Lead-free to Spur Equipment Industry

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SAN ANTONIO Market research from Frost & Sullivan asserts that the move to lead-free taking place globally in response to the European Union's (EU's) RoHS Directive will stimulate the SMT equipment industry. They found regional growth in Eastern Europe and China stemming from manufacturing practices based on RoHS requirements. "World SMT Cleaning Equipment Market" tracks revenues of $34.3 million in 2005 and predicts revenue of $55 million in 2012. Investment in cleaning equipment in 2005 resulted from converting to a lead-free process that generates more residue, says Keith Robinson, industry manager at Frost & Sullivan. The report also theorizes that cleaning equipment will reach a larger portion of the industry from 2006 through 2010.

The research firm also found that OEMs and EMS providers will be willing to increase their investments in screen printers and glue dispensers, providing the equipment can reduce cycle times and increase throughput. In its, "World SMT Screen Printers and Glue Dispenser Markets" study, Frost & Sullivan presented a revenue estimate for screen printing equipment of $366.4 million for 2012. Glue dispensers will generate $42.1 million by 2012.

The 2005 results for screen printer revenues reached $190.2 million, and will rise because of interest in the Asian region, especially China, according to Lavanya Ram Mohan, research analyst at Frost & Sullivan. The $366.4 million forecast is based on the growing number of EMS providers based in China and surrounding Asian countries. Outsourcing, along with other factors, will maintain a steady rise of about 9.8% compounded annual growth for screen printer manufacturers.

The glue dispenser industry earned $26.3 million in revenue in 2005, according to the analysis. Equipment manufacturers must invest substantially in R&D to secure bookings because the market is expected to experience an overall gradual slow-down, with a compounded annual growth rate of 7.0%. Frost & Sullivan anticipates that China will be a main proponent in this sector as well.



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