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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead?


Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 24 May, 2002

Seems like the landscape is changing in SMT equipment for US manufacturers. I have heard the following but I don't claim they are anything more than rumors:

1) Sanyo and Universal are parting ways and Sanyo will market their machines in the US directly again. Universal will design and market their own chipshooter. That would be a big mistake in my opinion. Look what happened last time they tried this.

2) Conceptronics is out of the reflow oven business and BTU is close behind.

3) Contact Systems is about to go under.

It's no mystery everyone is suffering but things appear to be getting worse for some.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 28 May, 2002


Sanyo and Universal? maybe, maybe not would not make sense currently. UIC production is on a "reduced" schedule. To be introducing a new machine in manufacturing in these time would not be wise but who knows crazier things have happened. Conceptronics maybe...BTU I dont think so...most BTU ovens are of the Semiconductor variety and that market segment is picking up. Contact systemes Has been in trouble for a while now... no surprise (maybe Tyco will buy them )

Truth to the matter- All SMT Equipment manufacturers are hurting...Cookson, SIemens, Fuji, Juki, Panasonic, and so on....

Siemens has reduced its work force from +300 to under 175. All equipment manufacturers are not doing well. Lower end equipment people are actually sustaining sales. There is so much used and refurbed cheap equipment that it has been the biggest competitor for most.

I do predict that most equipment manufacturers will be looking into "How can they play in all markets" from low end entry level to High end sophisticated manufacturing.

Just my opinion


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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 28 May, 2002


Here is a piece written in, I belivee the April issue SMT Magazine:

Binghamton, N.Y.

Sanyo High Technology and Universal Instruments Corp. have renewed an agreement whereby Sanyo will continue to provide the HSP line of chipshooters sold under Universal's name.

Universal and Sanyo have worked closely together since 1989; the renewal of the contract continues this partnership for an additional five years. The official contract signing took place March 26, 2002, at Universal's headquarters.

Universal and Sanyo plan to expand their relationship to include joint technical projects. From a product perspective, at the end of 2002 Sanyo and Universal will release large board size 4797 HSP machines in various feeder volume capacities.

Universal Instruments Corp., a subsidiary of Dover Corp., is a global provider of innovative electronic circuit assembly technology and equipment, integrated system solutions, and process expertise to the top manufacturers in every category of the electronics industry. For more information, visit

Conceptronic is for sale and out of biz, BTU bought the Conceptronic rework product line. I haven't heard anything about BTU going under. BTU is pretty well diversified into other inductires besides electronics.

I heard Contact Systems is hanging on by a fingernail, but just rumors.


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Mark J


Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 31 May, 2002

They're not dead, but most are assuredly in a coma. As stated elsewhere in this thread, there is so much used equipment on the market due to many electronics companies divesting their manufacturing, and outsourcing production of their products. All the OEM's are hurting. That being said, anyone out there in need of someone with a very strong Fuji background?

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Dave Kalen


Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 31 May, 2002

I have seen manufacturing leave the rust belt for Mexico and I am now seeing Mexico plants closing and work going to China. I know that the equipment sales are really in a slump as everyone else has said. It is interesting to see that company after company is struggling to survive. The real problem for all of us is that we are losing manufacturing jobs and wages here in the US of A. What are we going to do when everything is in China and other countries? All of the EMS companies are coping with Excess capacity. Many machines are on the market and more are hitting the streets each day. It is a buyers market as pricing is extremely low.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 31 May, 2002

I'm seeing a definate pick up of activity levels in my business. Equipment is finally selling albeit at depressed prices. Unlike last year however when things were not selling AT ANY price. At least there are buyers now.

The huge CM's will take a long time to recover and most likely, they will never approach the sales they acheived in 2000. What I am seeing is a pick up at the smaller CM's and they are the one's that are expanding. As far as I am concerned, let the Solectrons and the Flextronics of the world send everything to China. That will open the doors for many smaller shops to capture additional work and when it's all said and done, it might be a blessing for the US CM's. This transition will take some time to occur and unfortunately, many of big OEM names we've known for many years will probably not make it through this recession.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 1 June, 2002

I guess we can only speculate about the outcome of this recession. By shifting manufacturing to China, we also transfer technology and know how. If just the market of telecommunication takes off, boards of the latest technology ( flip chip, wafer feeder and 0201 components ) are made in China. How long do we expect it will take until we see different and cheaper brand phones on our markets, together with machines capable of handling current and future technology? All the used machines, which were dumped from the OEM�s may be outdated by then. Who wants these machines, if the technology gap gets as large as TH and SM technology. We can not profitable manufacture today�s technology. How could we possibly make some money with yesterday�s technology? If I were a large machine supplier, I would close my doors behind the remaining manpower of the development department and breed out a new machine. If I were smart enough, I would re-use the parts from the machines the OEM�s dumped on me and make something better out of it, for half a price of a new machine.

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Mark J


Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 2 June, 2002

Just a couple of points in response. For the most part I agree with your point on technology transfer, unfortunately the US has been doing this for years. As for who would want these older machines and how could you make a profit off of them. There are companies out there making money that are using Fuji CP-3/4, IP_1/2 combinations,I know of a company that is still using Panasonic MK's and MPA-40's, and another still that is using Dynapert MPS-318's, as scary as that might seem. You don't necessarily have to have the latest technology if you have a salable product that can be built on older machines. In regards to the larger machine manufacturers, my guess would be that they have more advanced designs they are sitting on until this recession is over. Who wants to release a new machine then have to practically give it away in a bad economy? makes it a little difficult to recoup your development costs, which can be pretty substantial.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 2 June, 2002

Hi Folks,

Well, what I want to see is below:

China is good in imitating products. They imitate but they sacrifice the quality. When can I see a Pick-and-place machine that is MADE IN CHINA? With most manufacturers shifting to China....that dream won't be long !


