By Lisa Nadile
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFMay 16, 2000The cost of converting to reflow soldering technology could stall the growth of the surface mount equipment, and manufacturers need to address this concern, says a new report from Frost & Sullivan.
“Some electronic assembly manufacturers believe converting to the SMT process is too costly,” says Robinson. “This limits sales for reflow soldering equipment.
High conversion prices will affect certain end user industries, such as the automotive market, he adds.
However, product vendors say the prediction is a bit premature. “We do use both wave and reflow technologies,” says Eddy Mijhof, product line manager of reflow equipment for Vitronics Soltec Inc. in Stratham, NH. Vitronics provides soldering systems for in the electronics industry. SMT is appealing to manufacturers building electronics that face the growing miniaturization of components, he says. However, the cost of conversion for those companies will be offset by the revenues growth, he says.
“However, wave solder is still finding customers and not disappearing as quickly everyone thought,” says Mijof.
According to the research company, the surface mount technology (SMT) market generated $398.7 million in revenues in 1999. Analyst project the market will reach revenues of $886.8 million by 2006.
Specifically the reflow segment of the soldering equipment markets posted $305.6 million in revenues in 1999. Frost expects the number to reach $753.5 million by the end of 2006.
The projection is based in part of the expected growth of the telecommunication industry, which will spur electronics manufacturers who outsource business to increase capacity, giving contract manufacturers an opportunity for growth.