Surface Mount Technology (SMT) screen printers are used to print solder paste on to a surface mount assembly forming the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with the use of a metal mesh or stencils. It is a vital and initial part of the SMT process of every electronic device. The SMT screen printers are broadly classified into three main sub-segments based on their technology: manual SMT screen printers, semi-automated SMT screen printers, and fully automated screen printers. Even though there is not as much of technology development in screen printers, there is high end-user demand from various industries such as consumer electronics, automotive, telecommunication, and so on, that has bolstered the growth of screen printers. An increasing number of customers are upgrading their shop floor with fully automated screen printers with advanced software platforms and faster cycle time to process. Electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers are increasing the number of SMT equipment product lines in order to meet the growing demand from customers across different industry verticals, and this has bolstered the growth of screen printers. In addition, many original design manufacturers (ODMs) have also started manufacturing units, rather than just designing equipment, in order to overcome the increasing competition from EMS providers. This, in turn, has increased the demand for screen printers.

Furthermore, in recent years the increasing complexity of electronic assembly and miniaturization of components have bolstered the demand for SMT screen printers and dispenser equipment. The market has experienced strong demand and growth opportunity with the introduction of wearables, smart factories, and electronic devices used in the Internet of Things (IoT). SMT screen printer equipment plays a major and almost hidden role in achieving flawless implementation of smart environment and development of the state-of-the-art embedded systems, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), global Ethernet networks & IP technology, novel service architectures, and process controllers. This market has attracted many SMT manufacturers and OEMs as it has a huge potential.

SMT dispensing equipment is used to transfer adhesives of required height and thickness onto the PCB’s solder mask for holding the components until they are soldered. The three traditional ways of dispensing adhesives in a chronological order are: Time and Pressure System, Auger Pump, and Piston Pump. In mass production, the manufacturers consider glue dispensing to be a bottleneck process as it hinders the entire process. Thus the manufacturers find screen printers as an alternative for the same work with high efficiency and faster processing speed. These two types of SMT equipment can be placed at opposite ends of the growth spectrum, as screen printers are expected to enjoy a steady and higher growth rate than glue dispensers during the forecast period. This is primarily due to an increasing preference for screen printers over glue dispensers. The advantages of using screen printers over glue dispensers are more control over the dot size, ability to determine the shape and profile of the dot, and dot placement accuracy. Moreover, the number of missing components is greatly reduced. The manufacturers prefer to eliminate the glue dispenser equipment from the assembly line, which, in turn, reduces machine cost, training time, maintenance, operations, and others. The Chinese market, which accounts for the largest market share, is replacing its glue dispensers with screen printers for the high-volume low-mix production, thus eating into the market share of glue dispensers. Even though the SMT glue dispenser market growth rate is experiencing a downward trend, the revenue generated by this market is increasing at a slow rate. This is because the need for glue dispensers is inevitable in complex PCB board manufacturing.


get-data.jpgFor any queries related to this article, please contact the author Viswam Sathiyanarayanan at viswams@frost.com.
There is an increased demand for integrated solutions as a result of the trend towards fully automated control solutions. Therefore, the customers demand for one-stop machines or have shifted from using individual machines for manufacturing purposes to overcome competition and being self-equipped with SMT equipment. In such a scenario, screen printers will be preferred for the assembly line, as they can be used for glue dispensing as well as solder paste dispensing. In addition, the revolutionary change in SMT screen printers started with manual SMT screen printers; after years of R&D, semi-and fully-automated SMT screen printers were developed. For decades, SMT screen printers have been the only solution for precise solder paste printing. However, in recent years OEMs have come up with solder paste jet printing technology which has disrupted the whole SMT screen printer and dispenser market.

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Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

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