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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 2 June, 2002

China is way behind the technology curve and will be for some time. They're still soaking up all of the through hole and 10 year old chipshooters they can get their hands on. China is the latest flavor of the month for cheap labor just like Mexico was last years' flavor...(what ever happened to Mexico by the way!). By the time China becomes capable of handling the latest and greatest technology challenges in board and chip manufacturing, they will be too expensive. It's one thing to build PCB's for TV's but when you try building boards with high density 0201's and BGA's, all of a sudden, the equipment must get better and instead of pulling workers from the local rice fields, you actually require some educated and talented people. Before you know it, building boards in China isn't as cheap as it once was. Then it's off to the next technology challenged country begging to get into electronics manufacturing and willing to do it, (for a while anyways), for peanuts. A country like India...then Vietnam....then Cambodia etc.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 3 June, 2002

Anyone who thinks that China is behind in the technology curve...hasn't been there recently. They learn fast, they can replicate (reverse engineer) like no other. It won't be years before they are at the same level as US OEM or will be a lot quicker than that! I do agree, however, that when it runs its course (cheap labor, little government interference) there will be a search for another cheap labor source...Africa, anyone?

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 3 June, 2002

I judge a country's technology level by what they buy and what China is buying are not MSR's and CP-7's. It's MV2's, MV2C's, CP-4's with an MV2F here and there. If that's not behind the curve, I don't know what is. I would say they are 5 years behind the rest of the world at this point. You are probably correct though...they will catch up fast.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 4 June, 2002

Hi mate,

Been working in asia for past 6 years and this calls for alot of contact with asian based CM and customer groups.

experience has shown the chinese group have strong "reverse engineering" talents and are liken to the early japanese "inventors" who imitated practically everything the USA made, and sold it cheaper. (see what Honda did during its penetration into the car industry).

second case is when the PLA of china purchased "old" dis-serviced Russian aircraft carriers. the PLA incorporated one carrier into their "defense" group, and set their engineering staff to dismantle and learnt how to build an aircraft carrier - comrade style.

So for all of us blokes out here, wringing our thumbs about the china market emergence, we are correct to observe and monitor this giant. However this does not imply we must be static with worry/fear. On the contary, we must motivate and mobilize our resouces in joint orchastrated effort to develop new technology or into improving existing technology.

Nothing is a waste of effort, as long as we learn from the experience. To quote a famous inventor of US history, "I have learnt 99 ways....what does NOT work....".

USA is still a super-power of the world. Technology and innovation is the country's forte. Maximize on the lessons what its fore fathers have learnt before and put into practical teachings to their next generations. Seems we have much to regain.

*hah* the chinese have a (literal) saying: "one mountain is higher than another". Just make sure we monitor the height of our mountain and the other guys, change mountains once we see the other guy catching up...


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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 4 June, 2002

Well-said, lad. I strongly concur. It is not too late for US OEM and EMS companies. We have to retool and rethink the way we do business. If we do, we can still succeed, though I doubt we will ever see the numbers that we saw during the 1997-2000 boom days. In the meantime, rejoice and build boards.

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 5 June, 2002

How about looking at what drives the markets: consumers buying electronic gadgets! How long is this infatuation with new toys going to last before civilisation grows-up? My parents were content with a standard dial phone for nearly 40 years. They only upgraded to touch tone because the phone company left them no choice. Sure, I'm all for progress and new technology, but are cheap gadgets necessary for everyone? If consumers in so-called "advanced" countries were buying advanced technology that were made to last, wouldn't the industries focus on corresponding R&D and manufacturing to answer the demand, thus keeping one step ahead of "cheap imitator" countries?

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Are US OEM Manufacturers Dead? | 15 July, 2002

The focus of this discussion thread seems to have shifted. To bring it back around I offer the following.... It will absolutely be a far different landscape within a year. Those who survive might not be the biggest or the best....but the smartest. There will ultimately be some surprises. This is a time of great management, not necessarily just great engineers. This goes for SMT Equipment manufacturers as well as their customers. Both have dealt with painful inventories, falling prices, and workforce reductions. Some of the US based equipment vendors (as well as worldwide) have been starving for years, and the current recession just finished them. Others are doing well....And don't think the Japanese guys are having a good time. They may be struggling worse than anyone. Have you taken a look at their economy lately. You might just be surprised when one of the "big 5" gets bought or goes belly-up.

On the other thoughts...... If you truly believe that the Chinese are far behind, you are kidding yourself, and playing right into their hands. The Asian EMS's have been quietly taking business away from our favorite US based friends for the past year (at least). And they are purchasing the latest in technology. Sure there are some smaller players buying older gear still, but look at the forefront and you'd be surprised. While the US based EMS's are sitting on gear from 98-00, the Asian's are tooling up with the absolute latest technology and paying far less than in 98-00. Not only are their labor and piece parts at lower cost, but their operating costs for the gear alone is probably 20% lower than the US folks with machines that have already depreciated over 2-4 years. ....Oh did I mention that they will be the largest consumer market in the world (if not already)? That means built in China and sold in extra transport or tariffs. ...God bless the USA, but don't be arrogant or ignorant.

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