In the intergenerational upgrade of 10 years, 5G brings PCB/CCL demand and added value. China’s IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group has proposed 5G “five key technologies”, and the ecosystem of the wireless access network device industry has undergone major changes.

  1. 5G radio will introduce Massive MIMO (large-scale antenna array) technology, and the number of 5G base stations will increase significantly compared with 4G. We estimate that 2/3 of the mobile communication base station antenna output value will be transferred to the PCB board industry chain, so we estimate only The value of high-frequency PCB/clad laminates for 5G base station antennas will be more than 10 times that of 4G.
  2. 5G networks will carry more bandwidth traffic, and investment in routers, switches, IDCs, etc. will increase, and the demand for high-speed PCB/CCL will also increase significantly. In addition to increased demand, high-performance equipment will use higher-value (high-frequency (antenna)) high-speed (IDC/base station) board materials with higher added value, which will bring double value added and consumption in the PCB/CCL industry chain.

5G communication equipment will be the core driving force of the PCB industry in the next three years. The PCB industry has entered a mature stage, and the traditional application market is saturated. The key to growth depends on the emerging segments of the downstream.

car and 5g

Prismark believes that automotive and communications equipment will take over consumer electronics and become the new engine for industry growth in the next five years. Regardless of automotive electronics or communications equipment, manufacturers will directly certify the upstream materials of the equipment. The automotive smart driving and new energy vehicle market has grown rapidly in recent years. Automobile intelligentization, entertainment and informationization are inevitable trends. With the increasing complexity of functions such as intelligent and entertaining automobiles, the demand for PCB usage (layer number) and quality of traditional automobiles that are not electronically high is increasing. According to IC Insights, the global automotive and other vehicle IC market will maintain a rapid growth rate of 16% in 2018. But the automotive board market has higher certification thresholds, especially high value-added core components such as ADAS and energy management.

High-grade ADAS systems will be equipped with more PCBs to meet demand. From the perspective of major smart car competitors (such as Google, Baidu, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, GM, FAW, etc.), smart cars are expected to be successfully commercialized around 2020. In recent years, the penetration rate of ADAS system in automobiles is increasing. According to Analysys, the market of ADAS system will grow at a rate of more than 20%. By 2020, the size of China’s smart driving market is expected to reach 120 billion yuan.

The downstream equipment manufacturers in China’s communications field have realized the transition from followers to leaders in the 5G era. 5G is expected to achieve higher-end high-frequency upstream. / Localization of high speed board materials. We believe that communication PCB will be the core driving force for industry growth in the next three years.

5G brings opportunities for localization of high-end materials, from cycle to growth. CCL is the main material for PCB manufacturing. CCL products are divided into traditional products and high-end products. Traditional products are mainly epoxy fiberglass cloth products (FR-4 and modified FR-4) and simple composite materials (CEM-1, CEM-3), which have the largest output, but low added value, current production capacity. Basically, it has been transferred from Europe, America and Japan to mainland China; the output value of CCL in China has accounted for 65% of the world, and the further increase in the market share of domestic manufacturers is a general trend.

At the same time, high value-added special materials CCL is still monopolized by foreign companies such as Rogers, Taikangli and Panasonic. Special material copper clad laminates generally refer to copper clad laminates made of special resin fillers in a certain proportion. The main filling materials include polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE, and hydrocarbon, PPE / CE and so on. The special material CCL has a high added value and is several times more expensive than the traditional FR-4 product, so it is basically not affected by the cyclical fluctuation of the raw materials. Because of the surge in demand in the future of 5G and automotive electronics, high-end manufacturers can share the dividends of downstream emerging areas. In the 5G era, domestic companies with high-end product production capacity are expected to gradually break through the monopoly of foreign capital, dilute the original cycle attributes, and ushered in double improvement in performance and valuation.

5G equipment PCB is determined by “process + material”. Upstream high-end materials are important, but process and design have a big impact on the final performance of PCB finished products. “Process + Materials” will share the industry added value brought by 5G. The 5G high-frequency/high-speed board needs to be impedance controlled during the design process and needs to be implemented through a superb process. 5G equipment PCB performance requirements are extremely high, generally higher layer, area (large area, small thickness to diameter ratio), drilling accuracy (small aperture, plate alignment), wire (line width, line spacing), etc. The requirements require a higher process fit during PCB processing.