Weiner’s World—December 2017


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China’s UCE Group in Dongguan is now clearly the world’s largest wet process equipment supplier (with 1 million square feet of manufacturing building automatic VCP, develop-etch-strip, metalizing, etc.) lines, and is now targeting the U.S. market.

I was disappointed by the (lack of) response by PAL when I visited their booth several times to get information for a client’s new need for an automated copper electroplating line. Perhaps they grew too quickly in 2017 to respond efficiently.

Lewader-Tech Electronics (Shenzhen) said that it will seek to buy or build a quick-turn PCB/flex facility in the USA late in 2018 or early 2019.

AGFA is targeting China for primary imaging inks (for printing, including ink jet) as well as solder masks for inkjet printing. It is testing the masks with two European ink-jet makers (Notion and Myer Burger). It intends to focus for imaging product for all digital printing applications as films (in PCB fabrication) and elsewhere are “going away.” Dr. Marc Van Damme, VP marketing & sales, Agfa Specialty Products, Belgium, said that they expect to have a full line of UV-curing jettable masks and legend inks by end of 2018.

MivaTek now has more than 300 digital imaging systems in the marketplace and has appointed WKK as distributor for China.

Huntsman introduced a new white solder mask in the Shenzhen event.

ESI is now using a sub-contractor in Suzhou to build its laser drills. Mitsubishi Electric was reported to now have over 500 laser drilling systems in the field.

Cerambus is “doing very well” now that it is focusing on electroplating materials for VCP and other lines, according to CEO John Nash.

Orbotech made a big splash with its revolutionary Ultra Dimension series which included SLP, mSAP, advanced HDI, advanced flex and IC substrates. It is the first AOI solution to integrate pattern inspection, laser via (LV) inspection, Remote Multi-Image Verification (RMIV) and 2D metrology into a single system.

Pulse Electronics introduced a new 3D-capable printing technology through WKK designed to create printed electronics directly on 3D surfaces using a new software-controlled digital process and a nano Ag ink supplied by Sun Chemical. The “Fluidwriter” system was priced at about $150K versus the $500K+ price of competitive models. It was introduced to the industry a month ago at productronica.

There were notably several large displays of copycat carbon-based and electroless copper systems for PTH.  These included Foshun Keyun Technology and Skychem.

SEMI announced at Semicon Japan that semiconductor equipment spending will hit $57 billion in 2017, a historic high, with moderate growth expected in 2018.

Chip sales for automotive systems and the internet of things (IoT) will grow 70% faster than total IC revenues between 2016 and 2021, according to IC Insights’ 2018 Integrated Circuit Market Drivers Report[3]. IC sales for automobiles and other vehicles are forecast to grow from $22.9 billion in 2016 to $42.9 billion in 2021, while revenues for IoT functionality will grow from $18.4 billion in 2016 to $34.2 billion in 2021.

The electronics content in vehicles continues to rise thanks in part to new technologies and advanced functionality particularly for safety systems. IC Insights forecasts automotive IC sales to reach $28 billion in 2017, up 22% from 2016. Double-digit growth will continue into 2018 with automotive IC sales reaching $32.4 billion, up 16%.

Car parts maker Denso Corporation is set to become the largest investor in a Japan Display affiliate’s plan to raise $880 million to begin mass production of advanced panels. Denso is prepared to invest around $440 million in JOLED Inc., a developer of organic light-emitting diode panels used in smartphones and TVs. Denso, an affiliate of Toyota Motor, likely also will become a JOLED customer and use the displays in car dashboards or rear-view mirrors. JOLED was created in 2015 from operations spun off by Sony and Panasonic in a government-backed consolidation of Japan’s development of OLED panels.

JOLED plans to expand its production of mid-sized panels 10-fold, as it races to catch up to the South Korean global leaders in the OLED panel market. State-backed fund Innovation Network Corporation of Japan owns a 75% stake in JOLED, while Japan Display owns 15% and Sony and Panasonic each 5%.  (Source: Kyodo News International)

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