Europe has a long-standing history in PCB manufacturing. Today, they have cemented their presence in this field. Some of these brands joined forces with China, which has led to great investment and development in PCB manufacturing. A few others deliver semiconductor substrates for computers, phones, portable music players, and cameras. Also, some boards of these PCB Europe brands can be applied to medicine, automotive, industry, and aerospace.
Hoping to learn about PCB manufacturing? You are based in Europe, and wish to know top-rated brands involved in the manufacturing of PCB? Please continue reading, to widen your knowledge in this regard.
What is PCB?
Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is the main building block of today’s electronic devices. It serves as the framework for which other electronic parts are assembled. PCBs provide mechanical support and electrical connection to the components of electrical devices.
They are very common in electronic devices and you can identify them as the green board you see in the layout of most devices. Inductors, operational amplifiers, resistors, batteries, and capacitors are placed on the PCBs based on the form factor of the design. Form factor specifies the shape, size, and other physical features of the PCB as a whole. You need to consider aspects like board configurations, chassis, and mounting schemes to determine the form factor of any PCB design.
PCBs have electrical and mechanical features that make them a suitable option. Today’s PCBs are rigid; about 90 percent of them are rigid boards. Although some PCBs are flexible, they comprise 10% of PCBs available in the market. PCBs are appropriate for many modern electronic devices due to the benefits they offer. They are lightweight and their low cost of production makes them an ideal choice.
Background of the European PCB Industry
The fabrication industry of PCB is a major supplier to most system manufacturers, end users, and electronic assemblers based in Europe. They will all directly gain from this project because they can reliably source assemblies of circuit boards at more reasonable prices.
In the European Union, about 300,000 people work to design and assemble electronics. Recently, Europe’s electronics industry found ways to adapt due to the increasing competition from producers of low labor cost, who don’t usually work with the same environmental and employment standards employed throughout Europe. Due to this reason, the European Union has experienced a great decrease in the manufacturing of low-cost, high-volume electronic products.
Because a large fraction of the previous market migrated, this caused the supply chain to experience a knock-on effect. This includes industries involved in the fabrication and assembly of PCB, as well as supply chains associated with them.
The electronic industry’s concentration in Europe now focuses on more specialized non-consumer applications. Products here are of high value, low volume, or those made through cutting-edge technology. Usually, this may feature applications in various industries like aerospace, telecommunications, medical, automotive, and many others.
These products usually require something more different from the usual consumer electronics of high volume. Particularly, they are usually required to have great reliability in performance and a longer lifespan. These factors are well influenced at the production stage of the circuit board by the solderable finish chosen.
The existence of the capability of EU-based PCB fabrication is seen as a very important part of the supply chain for the electronics industry of high value and reliability. This relies on its ability to source PCB products of high quality consistently, and which also requires easy communication and fast dynamics in the supply chain provided by the local companies.
PCB Manufacturing in Europe in the Past
The heart of any electronic device is indeed the printed circuit board. This is because it connects the different components and ensures the functioning of the electronic device. Unfortunately, it’s also known as the most expensive component and when there’s a need to conduct an ABC analysis, it is usually scrutinized first. Already, the PCB EU industry had to search early for economic ways to manufacture.
Many years back, the lowest scrap rates ever usually accompanied optimized processes. However, this wasn’t even enough for the identification and qualification of some procurement officers of “low-cost nations”.
Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there has been a drop in the number of Europe’s PCB manufacturers. This drop was from over 1,400 to just about 230. After the recent survey conducted on the PCB industry in Europe, Data4PCB concluded that the manufacturers left don’t just have the right to exist and the opportunity to survive, but are also important for Europe’s electronic industry.
Countries speaking German (Switzerland, Austria, and Germany) are responsible for 61% of the total share of Europe’s PCB production. This is followed by Italy with 11%, France with 8.5%, and the United Kingdom with 8.2%.
The different technologies made in these countries are dedicated and focused on the industrial sectors in their location. This plays a significant role in further and new developments. Asides from this, other reasons prevent transferring portions of work to low-cost nations. Some of these reasons include small volumes and know-how protection.
The survey conducted on the PCB industry of Europe is established every year. This is based on an established database that has been compiled for the last three decades. It also contains almost all manufacturers based in Europe.
How is PCB Manufacturing in Europe Now?
The PCB market in Europe has grown rapidly compared to the past, with many companies putting in much effort to develop and deliver great services. Some reliable companies specialize in producing pcb prototypes that can serve different fields. So many brands are now involved in PCB. However, here are the best five manufacturers and where you can get pcb online europe now.
AT&S is involved in the manufacturing and designing of high-end pcb prototypes utilized in various fields like measurement technology, aviation, and medicine. Responsible for the manufacturing of IC substrates globally, it delivers semiconductor substrates for computers, phones, portable music players, and cameras.
Having over 9500 employees, this brand boasts production plants in Asia, asides from Europe. These plants focus on a particular technological portfolio. They deal with the European market, connecting with customers, and ensuring fast production.
RUWEL was founded back in 1845, with Geldern of Germany as its headquarters. Back in the 90s, PCB manufacturer Europe were about 1500, while the larger manufacturers were just about 100. This was caused as a result of China’s impact on production.
In 2009, Taiwan’s Unimicron Group, who is a well-known manufacturer of PCB in Europe, acquired Ruwel Group. After this acquisition, came more investment and development. Ruwel now offers cheap pcb prototypes for Europe and Asia.
Wurth Electronic is a leading manufacturer of PCB in Europe that assists their customers through the process of using their PCB prototype. The brand also provides solutions to all problems associated with electronic design. The brand offers three different dimensions of the PCB board. This includes flex-rigid, flexible, and bendable PCB boards.
This manufacturer offers high-quality signal, weight reduction, and cheap PCB manufacturing. Wurth Electronic’s PCB board can be applied to medicine, automotive, industry, and aerospace.
For more than ten years now, Multek has been a strong manufacturer of PCB in Europe. They focus on multilayer PCB manufacturing. This brand offers new product introductions utilized in large production with earlier prototypes. Every year, Multek produces rigid-flex, double-sided, multilayer, and single PCBs.
They also satisfy the requirements of their customers by providing different flexible PCB boards. Using evaluation methodology, the company only utilizes qualified materials. With over 17 steps used in the evaluation, Multek makes sure that thermal and electrical characteristics follow the specifications of the IPC. After this, there’s an optimization of all qualified materials for mass production to suit every PCB manufacturer in Europe.
Fuba was established back in 1991, and for this, has become a leader in PCB manufacturing. Fuba produces PCBs going into OHSAS and ISO standard. Also, they are majorly used in areas like medicine, telecommunication, industry, and automotive.
This PCB manufacturer works with the following strategies: improving the technology used to reach 26 layers and creating a new technology of PCB. In both strategies, Fuba cuts materials to a specific size and format using cutting devices that work automatically. This brand also drills using modern machines, which offer different options such as laser detectors to ensure high quality when drilling holes.
Unlike in the past, there are more manufacturers of PCB in Europe today. The PCB industry is developing rapidly and more brands are getting involved. These brands now focus more on high-value and reliable products. One clear message here is that working with low-cost suppliers to source PCBs from the Far East would not be the right step to take to get the desired building block for products with high value and reliability, which the electronics industry of Europe is known for.