Application of three main areas of PCB
In the field of communication, different applications have different PCB requirements. In general, FPCs and HDIs are more used for mobile communication terminals, and mostly high-volume communications devices are used.
Compared to solid clad copper sheets, FPC is commonly referred to as a "soft board" and the core layer is a generally flexible substrate such as polyimide (PI) or polyester film. FPC is characterized by thin, flexible and high cabling to achieve assembly and wire bonding. The FPC was first used in space shuttles, military equipment and other areas. Thanks to its lightness, softness and tilt resistance, FPC quickly penetrated the public at the end of the 20th century. It was mainly used in consumer electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, PDAs and liquid crystal displays.
HDI is called a high density board of interconnected PCBs. Its main feature is to transfer more devices and achieve more functionality in the smallest possible space. HDI development boosted the development of 2G-5G mobile communication terminals and also enabled high performance mobile phones with a touchscreen. In addition, HDI is also used in the field of aerospace and military equipment. In 2016, total HDI production reached $ 7.68 billion, representing 14% of the PCB output, with compound annual growth rates standing at 2.70%.
HDI requires an extremely high cabling density to minimize the footprint of the motherboard inside the smartphone. HDI is produced by stacking layers of common core boards, and it is necessary to realize the bond between the layers by drilling, plating and the like.
HDI must therefore be as thin and multi-layer as possible to significantly increase the component density and save the PCB connection. HDI can be divided into first-order HDIs, second-order HDIs, high-speed HDIs, etc. According to the number of adjacent layers directly connected through blind holes. HDI laser drilling, plating holes for plating and other processes are more difficult and have a higher added value.
In recent years, PCB electronics have remained stable in the automotive industry, but with smart driving and new energy technologies, cars are increasingly becoming an electronic product that is expected to become a new kinetic energy for the PCB industry. It is estimated that the year-on-year composite growth rate in the electronic PCB market will be 5.6% between 2017 and 2022.
Automotive electronics, however, do not have the same strict level as mobile communication equipment and the device is not regularly updated. At the same time, the automotive supply chain is relatively closed. For example, ADAS and the new electronic system of power vehicles are relatively insensitive to the price, but PCB recovery requirements are extremely high and zero tolerance for quality accidents. Therefore, the demand for automotive panels on the market is unlikely to show short-term explosive growth over the next few years.
In the past two years, the PCB rate (China Mobile Plate Board Plate Manufacturer) in the industrial market is declining, mainly due to the driving force of consumer electronics, such as computers, tablets and smartphones. There is no doubt that the traditional consumer electronics market is saturated. Many categories have slowed down and even recorded downsides, which has led to the development of the PCB industry. Between 2017 and 2022, consumer demand for PCBs is expected to grow by 2.5%, which is further weakened by industry growth.