devices Market is expected to grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of about 6% from 2018 to 2022, as shown in Figure 1. Passive components include not only resistors, inductors, diodes, etc., but also PCB itself. In fact, this figure is very much in line with the growth rate reported by market research consultant Technavio.

What is the active component market like?
The market for active devices, such as semiconductor devices and optoelectronics devices, will grow at a faster rate of 10% and 6%, respectively, from 2018 to 2022 compared to the passive devices (see Figure 2). All of these are related to device miniaturization. Today, there is a great demand for only tiny sensors and actuators, and smart electronic products adopt MEMS technology in large numbers. The main drivers of the active devices market are smartphones, automobiles, industrial machinery and the Internet of Things.

What new PCB production methods are expected to be used?
Formaspace also offers insights on new methods of PCB production, and future PCB company lines may be very different from the way we produce PCBs today.

Trend # 1: There is no doubt that in the age of smartphones and heavy use of wearables, PCBs will become smaller and more compact.

Trend 2: Because microcontrollers will become smarter (for example, they can recognize when an object in the road is a brick or a small cardboard box), PCBs should adapt to this new type of machine learning and facilitate new methods of compliance testing.

Trend 3: People can be trained to assemble and test new PCBs using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies.

Trend 4: The acronym "PCB" stands for "printed circuit board," and today the word "printing" takes on a new meaning. 3D printing of PCBs is promising, for example, for single-use printed substrates, sensors, and processor circuits.

Trend 5: Hand assembly will continue in the future. Even for small batches, there is a growing trend for machine assembly, which can save time, while miniaturization makes manual assembly nearly impossible.