EL SEGUNDO, CA – The gloom and doom in the housing market may have a major impact on consumer purchasing of LCD TVs and computer monitors during the holiday season, according to iSuppli Corp.

Concerns are rising regarding the sub prime mess, the turmoil surrounding the financial markets and how these issues will impact business and consumer spending in the U.S., the research firm says. Rising defaults on U.S. home loans may limit consumers’ disposable spending during the holiday period this year, iSuppli adds.

“While LCD panel suppliers expect prices to increase for the remainder of 2007 due to supply tightness, iSuppli believes inventory increases will result in softness in panel demand among end-product makers and channel participants, especially in the monitor market,” said Sweta Dash, director of LCD and projection research at iSuppli. “This may affect fourth-quarter pricing of large-sized panels. The issue could become more of a problem if consumers stop spending and tighten their purse strings because of the mortgage problems in the fourth quarter.”

From April through September, LCD makers raised the prices of products at a 15 to 25% rate for notebook and monitor panels, and a 5 to 7% rate for 32-inch and smaller TV panels, reports iSuppli. However, branded vendors are being forced into price cuts to move inventory. The North American market is the biggest cause for concern right now because of the tumultuous economic atmosphere. However, the ramifications of this will be felt among the Asian manufacturers and the global supply chain, the firm states.

In addition, while long-term demand for notebook panels is still positive, notebook production may be impacted as a result of component shortages, says iSuppli. Notebook panel production also may be impacted as manufacturing capacity for these displays is diverted to fast-growing small- to medium-size applications such as digital photo frames, personal navigation devices, car TVs and ultra-mobile PCs.

Panel suppliers Innolux, CPT and AUO are planning to shift more of their fourth and 4.5-generation capacity in some of their fabs to small- and medium-sized panels, says iSuppli. Some are even planning to use some fifth-generation capacity for those size panels. Notebook panel prices increased by between 1 and 2% in September compared to August, the company notes.

iSuppi predicts actual notebook PC shipments in the second half of the year will fall short of expectations because of component shortages. Besides LCD panels, notebook PC manufacturers are reporting shortages of ICs, batteries, optical drives and PCBs. Many notebook PC suppliers said they expected these component shortages to last until October, while others are concerned that they may continue through the end of the year. If notebook PC production is indeed impacted by this component shortage throughout the remainder of 2007, it will impact panel demand, adding to the overall uneasiness being felt in the LCD industry, says iSuppli.

SAN JOSE, CA – Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose sharply in August, growing to $21.5 billion, an increase of 4.9% year-over-year, and an increase of 4.5% sequentially, the Semiconductor Industry Association reports. Read more ...
HERNDON, VA – The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, an industry-led consortium focused on identifying and closing technology gaps, has published its 2007 research priorities.
iNEMI grouped 90 identified needs into five research areas: manufacturing processes, system integration (IT and technology integration), energy and the environment, materials and reliability, and design.


Read more ...
HERNDON, VA – The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, an industry-led consortium focused on identifying and closing technology gaps, will kick-off its 2009 roadmap in Munich on Nov. 14 at Productronica.
This meeting will introduce the new product sector plans for the 2009 Roadmap, review key technology chapters from the 2007 Roadmap, and provide information about the roadmap process cycle for people interested in participating.


Preliminary work began on the product sector at a meeting held at IPC Midwest, and the product emulator group kick-off is scheduled for Oct. 12 at SMTAI in Orlando. Chairs of the group will meet with the technical committee and technology working group to identify key changes.


For more information about the European kick-off meeting, visit http://www.inemi.org/cms/calendar/2009_RM_European_Kickoff_Nov_07.html.

For information about other iNEMI meetings and presentations at Productronica, visit
http://www.inemi.org/cms/calendar/Productronica_2007.html.

Read more ...
TEMPE, AZ – Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the eighth consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 71st consecutive month, reports ISM.
 
Manufacturing grew at a slower rate in September, as the PMI registered 52%, down 0.9 points from August, says ISM. New orders registered 53.4%, down 1.9 points sequentially. Production dipped to 54.6%, 1.5 points lower. Manufacturers’ inventories registered 41.6%, a decrease of 3.8 points. Customers’ inventories were 50%, up 1 point. Backlogs reached 51%, 0.5 points higher sequentially, the firm reports.
 
ISM spokesman Norbert J. Ore said, “Manufacturing growth continued in September, while some sectors of the economy are apparently struggling. The trend is toward slower growth in manufacturing, as the rate of growth in both new orders and production slowed. The sector is apparently in excellent shape with regard to inventories, as the inventories index fell to 41.6%, indicating significant inventory liquidation. Overall, September looks like a good month for manufacturing.”
WASHINGTON – Responding to the growing shortage of engineers, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) in September introduced the Strategic Technology/Engineering Program (STEP) Act of 2007 – “GI Bill style” legislation that provides incentives for young people entering the engineering profession.

The bill, H.R. 3634, creates new scholarships and loan forgiveness for engineering students working toward their P.E. license.

“Our nation needs to make much more efficient use of the available resources by recruiting students from our best and brightest high school graduates and encourage them to go on to college to become our next generation of engineers,” Cleaver said in a statement. “This legislation will help support engineering students as they complete an education for an industry that will always be in demand.”

The number of U.S. engineering graduates has steadily declined in the last two decades, according to the National Science Foundation. In addition, over 25% of the science and engineering workforce is older than 50 and expected to retire over the next 15 years.

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