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Shipments of rigid and flexible printed circuit boards increased 4.3 percent in January compared to January 2010, but new orders for boards declined 6.5 percent, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC).
The combined industry book-to-bill ratio in January 2011 was 0.97, up slightly from 0.96 in December 2010. A book-to-bill ratio of 0.97 means that for every $100 of orders that shipped in January, board manufacturers received only $97 in new orders.
"Both rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales followed normal seasonal patterns in January, with rigid sales decreasing and flex sales rebounding," said IPC President and CEO Denny McGuirk. He noted that orders lag sales by a small margin.
Rigid PCB shipments were up 3.7 percent and bookings decreased 7.7 percent in January 2011 from January 2010. Flexible circuit shipments in January 2011 were up 10.7 percent, while bookings were up 5.3 percent compared to January 2010.
The good news is that shipments in both segments are still ahead of the same month last year and the numbers look stable, said McGuirk.
Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 89 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC's World PCB Production Report.Board book-to-bill inches upward