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Electronics news

Schweizer Electronic seeks greater commitment to printed circuit boards

Last year, Europe's share of the global printed circuit board market fell to less than three percent.

At the beginning of the millennium, it stood at 20 percent. "Europe is dependent on Asia," explains Nicholas Schweizer, CEO and shareholder of PCB manufacturer Schweizer Electronic. "Without board supplies from the Far East, production lines in Germany's automobile and engineering factories would quickly grind to a halt."

Currently, there are about 160 PCB manufacturers in Europe, mostly mid-sized, which is 2/3 less than in 2000. And the annual turnover of most companies does not exceed 10 million euros.

To keep up with foreign competitors, Schweitzer is calling for government support. We urgently need a level playing field," he demands in an interview with Handelsblatt (Germany's daily business newspaper). What this means in concrete terms can be seen in the case of Hannover-based PCB manufacturer ILFA. According to managing partner Thomas Michels, the company wants to double its capacity, but needs seed funding to do so. The entrepreneur wants to invest 10 million euros. He knows from his own experience that such loans are easy to obtain in China. The entire printed circuit board industry is supported financially in China by the authorities.

Currently, about 80% of all printed circuit boards come from China and Southeast Asia. In the future, Europe will probably become less dependent on chips, but not on PCBs.