21 Jan 2008
Precise Practices(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2008)
Printed Circuit Boards
|Introlines Industrial (HK) Ltd is a specialised manufacturer of PCBs and also offers a wide range of PCB assembly services|
The demands of ever-changing technology for electronics goods means that suppliers of printed circuit boards (PCB) must be quick to adapt to exacting requirements and finer tolerances.
Introlines Industrial (HK) Ltd is a specialised manufacturer of PCBs and also offers PCB assembly services such as chip-on-board (COB) and surface mount technology (SMT), plus through-hole component and case assembly.
PCBs are produced to specifications of 0.075mm line width and spacing, with the minimum finished hole-size down to 0.10mm to meet IPC-A-600 and most of the European Perfag standards.
"We started out in 1996, making general-purpose, double-sided PCBs that were used mostly in electronic control panels," says Sales and Marketing Manager Edward Chau. "They were big-hole, wide-track types with plenty of spacing and posed no difficulty in manufacturing."
By 1998, the firm had started producing 4- and 6-layer PCBs with even more sophistication. Some five years later came the production of 10-layer PCBs used mainly in the telecommunications industry.
"The speed and volume of data transmission demanded high-density, short-distance interfaces to give the high bandwidth necessary for that traffic," Mr Chau recounts.
By 2005, the company had entered the world of wireless applications. "This phase also made big demands on our ability to deal with very fine measurements," says Mr Chau. "The track size and the line space dropped. Our PCBs are also suitable for newer wireless technologies such as Bluetooth."
Introlines now focuses on flexible PCBs. "Our term for these is rigid-flex, and represents a PCB suitable for more complex portable devices," Mr Chau says, adding that also new is the production of keyboards for ATM and teller systems.
"These keyboards might have to work day and night in outdoor environments, and that demands a certain built-in ruggedness coupled to zero-downtime reliability," he says.
Introlines' policy is to provide consistent quality, on-time delivery and competitive prices. "We also help clients develop products from the initial idea to the finished product," says Mr Chau. "We usually ask for a US$1,000 minimum order to cover the initial R&D costs."
Prices for PCBs may have to increase by 10%-15% to compensate for rising raw materials costs. "With the US economy shaky, we also see fluctuating orders for PCBs - and that will destabilize the industry in general," says Mr Chau.
"In addition to the high price of gold, the epoxy used for the laminate is a bi-product from the oil industry where prices have also skyrocketed. Copper, too, is now much more expensive," he explains.
Introlines holds a waste treatment licence to process its electroplating-related unwanted by-products. These licences, which enable the production of PCBs, are not easy to obtain.
"The Chinese government has ceased offering new licences for the whole of Guangdong Province," says Mr Chau. "That means that any new PCB company setting up will be more remotely situated, and so our proximity to Shenzhen and Hong Kong is an asset."
Mr Chau says that Introlines is planning to manufacture 14-18 layer PCBs to address the ever-increasing demands for high-speed data transfers across applications.
"We have to keep investing in new technology or we will be left behind or lose our market share," he declares boldly. "Increased density PCBs are the future, and in 2007 alone sales increased by more than 10%. We expect a similar growth rate for 2008."
Precision and reliability, coupled to intelligent foresight, are clearly the signs that Introlines is on the right path for continued success.
Text By TONY HENDERSON
|Introlines Industrial (HK) Ltd
Units A-B, 18/F
Capital Trade Centre
62 Tsun Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Year Established: 1996