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Quo vadis, EMS, OEM and E²MS

What Covid-19 means for the local electronics industry

Corona is still causing uncertainty in all areas. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA e.V.) is keeping a close eye on the developments caused by the virus. Disrupted supply chains, slumps in incoming orders and liquidity bottlenecks are just some of the direct consequences. These are increasingly being exacerbated by national solo efforts and border closures by EU member states. According to the VDMA, the current situation is most clearly reflected in the mechanical engineering, chemical and electrical industries.

The Central Association of Germany`s Electrical Industry (ZVEI e.V.) underlines this assessment. According to a recent ZVEI survey, its members expect a decline in sales of around 14 percent. Only 3 percent of the companies surveyed consider it realistic to expect to make up for this loss in the foreseeable future. Even if it has so far been possible to gradually undo the economic standstill, there are still considerable consequences for the electronics industries. To contain these as far as possible, a roadmap must be developed now for a successful new start within the industry.

Resilient electronics production after Corona crisis

The scale of the ongoing pandemic and the resulting economic and social standstill are enormous. In many places, companies are on short-time work, jobs are being cut and even more frequently there is uncertainty about the future. Crisis-stricken companies are trying to save money and are completely postponing investments. But the time after the shutdown will come. "Especially now, OEMs and also manufacturing service providers for electronic components have to understand that by acting anticyclical they will put themselves in a better position, start faster after the crisis and thus be in a better competitive position", explains Thomas Schulte-Brinker, Managing Director of BECKTRONIC GmbH. The company, based in Weitefeld, is a long-standing specialist in the production of precise SMD stencils made of stainless steel or nickel materials. "We see ourselves not only as a manufacturer of precision stencils, but, or perhaps even more importantly, as a partner to our customers. That is why our team has been working impressively over the last few months on what contribution it can make to help our customers from the EMS, OEM and E²MS sectors to successfully overcome the crisis", Schulte-Brinker continues. With its comprehensive expertise in solder paste and adhesive printing as well as the production of high-precision stencils for LTCC and wafer applications, BECKTRONIC GmbH provides solutions for PCB assembly and technical printing for its customers in Germany and throughout Europe.

Overcoming limits with the right SMD stencil

For the production of each individual SMD stencil, BECKTRONIC GmbH uses high-quality stainless steel and nickel materials, consisting of special alloys that are particularly suitable for the laser cutting process. But not all requirements can be solved (cost-)efficiently with simple SMD stencils. Special applications require unique product solutions: Step stencils can be a good solution when it is necessary to paste printed circuit boards that have a large component mix of small and large components, such as BGA, μBGA, capacitors and connectors. But also, special solutions in the field of multistep stencils are in demand. "One example here is the oversized step stencil, which enables segmented printing of oversized PCBs, such as those used in LED production. Their use results in a remarkable effort and cost reduction, even with relatively small quantities of printed circuit boards", explains Claudia Müller, Sales of BECKTRONIC GmbH. "It is not yet clear when there will be a return to normality. Manufacturing companies should see this time as an opportunity to rethink their value-added chains and invest in the optimization of their processes. With our solutions for SMD stencils and the production of precision stencils for technical printing, we offer reliable tools for electronics production designed for maximum efficiency," concludes Müller.

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