News from WECC members

12 January 2016

North American PCB Sales Growth Continues at a Slow Pace
IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for November 2015

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® have announced the November findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Slow sales growth continued in November and bookings bounced back, but the book-to-bill ratio slipped below parity to 0.98.

Total North American PCB shipments increased 0.4 percent in November 2015 compared to November 2014. Year-to-date shipment growth remained at 0.4 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were down 5.8 percent.

PCB bookings rose 7.9 percent compared to November 2014, strengthening year-to-date order growth to 2.6 percent. Orders were up 1.0 percent in November compared to the previous month.

“Order growth recovered in November for the North American PCB industry, but negative order growth in the preceding two months pulled the book-to-bill ratio below parity for the first time in 14 months,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Strong order growth in late 2014 and in many months of 2015 have kept sales growing, although at a very slow pace,” she added.

View chart in PDF

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report,containing detailed November data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the first week in January. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found

Interpreting the Data

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are available in the last week of the following month.

# # #

New Year, New Outlook for the Electronics Manufacturing Industry

By John Hasselmann, Vice President Government Relations

January is traditionally a time to reflect on how to build on the successes of the past year. With this comes the added excitement of looking ahead to setting priorities and goals for the New Year.

As an advocate for the electronics manufacturing industry, it is important to educate and encourage policymakers to create a favorable legislative and regulatory environment for advanced manufacturing to grow and succeed. From that perspective, we should be proud of the significant progress IPC made in several areas in 2015.

For example, in the United States, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) launched several new institutes aimed at accelerating innovation in advanced manufacturing. Most recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced $75 million in federal funding to establish “NextFlex,” America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, in San Jose, California. More than 160 companies, associations, universities and other organizations, including IPC, are backing this new institute, which will focus on catalyzing the flexible electronics ecosystem through investments in new materials, thinned-device processing, device/sensor integrated printing and packaging, system design tools, and reliability testing and modeling. IPC led the industry coalition that secured congressional authorization for these institutes, and we will continue to advocate for full funding and aggressive implementation in 2016 and beyond.

IPC also hosted its annual Washington, D.C. “fly-in” event: IMPACT. This meeting provided industry executives the opportunity to meet with federal policymakers and advocate for public policy priorities that affect our industry. IPC also organized more than a dozen events across the country, in which member companies welcomed their elected representatives for policy discussions and tours of their facilities.

Furthermore, IPC launched a new website and recruitment campaign for the IPC Political Action Committee (IPC PAC) to open a new phase in our long-term efforts to educate policymakers and address issues that affect our industry. Political Action Committees (PACs) are transparent, regulated entities in which U.S. citizens, and individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence may join together to make political contributions to candidates. The IPC PAC is non-partisan and supports pro-manufacturing candidates.

In Europe, IPC convened a conference in Essen, Germany on EU policy issues. The event provided attendees with an in-depth look at pending EU regulations on conflict minerals, along with updates on critical regulatory programs affecting electronics, including REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). For much of 2015, IPC members worked to educate EU policymakers about the risks of burdensome conflict minerals regulations.

In Asia, IPC worked to influence the emerging Chinese Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains. Additionally, in a move that will enhance IPC’s ability to serve its members in the government relations and business development arenas, we promoted Philip Carmichael, a 30-year veteran of doing business in China, to the position of IPC President of Asia.

As we continue to advance our efforts in 2016, our industry needs to build on these successes, and set new advocacy goals to drive advanced manufacturing worldwide.

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