Schmid Group Aims for Listing on NYSE
FRANKFURT – Schmid Group plans to list in New York via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a deal estimated to give the technology firm a valuation of $640 million.
The fifth-generation family-owned business, which specializes in electronics, would become a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange in the fourth quarter this year.
The transaction will be through blank-check company Pegasus Digital Mobility Acquisition Corp. led by Ralf Speth, the company said in a statement.
“We have been considering this step for some time and see the NYSE and the US capital markets as much more suitable for a technology company,” CEO Christian Schmid told Reuters.
Founded as an iron foundry in 1864 and headquartered in Freudenstadt, Germany, Schmid has more than 800 employees and develops equipment and manufacturing processes for printed circuit boards, as well as technology for industries including renewable power and energy storage.
The Schmid family will maintain majority ownership and management positions following the potential merger.
AT&S Celebrates Plant Construction Milestones
LEOBEN, AUSTRIA – The exterior shell of AT&S’ new R&D and IC substrate center here has been erected just 14 months after groundbreaking, and the company’s new plant in Kulim, Malaysia, has also reached a significant milestone with the completion of the facility’s construction and installation of the first systems.
When complete, the company’s €500 million ($537 million) plant in Leoben will include 11,000 sq. m. of clean room production area, and the gross floor area is 39,000 sq. m. (420,000 sq. ft.).
Once the project is complete in 2024, the facility will be the first in Europe to produce IC substrates – essential for future-oriented applications in microelectronics.
“It is something unique in and for Europe to set up this technology outside of Asia and to bring an IC substrate production of this dimension to the western world for the first time,” said project manager Nikolaus Bauer-Oeppinger. “We are right on target with the construction site planned and parallel to the final outdoor work, we started bringing in the first production machines in April. Nothing stands in the way of the early start of qualification, so that our customer portfolio can be broadened and our customers can be supplied even faster and better.”
In Kulim, AT&S top management recently celebrated the completion of another new plant and the installation of its first systems. The construction of a second plant has also been completed, and the start of production there will depend on the development of the market.
The Kulim project will have a clean room area of 120,000 sq. m., with production set to begin next fall.
“I am very pleased that we were able to achieve these two important milestones within 15 months after the groundbreaking – a great success after facing enormous challenges in the areas of health (pandemic), Resources and logistics had to be managed,” said Ingolf Schröder, executive vice president of the AT&S microelectronics business unit.
“The construction of such a large plant was mainly possible thanks to a pool of experienced experts and a mature electrics and electronics ecosystem,” said Vittorio Villari, managing director, AT&S Malaysia. “AT&S works with multinational companies that have been operating in Malaysia for more than 50 years, as well as our own future-oriented technology for high-quality IC substrates.”
Element Solutions Acquires Copper Nanotech Developer
MIAMI, FL – Element Solutions in June announced the acquisition of Kuprion, a developer of nano-copper technology for the semiconductor, circuit board and electronics assembly markets.
Kuprion’s ActiveCopper technology addresses effects of thermal expansion in a host of growth applications, including electric vehicles, high frequency 5G networks, IC substrate manufacturing, advanced packaging, mission-critical aerospace and defense systems, and datacenters.
Element Solutions, the parent of MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, said the acquisition has been structured with an upfront payment and potential earn-out payments based on milestones associated with product qualification and revenue over several years.
“The current weakness in the electronics sector represents an attractive opportunity to invest and position ourselves for the inevitable recovery,” said Benjamin Gliklich, president and CEO, Element Solutions. “Our acquisition of Kuprion brings another highly-differentiated capability to our portfolio together with the world-class R&D and applications team who developed it. Their technology is designed to solve the increasingly difficult challenges associated with thermal management and adhesion in leading-edge electronics. We believe this represents industry-changing technology with broad applications across our portfolio, from semiconductor packaging to IC substrate metallization and electronics assembly. Combining Kuprion’s solutions and technical capability, already sought after by many of our largest customers, with our breadth of sales, service and applications expertise will create tremendous growth opportunities.”
Altair Survey Finds Friction Points for Enterprise AI and Data Projects
TROY, MI – A survey by Altair found high rates of adoption and implementation of organizational data and AI strategies globally, but also found that project successes suffer due to three main types of friction: organizational, technological, and financial.
