SAN JOSE, CA—The printed circuit board assemblies market is changing from through-hole to surface mount production. The change is due to smaller board space required by digital technology.

The Global Fact Book of Surface Mount Technology Lines reveals this fact, along with other information, in a study that contains over 150 charts and figures that detail the international marketplace.

After robust growth in 2000, 2001 was characterized as one of the weakest periods for the surface mount technology industry. Last year, the market declined by 40 percent to 50 percent due to the economic downturn and weakened demand in the United States. However, the industry is expected to rebound in 2002.

The Pacific Rim, with the largest number of surface mount production lines, is projected to experience the highest growth among the four geographic regions covered in the study. With lower manufacturing and labor costs, electronic manufacturers in the United States and Europe are steadily migrating to the Pacific Rim region.

"As electronic packaging and assembly technologies become more complex, new developments will continue to extend the capabilities of surface mount technology to higher levels. Trends toward miniaturization, higher portability and improved functionality in computing, telecommunications, automotive and medical industries are leading to greater acceptance of surface mount technology," says Raman Monga, industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan.