IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries®has announced the release of three annual PCB studies:2006-2007 Industry Analysis and Forecast for Flexible Circuits in North America,2006-2007 Industry Analysis and Forecast for Rigid PCBs and Laminates in North America, andTechnology Trends for Printed Circuit Boards for the Year 2006.

The flexible circuits study provides data and analysis on trends in the North American flexible circuit industry, including growth estimates and sales history, number of fabricators, global footprint of North American fabricators, industry end-markets served, trends in materials, sales and product type, and more. According to this report, flex circuit production in North America has declined, but companies in the region are growing due to worldwide sales.

The rigid PCB and laminates study covers industry growth forecasts, industry end-markets served, trends in high-density multilayer boards, production mix trends, new versus existing business growth, number and value of PCBs and panel produced, along with additional data. IPC has estimated the U.S. rigid PCB market in 2006 at approximately $4.3 billion. During the economic downturn after 2000, worldwide rigid PCB production declined sharply but began recovery in 2003. By 2006, it had surpassed its 2000 level, but the U.S. share had plunged to less than 10 percent. Growth in the PCB industry worldwide over the next two years is expected to be modest but steady.

The technology trends study presents data and analysis on trends in rigid PCB conductor width and spacing, metallic finishes, solder mask usage, multilayer production, laminate thickness and temperature, surface mounting, fine-pitch technology, and other leading-edge technologies. Survey participants indicated that 21 percent of all laminates used were halogen-free, with an emerging market for halogen-free laminates, particularly in consumer electronics. With this technology in use, the market demand will continue to drive production growth.

All three studies are available to IPC members and nonmembers.

For more information, visitwww.ipc.org.