“Organizations today recognize the imperative of using their data as a strategic asset to create competitive advantages,” said James R. Scapa, founder and chief executive, Altair. “But friction points clearly exist around people, technology, and investment preventing organizations from gaining the data-driven insights needed to deliver results. To achieve what we call ‘Frictionless AI,’ businesses must make the shift to self-service data analytics tools that empower non-technical users to work easily and cost-effectively across complex technology systems and avoid the friction inhibiting them from moving forward.”
The independent survey of more than 2,000 professionals in 10 countries and multiple industries showed a high failure rate of AI and data analytics projects (between 36% and 56%) where friction between organizational departments exists.
Overall, the survey identified organizational, technological and financial friction as the main culprits hindering data and AI project success. The survey cited the talent gap as a significant cause of friction as organizations struggle to fill data science roles.
- 75% of respondents say they struggle to find enough data science talent
- 35% say AI literacy is low among the majority of their workforce
- 58% say the shortage of talent and the time it takes to upskill current employees is the most prevalent problem in their AI strategy adoption.
More than half of respondents say their organization often faces technical limitations that are slowing data and AI initiatives. And almost two-thirds said their organization tends to make working with AI-driven data tools more complicated than it needs to be.
Finally, despite organizations’ desire to scale their data and AI strategies, teams and individuals keep hitting financial obstacles. Some 25% of respondents cited financial constraints are negatively affecting AI initiatives within their organization, with 28% calling leadership too focused on upfront costs.
Still, organizations across industries and geographic regions using AI persist despite high project failure rates. Despite AI project failures, organizations continue to use AI because they believe the opportunity exists to level up capabilities or services in the long run (78%) and its minor successes have shown potential for long-term breakthroughs (54%).
To read the full Frictionless AI Global Survey Report, visit https://altair.com/frictionless-ai.
Zhen Ding Building $700M Headquarters in Taiwan
TAOYUAN, TAIWAN – Zhen Ding will invest 5 billion yuan ($701 million) to build a 14,000 sq. m. green energy headquarters here.
The new facility will be located near the Taoyuan Qingpu High-Speed Railway Station and will be the new home for the PCB maker. Zhen Ding has been the global leader for PCB production for the past six years, and Taoyuan’s PCB production value accounts for 29% of the world’s total production and 84% of Taiwan’s.
Zhen Ding chairman Shen Qingfang said the company has been expanding its production capacity in mainland China due to the unavailability of suitable land in Taiwan, but the new headquarters will permit the company to make an investment in his hometown of Taoyuan.
“The establishment of the Taiwanese headquarters will enable easier employee travel to and from major production bases, improve communication between the group’s plants, increase investment in various plant areas in Taiwan, and encourage related supply chain manufacturers to cluster together for greater efficiency,” he said.
Ventec to Build New Factory in Southeast Asia
SUZHOU, CHINA – Ventec International announced plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia by 2025/26 to extend its manufacturing capabilities beyond China and Taiwan and enhance global supply chain resiliency.
The new factory will duplicate manufacturing capability for Ventec’s full range of high-reliability and high-performance products and mitigate supply chain risks for PCB manufacturers, OEMs and EMS companies across all regions by adding geographical diversity to the company’s operations, Ventec said in a release.
“Now is the right time to invest in establishing a local manufacturing presence to support the expanding southeast Asian electronics industry, which is experiencing significant growth across consumer, industrial, and automotive sectors,” said Ventec CEO Jason Chung. “Moreover, this new factory will enhance our global supply chain security promise to our global PCB and OEM customer base as we plan to manufacture the complete portfolio of advanced high-reliability and high-performance materials.”
Aohong Electronics Commits $84M to Thai PCB Plant
CHANGZHOU, CHINA – Aohong Electronics has announced plans to spend as much as 600 million yuan ($83.7 million) building a new PCB fabrication plant in Thailand.
The project, set to be constructed in an industrial park in the Prachin Buri province, will be built in phases and aim for mass production to start in 2026, the company said.
Aohong has two production bases in China with a total annual output of 4 million sq. m. of PCBs for home appliances, consumer electronics, power sources, network communications, and vehicle electronics for clients that include LG Electronics, Whirlpool and General Electric.
The Prachin Buri project will enhance Aohong’s core competitiveness by better serving existing and potential key clients and lowering production costs, the company added.
Icape Group Acquires German PCB Distributor HLT
FONTENAY-AUX-ROSES, FRANCE – Icape Group has acquired the operating assets of HLT, a German PCB distributor that generated revenue of €4.1 million ($4.4 million) in 2022.
HLT, based in Baden-Württemberg, a state known for its automotive industry, supplies PCB to around 50 well-known customers in various sectors, such as automotive, home automation, telecommunications, aerospace and medical. HLT has a network of six strategic suppliers and its own logistics capabilities, providing a range of high value-added services in high-mix low-volume markets.
The acquisition was carried out by the subsidiary Icape Deutschland GmbH and is financed 100% in cash.
In a release announcing the acquisition, Icape Group said HLT’s operating assets will strengthen its position as a leading player in one of the major markets for PCB distribution in Europe and worldwide. The acquisition will also consolidate and optimize the global network structured by Icape Group, offering a significant value creation potential.
“We are enthusiastic to strengthen our position in Germany through the acquisition of HLT’s operating assets,” said Cyril Calvignac, CEO, Icape Group. “Its highly skilled team works daily for some of the biggest names in the industry and their expertise will be a great asset to our development in this mature market. HLT’s values, focused on high value-added service quality, match ours perfectly. We are confident that many synergies will arise from the combination of our know-how, particularly at the local level.”
“By joining the Icape Group, we are partnering with a world leader in PCB distribution, whose purchasing power, supplier network and logistics platform will enable us to deliver an even more differentiated service to our customers,” said Ralf Heissenberger, managing director, HLT. “We look forward to working with the group’s teams, both in Germany and internationally, to leverage all the synergies that can be deployed between our two structures.
Siemens Allocates $2.2B in New Manufacturing Capacity
MUNICH – Siemens will invest €2 billion ($2.2 billion) to expand its manufacturing in Asia, including a new plant in Singapore and a capacity expansion at a factory in China, to meet rising demand in the region.
In Chengdu, the conglomerate will spend up to €140 million to expand the site, which makes factory automation products. Likewise, the Singapore investment of €200 million will result in a new facility for producing factory automation devices.
ECIA GIPC Launches 2-D Barcode Review
ATLANTA – ECIA’s Global Industry Practices Committee has launched a five-year review of its 2-D Barcode Specification, which published its last revision in 2018 to continue guiding the industry on the use and value of this technology for product identification labeling.
Concurrent with the publication of the specification, ECIA launched new initiatives to promote the use of this technology throughout the electronic component channel, and over the past decade there has been widespread adoption, substantially improving the efficiency of the end-to-end order process.
The five-year review process began on May 11, and consists of reviewing and updating the entire 44-page document line by line. The SME (Subject Matter Expert) work group includes nearly 20 companies representing a broad range of ECIA member component distributors and manufacturers. They will meet bi-weekly until the task is complete. Once the specification is updated, it will be submitted to ECIA’s standards team to convert the specification into an official industry standard.
“ECIA’s 2-D Barcode Specification has now been widely adopted by the industry because it dramatically improves the efficiency of the end-to-end order process. But a lot has happened in the last five years and it’s important to keep this document current,” said Don Elario, vice president of industry practices, ECIA. “After applying requirement changes, industry best practices and reaching the international adoption levels we have, it’s now time we convert this labeling specification to an ECIA (EIA) standard.”
JEDEC Publishes Major Update to JEP30 PartModel Guidelines
ARLINGTON, VA – JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has announced significant updates to the JEP30 PartModel Guidelines, including all reference documents and related XML Schema files. JEP30 and its constituent documents are available for free download from the JEDEC website.
JEP30 establishes requirements for the frictionless digital exchange of part data between part manufacturers and their end customers responsible for electrical and electronic products creation. The JEP30 guidelines define a standardized format that can be efficiently consumed across different CAD tools and environments. By defining a common framework for part model creation and verification and helping to ensure different tools can accurately interpret and utilize the models created by the full spectrum of part manufacturers, JEP30 offers a transformative resource for both component manufacturers and designers.
The updated JEP30 part model guidelines can be used to define the digital twin of a part with the detail to enable significant process efficiencies throughout the part and product life cycles, including design, manufacturing, quality control, test, material declaration, and supply chain.
“The JEP30 PartModel is truly a disruptive technology that will revolutionize the way system design companies develop and manufacture their products by enabling the automation of manually intensive functions, prone to human error, that are prevalent in today’s electronics design environment,” said Michael Durkan, JEDEC task group chair and PartModel sponsor. “The PartModel is a secure, trusted digital container provided by component manufacturers that will streamline the design process by eliminating dependencies and establish integrity of part information at every step of a product’s lifecycle.”
