Mike Buetow

We speak so often of the maturing (“graying”) of the engineers and operators who work in the printed circuit industry, we sometimes overlook whether the same term applies to the companies that employ those individuals.

And yet that matzah ball is hanging out there, particularly when it comes to printed circuit design software.

The textbook definition of a mature market is when it has reached a “state of equilibrium.” This is characterized by “an absence of significant growth or a lack of innovation.”

It goes on: “In a mature market, companies have excess inventory or capacity, products become more homogenized (less differentiated), and there is pressure on prices and profits.”

Can you think of anything in our corner of the world that applies to?

Bare board fabrication comes to mind. Even as the volume and frequency of electronics are exploding, growth at the manufacturing level is nominal, year in, year out. A relative handful of customers, such as Apple, Samsung and Intel, often dictate the winners and losers.

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