NIEDERNHALL, GERMANY -- A pair of domestic printed circuit board manufacturers are collaborating on 3D-printing of solder masks, saying it offers new possibilities for miniaturization and a "technological quantum leap."

Since the beginning of the year, Würth Elektronik and FELA have worked together on the project. The research is expected to bring about not only economic success, but also long-term security for local production plants in Germany, the firms said in a statement.

Despite current stability and positive sales growth in the circuit board industry, it must be presumed that consolidation has not yet come to an end. Circuit board manufacturers are facing enormous price erosion caused by Asian circuit boards, as well as rising manufacturing costs in Europe and generally intense global competition. Reliability, investment in new technologies and manufacturing processes, and innovation are the key to future success," they said.

Andreas Gimmer, managing director of Würth Elektronik in Schopfheim, said, “We know our industry and know where other companies on the market excel. As well as a personal relationship of many years’ standing, the partnership with FELA is based on both companies’ passion for innova-tion, with the aim of securing sites strategically using future-forward technologies.” According to the latest research findings, clear advantages in the area of assembly are emerging. The possibilities for implementing individual customer requirements are very promising.

Würth Elektronik Circuit Board Technology was founded in 1971 and has over 4,000 customers, while FELA is one of the five largest PCB manufacturers in Germany, with sales of €23.6 million in 2016.

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