For all forms of electronic parts, JEP30 guidelines define the XML structure for the assembly process classification, electrical, physical, thermal, material declaration, and supply chain characteristics including product change notices and product discontinuance. The guidelines are designed to be completely scalable to cover components available on the market today as well as new parts that emerge in the future.
“The increasing speed of innovation have mandated new technologies along the systems value chain to keep pace,” said Mian Quddus, chairman of the JEDEC board. “The enablement of component manufacturers to create standardized digital part models that can be easily used by designers and engineers in all varieties of electronic systems, will help propel an industry forward with next-level digitalization and automation.”
New PCB Assembler Launches in Quebec
QUEBEC – Fabrique Manic, a provider of PCB assembly services has opened here. Located in St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, just outside of Quebec City, the company was founded by two colleagues from the tech industry.
Dominic Gauvreau, president – electronic design and assembly, and Olivier Morin, vice president – business development, aim to deliver solutions that alleviate complexities and delays of the physical product production cycle. The firm offers electronic design and consultation, and manages rapid prototyping, including three-day turnarounds (upon receipt of parts). PCB-related assembly services include mechanical assembly, firmware programming, board modifications and more.
Prior to launching Fabrique Manic, Gauvreau worked full time at Orisha Automation as a hardware/firmware developer while performing consultation work part-time as an electronics designer, and Morin worked at UgoWork, a tech company in Quebec City that offers EaaS (energy as a service) with lithium-ion batteries to power forklifts.
Fabrique Manic also provides product testing, backed by strong quality control procedures using optical inspection, and the firm manages cable and housing assembly to accommodate some clients.
Incap Inaugurates 3rd Factory in India
TUMKUR, INDIA – Incap recently celebrated the opening of a new 26,500 sq. m. factory in India – its third in the country.
The Tumkur factory specializes in manufacturing electronics and box-build products, and features machinery suitable for common component technologies. Together with its location and skilled personnel, the company can provide high-quality manufacturing services to meet the most demanding customer needs, Incap said.
“Looking ahead, the EMS industry holds a promising future,” said Otto Pukk, president and CEO. “Therefore, we maintain our dedication to investing actively in our operations and fostering their development. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our exceptional team in India whose collective efforts have played a crucial part in establishing our new factory.”
Incap India’s managing director Murthy Munipalli said the factory has been designed to be sustainable and to provide a modern work environment.
“Incap’s third factory in India has been carried out in line with sustainable building principles, paying special attention to efficient use of energy and water,” he said.
The new factory was built to provide a comfortable working area with sufficient lighting and air ventilation, optimized space utilization and an easy emergency rescue route plan. Once installed, solar panels on the roof will provide renewable energy to the facility. In addition to environmentally friendly energy solutions, the factory also includes a new wastewater treatment facility. The new facility will help to purify water and preserve freshwater resources by using treated wastewater for other purposes, such as flushing, gardening and landscaping.
Rapid Manufacturing Unveils Kulim Expansion
KULIM, MALAYSIA – Rapid Manufacturing has announced a new facility here to serve the aerospace, telecommunication, medical, semiconductor, automotive and industrial automation sectors, as well as house a regional center to set up a center of excellence.
The company made the announcement in a joint statement with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).
Rapid Manufacturing subsidiary RPD MFG Connectivity managing director Yogendran Krishnamurthy said the company’s investment is expected to create an estimated 2,000 jobs locally, including at least 500 high-income jobs.
COO Luis Espinoza said the company’s key priorities are its commitment to hire and train local talent, as well as to enhance its vendor-development programs to provide adequate opportunities to local vendors.
MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman said Rapid Manufacturing’s expansion of its production facility underscores the long-term global demand for its products.
“Malaysia is well positioned to capitalize on these opportunities,” he said. “By leveraging the country’s comprehensive electrical and electronics (E&E) ecosystem and our mature semiconductor supply chain, the new facility is expected to have a positive impact on job creation, benefiting the local community while enhancing the country’s supply chain to meet the rapidly changing requirements of the E&E industry.”
NCIA chief executive Mohamad Haris Kader Sultan said NCIA is committed to attracting and facilitating high-value investments in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) which includes the states of Kedah, Perlis, Penang and Perak. He said Rapid Manufacturing’s investments in Kedah and Penang will considerably strengthen the supply chain ecosystem to support the activities of the E&E, machinery and equipment, medical technology and devices, telecommunication, automotive and aerospace industries within NCER.
