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Shipments and New Orders for Rigid Boards and Flexible Circuits Rise


Combined shipments of rigid printed circuit boards and flexible circuits increased 13.7 percent in August compared to the month before, according to the trade group Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC). Bookings, or new orders, of boards increased 14.3 percent in August compared to July.

Year to date, combined industry shipments of rigid PCBs and flexible circuits were up 1.5 percent although bookings declined 8.5 percent, IPC reported. Compared to August 2010, combined shipments of rigid boards and flexible circuits fell 4.4 percent, while bookings decreased 8 percent.


The book-to-bill ratio for rigid printed circuit boards and flexible circuits increased for the fifth straight month.
The book-to-bill ratio for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined was 1.02 in August compared to 1.01 in July. A book-to-bill ratio of 1.02 means that board manufacturers received $102 of new orders for every $100 of boards they shipped in the month. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next two to three months, according to IPC.

“The book-to-bill ratio has been trending upward for the past five months which suggests that sales should hold up through the rest of this year,” said IPC president and CEO Denny McGuirk.

Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 13.7 percent and rigid bookings increased 15.4 percent. Shipments of rigid boards declined 4.2 percent and bookings dropped 6.5 percent in August 2011 from August 2010. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments increased 1.5 percent while bookings declined 9.6 percent, reported IPC.

Flexible circuit shipments increased 14 percent and bookings were up 3.2 percent in August compared to July. However, flexible circuit shipments in August 2011 were down 6.5 percent and bookings declined 21.4 percent compared to August 2010. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 1.9 percent and bookings increased 3.6 percent.

Rigid printed circuit boards account for about 78 percent of shipments while flexible circuits account for the rest. Flexible circuit sales include value-added services such as assembly, in addition to the bare flex circuits.

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