Dominique Numakura`s Newsletter from Japan
Mar 03, 2003
New vendors for adhesiveless flexible laminatesAs I have been talking, Asian flex circuit manufacturers have been experiencing a serious material shortage of adhesiveless laminates, especially ESPANEX made by Nippon Steel Chemical through a cast process. Currently, the vendor has more than a 50% share in the industry. and there were no second or third vendors. There were only 10th or 11th vendors. Nippon Steel Chemical announced an aggressive expansion plan to increase the manufacturing capacity this year, but the short supply issue can not be solved in the next 6 – 10 months at least. Therefore, there have been a lot of new activities of the competitors and new material manufacturers. Du Pont has been getting more orders for Pyralux AP (lamination type), TM (Sputtering type) and AC (cast type) as the alternative material of ESPANEX. Thin Flex, a new cast type material supplier in Taiwan already has a full capacity, and it is planning to install the second line this year. American manufacturer, Gould Electronics is getting a share in Asia for its Gould Flex (Sputtering type) PI Laboratory in Japan and LG in Korea unveiled their new cast type laminates recently. Toyo Metalizing and Sumitomo Metal Mining, major sputtering type laminate vendors announced their new expansion plans. Mitsui Chemical also commented about its expansion plan for all laminates products, (cast, sputtering and lamination types) But they can not contribute for the next half year. Ube Industry announced a business expansion plan for both polyimide film and laminates, (lamination type and sputtering type.) Matsushita Electric, the largest rigid board material supplier announced the new business plan of the flexible laminates. (sputtering type) Mitsubishi Shindo (sputtering type) and Ube Nitto (lamination type) unveiled their new products recently. I can not show the actual names, but more material manufacturers have been planning to enter the market.The current customers of ESPANEX have been evaluating the new vendors seriously because of the urgent shortage issues. However, their properties and qualities are very different. ESPANEX, and the flex manufacturers are too embarrassed to decide the direction. Which is better, to ask new vendors for quality improvement or to wait for the new capacity of Nippon Steel Chemical? By my observations, the new laminate vendors do not understand the customers’ requirements other than the products. The customers are expecting detailed technical support from material vendors. Sometimes, it consumes more engineers than R&D for the production of the new materials. Anyway, I think the next 10 to 12 months are the allowed time for the new material vendors to enter the market. They can not be the major players in the market if they can not show a valuable performance to the customer in the limited time.Dominique NumakuraEPT Headline News, March 1, 2003RiTdisplay (Display device manufacturer in Taiwan) Will start the production of OEL display devices of cellular phones soon. The company has volume orders from SamSung Electronics and LG Electronics.Nippon Oil (Petroleum company) Will expand the business of LCD relating film business. The company will found a new manufacturing company in China.Shinko Electric (Device manufacturer) Developed the smallest GPS down converter module for the portable electronic products. 6.5 x 6.5 x 1.6 mm with BGA package Sony Chemical (Major rigid and flexible circuit manufacturer) Introduced the NMBI technology from North Corp. to build multi-layer rigid-flex.Toyo Kohan (Steel board manufacturer) Will start a material business of circuit boards utilizing its welding technology of different metals.SMK (Major connector manufacturer) Developed a very thin (2.7 mm high from board surface) SMT connector for SD memory cards. Sanyo Will roll out the thinnest (1.8 mm high from board surface) SMT type SAW filter devices for the tuning module of audio and telecommunication products.Sanyo Developed the smallest size CCD module for cellular phones. 12.9 x 9.9 x 6.5 mm. Package of CCD: WL-CSP, Package of driver: FBGA-96, 0.65 mm pitchUbe Industry (Polyimide film manufacturer) Will install the 7th manufacturing line of the polyimide film, Upilex. Ube will expand the business of adhesiveless laminates for the booming flex circuit industry.Sumitomo Metal Mining (Leadframe and TAB manufacturer) Will invest 30 million dollars to found the second leadframe plant in China.Solder Coat (Soldering material vendor) Co-developed a new lead-free solder with Toppan-NEC. The new solder reduces "Copper Eat Phonomena".Sony Introduced a high density flexible circuit for the wiring of the new display device "SXRD" developed for the home theater. Asahi Glass Will found two subsidiaries in China for the manufacturing and marketing of optical filter films for PDP devices.Tokyo University Co-founded a new R&D organization with Fraunhofer IZM for next generation packaging technologies.Nikkei Shinbun Taiwanese manufacturers have been announcing the second price increase in February for LCD devices for notebook computers. All original news items were written in Japanese. Volunteers are choosing the topics and translating to English for free delivery. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the news. Quick news is the first priority of the headlines, therefore, we can not eliminate all of the mistakes in the translations.