“With the facilitation by NCIA via its various NCER incentives, it is confident that more companies will follow suit and invest in NCER, driving sustainable economic growth and creating job opportunities for the local community,” he said.
Escatec Builds New Production Facility in Bulgaria
PLOVDIV, BULGARIA – Escatec has opened a new production facility here to meet an increasing demand for nearshoring production in Europe.
The 4,000 sq. m. facility is already operational to vertically integrate plastic molding and electronics assembly to support the company’s production commitments in Europe, and Escatec said it is willing to expand capacity and capabilities at this new facility as order volumes pick up.
“Escatec Bulgaria is an important new site in Escatec’s portfolio as we move to complete our global manufacturing footprint. Customers of Escatec can expect that we deliver a best-value solution, regardless of region, as we continue to harness the benefits of our multi-site strategy,” said Charles-Alexandre Albin, Escatec’s executive director and director of strategic development.
Escatec’s customer base largely consists of major OEM brands based in Europe and North America, and the company’s production network now comprises of two facilities each in Penang and Johor Bahru, Malaysia; two in Chomutov in the Czech Republic; one in Lutterworth in the United Kingdom; an advanced production facility in Heerbrugg, Switzerland; and the latest facility in Bulgaria. The company also operates a design & development (D&D) center in Switzerland and has strategic partnerships in Croatia and the US.
Over the long-term, Escatec Bulgaria could become the company’s main production facility in Europe for plastic molding and electronics assembly, due to Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union and Plovdiv’s strategic location, sizeable population, its large industrial base, and its transport links providing convenient access to the wider European market, Albin said.
“Escatec remains committed to expanding its global production footprint and capabilities to cater to customers that are in the process of bringing new technologies and products to market,” he said. “Across the group, Escatec offers a complete and integrated value chain of EMS services, from D&D to product certification to mass manufacturing and after-sales services, ranging across electronics, electro-mechanical, MOEMS, box-build and plastic molding.”
Compal Building New Vietnamese Plant
THAI BINH PROVINCE, VIETNAM – Compal Electronics has purchased a $30 million plot of land in Vietnam to build a new plant and expand production capacity.
The Taiwanese firm’s Vietnamese subsidiary leased a 40-hectare plot in the Lien Ha Thai Industrial Park in Thai Binh province, Compal said in a stock exchange filing. Compal is already producing Apple products in Vietnam, with factories in Vinh Phuc, on top of its major production sites in China’s Chongqing and Jiangsu as well as Thailand’s Phetchaburi, according to Apple’s latest supplier list.
Ekkaa Electronics Shifting to Consumer Electronics Production
SONIPAT, INDIA – Ekkaa Electronics has announced plans to build a new factory in Noida, India, that will produce LED TVs and other consumer electronics products like washing machines, smartwatches and hearables.
The company said it will be investing INR1,000 crores ($122 million) in the new manufacturing unit, and the construction of the facility will mark a shift for the company from assembly to core manufacturing of consumer electronic products. With the growing demand for exports out of India, Ekkaa will soon launch an export arm as well.
“Out of the proposed investment of INR1,000 crores, 40% has already been aligned for land acquisition, construction, working capital, manufacturing, and R&D. The remainder of the investment will be spaced out over six months toward R&D, machinery and others. The infusion of funds will be a continuous process as we are not only increasing production capacity but also expanding our product lines,” said Ekkaa director Sagar Gupta. “The new facility at Noida will have an initial capacity to manufacture 500,000 units of LED TVs per month, which will make the plant the largest facility in terms of capacity in the country with the potential to ramp it up to 800,000 to 900,000 units per month in the next three years. The new facility will have a workforce of 1,500 employees, with plans to ramp to 3,000 over three years.”
Ekka currently caters to 150 pan-India and regional brands and exports to neighboring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Bahrain, but the new facility and product lines will enable it to export to countries in Africa, the Gulf nations eventually to Europe and the US, the company said.
“In our current manufacturing facility at Sonipat, we make motherboards and plastic injection molding for the LED TVs,” Gupta said. “However, going forward in the new plant, replete with machines like metal presses, backlight manufacturing facility for LED TVs, we have done a complete in-house integration comprising of design and manufacturing capabilities and marching toward core manufacturing of consumer electronics products.”