24 Jan 2005
Printed Circuit Boards(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2005)
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) may look unimposing, but no electronic device can function without them. The increasing infiltration of electronic appliances into everyday life results in an enormous demand; a demand that Hong Kong suppliers are helping to satisfy.
"Electronic products exist everywhere in the world," observes Introlines Industrial (HK) Ltd sales and marketing manager Edward Chau. "Whether you're in a big city, or in the countryside, you're sure to find some electronic appliances such as telephones or portable audio products - and every one of them needs at least one PCB."
The company generates an average 500,000 square feet of PCBs per month, ranging from single-sided and double-sided flexible models to single-sided and multi-layer rigid versions. "We stress impedance control to avoid interference among the different circuits on the same PCB," Chau adds.
He says Introlines focuses on PCBs with more layers, noting the more the layers, the smaller the size. "A small PCB can be fitted in hand-held electronic products such as MP3 players, and we can make PCBs of up to 14 layers that are as small as business cards," Chau explains. "In the coming 20 years, PCBs in the market will tend to be ever-smaller and more complicated."
The ISO 9000-certified manufacturer uses copper-clad laminates, mainly from the Chinese mainland, to produce its PCBs at a 300,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan on the southern mainland that employs 800 workers.
The nine-year-old firm's PCBs sell under the IT brand in the US, Europe and Asia for US$60-100 per square metre FOB Hong Kong for minimum order values of US$500 per project per shipment delivered 2-3 weeks after order confirmation.
Chau says that Introlines will focus on "green" PCBs free of harmful substances like lead, halogen and bromine. "Green PCBs comprise 10% of our sales at present, but in future we plan to have 60% of our PCBs in compliance with RoHS, especially those products destined for the European and Japanese markets," he adds, referring to the European Union directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
"We'll also focus on developing new products such as laminates for specific purposes, such as those for ultra-high frequency or ultra-high temperature applications."
Also export-oriented is ANS Industrial Co Ltd, a six-year-old manufacturer of rigid PCBs of up to 10 layers. "About 90% of our products are sold to the US and Europe," sales manager Kenneth Tang reveals, "and are used for a wide variety of consumer goods, ranging from security products to computers."
ANS uses laminates from Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and the mainland to produce PCBs bearing the ANS brand at a 120,000-square-foot factory in Foshan on the southern mainland.
The ISO 9001-certified facility employs 350 workers and has a monthly production capacity of 400,000 square feet with a 3-4 week lead time. "All our products have UL approval," Tang adds.
Similarly, Carven Circuits Ltd specialises in rigid PCBs, with an average monthly output of about 250,000 square feet of single-sided and double-sided rigid PCBs.
"We are customer-focused," claims sales manager Margaret Mok, adding that Carven works on total solutions. "This means that we work together with our customers on different aspects such as design and assembly and discuss research and development together."
Mok notes that the US accounts for 40% of Carven's turnover and Germany 30%, with Europe and Asia accounting for the remainder. "In 2005, we will take aim at the North European and Japanese markets," she adds.
The company's PCBs are made with laminates from the mainland and Korea at a 200-worker factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, and a 50,000-square-foot, 80-worker facility in Hong Kong.
Sixteen-year-old Carven complies with TS16949 quality standards and can deliver minimum values of US$4,000 within two weeks.
Nam Hing Circuit Board Co Ltd also pays great attention to quality standards. "We expect to receive TS16949 certification in February this year," says marketing manager Samantha Lau.
The firm's 600-worker factory in Dongguan, which is already ISO 9001-certified, makes single-sided, double-sided and multi-layer rigid PCBs. "Our laminates come from our sister company, Nam Hing Industrial Laminates, which enables us to offer very competitive pricing," Lau adds.
Twenty-eight-year-old Nam Hing has a monthly output of 700,000 square feet that is sold to Europe, which accounts for 42% of sales, Hong Kong (40%) and other international markets.
Hong Kong manufacturers such as these pride themselves on their ability to supply a complete range of quality PCBs at competitive prices, thus ensuring that our electronic world keeps operating at maximum efficiency.
WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE
Kingtech PCB Ltd