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Guest Editor Kelly Dack recently spoke with Mike Meyer, senior business development manager for CMK Americas, which specializes in manufacturing PCBs for the automotive sector. In this interview, they discuss CMK’s latest developments, trends in the global automotive market, and why they plan to expand their facility in Thailand.
Kelly Dack: Mike, nice to meet you. Tell us a little about CMK. What’s your sweet spot?
Mike Meyer: Absolutely. We are a Japanese-based printed circuit board manufacturer. Our headquarters are in Tokyo. We have manufacturing locations in Japan, China, and Thailand. We're primarily automotive-based. About 80% of our business is in the automotive industry.
Dack: Let's zoom in on the automotive industry. What are some special considerations for automotive PCBs?
Meyer: Well, quality and reliability are two of the requirements if you want to be a PCB supplier in the automotive industry. Also, you really need a global presence and the ability to support other types of initiatives like warehousing and things like that. This is something that we're really pretty good at. Very few people know that CMK is actually one of the world's largest automotive printed circuit board companies. That's because up until now, we’ve primarily done business with other Japanese automotive electronics companies. So what we're trying to do now is to start to expand that into non-Japanese car companies as well.
Dack: How about capability? Designers are always asking about capabilities.
Meyer: Sure. The bulk of our business is your standard multilayer, HDI, 10-layer, 12-layer, and 3-N-3 type product, which is typically going into your automotive applications. But we do have some capabilities like rigid-flex, metal-bonded boards and things like that for thermal management that we're able to do as well.
Dack: Very good. Now, why Thailand?
Meyer: When you consider what's happening right now on a global basis, we're very strategically located—not only in Japan and China, but also in Thailand. In fact, Thailand is the location where we're anticipating the most growth. In fact, it's public knowledge already that we are planning to expand that facility in anticipation of folks wanting to explore options outside of China.
Dack: That's the way it's going, right?
Meyer: Yes, it is. If you pay attention to the news and what's happening in the industry, there's a lot of interest in Thailand. In fact, we know that some other printed circuit board manufacturers are interested in moving into that region. We believe we have an advantage because we've been there since 2007. We’re very well established there and have a great facility which is very capable and, quite frankly, it will soon have a lot more capacity.
Dack: Thanks for speaking with me, Mike.
Meyer: Thank you. I appreciate it.