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Despite current stability and positive sales growth in the circuit board industry, it must be presumed that consolidation has not yet come to an end. Circuit board manufacturers are facing enormous price erosion caused by Asian circuit boards, as well as rising manufacturing costs in Europe and generally intense global competition. Reliability, investment in new technologies and manufacturing processes, and innovation are the key to future success.
Since the beginning of the year, Würth Elektronik and FELA, both circuit board manufacturers from Baden-Württemberg/Germany, have been collaborating on the development of digitalization of circuit board technology. The visionary approach of 3D-printing solder masks offers brand new possibilities for miniaturization and a technological quantum leap in the realm of circuit board manufacture. It is expected to bring about not only economic success, but also long-term security for local production plants in Germany.
“Working together successfully to make something happen can only be done through honest and equal partnership. We SMEs still see a lot of value in a handshake. We work on research and development on an equal footing– it's a ‘win-win’ situation for both companies,” says Norbert Krütt, FELA’s managing director.
FELA and Würth Elektronik are reinforcing their ability to innovate and pooling their resources and expertise. Together as partners, they are taking on the latest technical developments and customer requirements, in order to shape these in a sustainable way. As well as sharing findings and covering a wider spectrum of research, it takes less time for concepts to be firmly integrated into the process chain. Collaboration takes place at every level - from company management and research departments to joint communications.
Andreas Gimmer, managing director of Würth Elektronik in Schopfheim, is delighted: “We know our industry and know where other companies on the market excel. As well as a personal relationship of many years’ standing, the partnership with FELA is based on both companies’ passion for innovation, with the aim of securing sites strategically using future-forward technologies.”
According to the latest research findings, clear advantages in the area of assembly are emerging. The possibilities for implementing individual customer requirements are very promising.
About Würth Elektronik Circuit Board Technology (CBT)
Würth Elektronik Circuit Board Technology was founded in 1971 and has established itself as one of the leading PCB manufacturers in Europe. Developers are able get standard circuit boards, new and innovative technologies and even complete system solutions all from one source. Here at Würth Elektronik, we cover the entire product life cycle, from the initial idea for a design, for example during early R&D projects, to the production of prototypes on the online shop WEdirekt and finally, manufacturing of medium and large volumes in Germany or Asia. Knowledgeable specialists are not just located at our German plants. Internationalization is an important strategic aspect for Würth Elektronik. We have numerous sales teams set up across many European countries.
Every day more than 120 new PCB designs enter our production. We have over 4,000 customers, ranging from large corporations to one-man designers. In addition to the personal care provided through our dense network of over 100 internal and external sales people, customers also have the option to purchase printed circuit boards online through the easy to use online shop, WEdirekt.
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About FELA GmbH
FELA is one of the five largest circuit board manufacturers in Germany and has made the leap from simple contract manufacturer to innovative system provider. “Help us shape the future!” - with this motto, FELA GmbH is a fixture on today’s market.
FELA, a private, independent medium-sized enterprise based in the southern Black Forest with a 165-strong workforce, generated sales of €23.6m in 2016. The company has its headquarters in Villingen Schwenningen and an additional distribution centre in Solingen. As well as manufacturing and selling FR4-based circuit boards, other mainstays of the company’s activities include manufacturing capacitive glass input systems with the brand name FELAM GLASLINE and, as a technological leader, FELAM THERMOLINE technology, IMS circuit boards and systems for aluminium or copper-based power LED applications.