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The electronics manufacturing industry is applauding a set of U.S. Government reports on strategic supply chains released, which highlight the need for the United States to foster a robust domestic electronics manufacturing industry.
IPC President and CEO John Mitchell said, “Electronics are critical to every sector of the modern economy, but the United States has allowed its domestic electronics manufacturing industry to wither, leaving the country dangerously exposed to supply chain shocks. We appreciate the Biden administration’s recognition of this problem and its leadership to begin marshaling federal resources to address it.”
The reports published today are an outgrowth of the Biden administration’s policy reviews of what can be done to bolster and secure strategically important supply chains. While much of the attention in the electronics arena has focused on semiconductors, the administration has now officially recognized the need to rebuild the entire electronics manufacturing ecosystem, including printed circuit boards (PCBs), PCB assemblies (PCBAs), critical minerals, “advanced packaging” of multichip modules and substrates, and skilled workers.
Recent IPC studies have urged Congress to combine its investments in semiconductor manufacturing with additional support for advanced packaging, PCBs, and related technologies. Without such action, even if the U.S. begins to produce more semiconductors, the chips would still need to be sent offshore to be packaged and assembled into finished products, leaving the U.S. vulnerable to supply chain shocks.
Adds Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations, “While the U.S. has allowed its domestic electronics industries to atrophy, America’s competitors have invested heavily in theirs. These reports are another step in a long-term effort to rebuild this crucial industry in the United States.”
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
The big news in the industry this week was the new bill introduced to the U.S. Congress in support of the PCB manufacturing industry. The Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act of 2022, which was introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Blake Moore (R-UT), incentivizes “purchases of domestically produced PCBs as well as industry investments in factories, equipment, workforce training, and research and development.” The bill is a PCB-oriented complement to the semiconductor-oriented CHIPS Act of 2021.
Jeff Brandman, Aismalibar North America
Heat has been a significant concern in electronics since the beginning of the electronics age when hot glowing vacuum tubes were first used to receive and transmit data bits. The transistor and integrated circuit effectively solved that basic problem, but increases in integration resulted in increased concentration of heat, exacerbated by relentless increases in operating frequency. While improvements in electronics technology have been able to mitigate many thermal issues at chip level thanks to improved semiconductor designs devised to operate at lower voltages (thus requiring less energy) the thermal management challenge continues to vex electronic product developers.
Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
It’s been a crazy week, with lots of bad news coming out of Ukraine. (I’m a news junkie by trade, but I confess that some days I just unplug from the news completely to avoid overdosing on negativity.) And, as you might have guessed, this is all having ill effects on our electronics supply chain, which is already stretched thin. This is reflected in our IPC news item that shows an uptick in PCB sales in February, but a drop in bookings YOY, in part due to the trouble in Eastern Europe. But there’s positive news in this week’s top reads. We have a NextFlex article about an innovative flexible technology called flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) and a great interview by Dan Beaulieu. We also have a column by Travis Kelly, who discusses PCBAA’s efforts to lobby for American manufacturing in Washington. And last but not least, let’s welcome our two newest columnists, Paige Fiet and Hannah Nelson, who discuss their excitement about entering this industry.