By Jalaja Ramanunni
The Indian Printed Circuit Association (IPCA) celebrated its silver jubilee this year and commemorated the occasion by holding the IPCA International Expo 2011 from August 3-5, 2011 at Bengaluru. This created an opportunity for the PCB industry, OEMs, suppliers of chemicals and allied products, EMS companies, equipment manufacturers, product manufacturers, etc, from all over the world, to meet at one venue for business development and to network. It also brought together all allied industries catering to the PCB industry. Participants showcased the latest technology, trends and products that cater to the manufacturing, industrial, consumer, solar and lighting sectors. The expo was attended by about 3000 visitors, while exhibitors included local companies as well as global players from countries like Italy, USA, Singapore, China, etc. The IPCA Expo was held after a few years’ break.
Overall, the event was a success as participants from all over the world expressed their satisfaction for the opportunity to meet others in the PCB industry. “We have many customers in India and our purpose of attending the expo was to meet our clients and other players from the industry, and to establish our presence in India. The event has helped us to generate interest in our products,” stated Neil Chilton, technical sales director, Xact, a software solutions supplier for improving multilayer PCB registration.
Girish Vaikar, senior manager-business, at PCB manufacturer Epitome Components Ltd, agrees, “We wanted to access this platform to let others in the industry know about our brand and then generate business. These objectives got fulfilled as our booth was big enough to display our products and publicity material, and this led to many inquiries. We have met some prospective clients and if these leads are taken forward well, it will help us to get more customers.”
PCB trends to watch out for
The expo presented a good picture about the upcoming trends in the PCB industry. “Every device, especially the mobile phone, is growing slimmer and more compact, and so is the PCB inside it,” states Milind Patil, director, Ibiden, a company that manufactures PCBs. “This calls for microvia technology, that is, small holes or vias, generally created with lasers employing depth control, rather than mechanical drills, through which multilayered PCB traces interconnect components,” he added.
According to Costanzo D’Angelo, VP, sales, Pluritec, which develops and manufactures equipment for PCB fabrication : “PCBs will keep getting smaller in size and the technology will get more advanced, but the complexity will not increase prices.”
Challenges faced by players
Although the Indian PCB industry has a significant role to play in the country’s economy, the key elements that Indian PCB companies should focus on are capital, consolidation, technology improvements, quality, and a global delivery model.
“India is considered a growing market and its growth pace is higher than most countries. The aerospace and defence sector here is expanding, and there are many opportunities to cater to the local market, too,” comments Rajesh Kumar, VP and CTO of DDi, a PCB manufacturing company. “However, India has to leapfrog and go generations ahead in terms of technology. For example, HDI PCB manufacturing has been adopted by PCB manufacturers across the world, but this trend has not yet started in India,” he added.
Aspocomp, a company that provides services for the design and manufacture of high-tech PCBs, tried to set up an HDI plant in Chennai but it could not survive long. However, the players believe that the outlook for PCBs in India looks promising. There is a huge opportunity for local companies in India. Currently, there are only a few suppliers in India who can cater to high grade PCB requirements, but Indian companies have the huge opportunity to cater to major sectors like defence, if they can upgrade their facilities and adopt the latest technologies.