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While orders for boards increased in August, the book- to-bill ratio for printed circuit boards and flexible circuits combined dropped slightly to 1.00.Combined shipments of rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs) and flexible circuits in August increased 6.6 percent compared to July, while bookings (new orders) rose 14.1 percent, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC).
However, shipments and new orders of PCBs and flexible circuits were flat in August 2012 compared to August 2011. Year to date, combined industry shipments were down 4.6 percent and bookings were up 0.2 percent.
The book-to-bill ratio for boards and flexible circuits combined was 1.00, down slightly from 1.01 in July. A book-to-bill ratio of 1.00 means that board manufacturers received $100 of new orders for every $100 of boards that they shipped in July.
“Both rigid PCB and flexible circuit orders in August showed solid growth over the prior month, but weak flexible circuit orders over the past two months caused a decrease in the book-to-bill ratio,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research.
Flexible circuit shipments in August 2012 increased 1.7 percent and bookings declined 14.7 percent compared to August 2011. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments fell 3.4 percent and bookings dropped 8.5 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments rose 0.3 percent and bookings were up 13.8 percent.
Rigid PCB shipments dropped 0.1 percent in August 2012 from August 2011, while bookings increased 1.3 percent year over year. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments fell 4.7 percent, but bookings increased 1.1 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments were up 7.2 percent and rigid bookings increased 14.1 percent.
The book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid PCB segment. Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 90 percent of the PCB industry in North America, according to IPC.