The rising popularity of smartphones and greater use of computing technology is spurring the sales of surface mount technology (SMT) soldering equipment. Complicated design architecture and electronic components with smaller footprints require complex soldering techniques, opening up a plethora of opportunities for new soldering equipment with advanced features.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (smt.frost.com), Global SMT Soldering Equipment Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of $411.4 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach $634.0 million in 2017.
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Meanwhile, the 'green' trend is creating a large market for products such as energy-efficient lighting ballasts and wind power. These technologies, in turn, are giving an advantage to the mature SMT soldering equipment market.
"Mixed technology assemblies that include surface mount devices (SMDs) and through-hole devices are driving sales of wave soldering equipment," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Nupur Sinha. "Odd-form components, such as connectors and transformers, make wave soldering equipment a viable solution because both reflow and wave equipment are required for some lines."
The market will receive an extra boost by higher investments in the automotive industry and the medical devices sector, especially with the aging of the baby boomer generation.
The market's potential has attracted a large number of competitors, fostering competition and consequently, price wars. Further, the influx of Chinese participants has lowered the profit margins of major participants.
To offset price-based competition, participants have to distinguish their products through continuous innovation. Participants will seek higher investments in research and development (R&D) to enable technical developments that meet customer and industry requirements.
"The soldering equipment market is likely to experience substantial demand for superior flux management, more software interface and higher throughput, which will require considerable R&D funds," said Sinha. "Companies need to balance rising R&D budgets with steadily decreasing average product selling price to meet the mounting technological demands of end-users and thus stay afloat in the market."
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Global SMT Soldering Equipment Markets / N919-28