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And why Thailand holds more promise than Brazil or India.

This is the 15th NTI-100 report, believe it or not. Readers know that over that period, the landscape of the printed circuit board industry has changed. A look at the data compiled in this annual article shows just how dramatic that transformation has been.

As in the past, the author started to collect company revenue data at the end of September 2012. He worked on it on and off for the past nine months, sometimes occasionally, sometimes intensely. In the past two months, the work has been very intensive since most Japanese financial data became available in May and June.

Compiling the NTI-100 becomes more difficult every year as globalization continues and most of the largest fabricators produce printed circuit boards in multiple countries and at multiple locations. Usually, design cost, die cost, shipping cost and insurance are part of sales revenue. (Some fabricators do not include shipping charges.) Most large flex circuit (FPC) manufacturers include in their numbers a substantial amount of FPC assembly, which is difficult to separate from the total output because assembly is very much an integral part of business for those firms. The assembly portion of revenue, if any, is eliminated from the rigid board fabricators. Therefore, the rankings are “unfair” when FPC and rigid board fabricators are compared, but there is no other way. The rankings, then, are “about” rather than definitive. The final judgment is left to the reader.

The table may contain some errors due to oversight or incorrect interpretation of data. The author takes full responsibility for any errors that may exist. Using this opportunity, he would like to express appreciation to those PCB fabricators that provided precious data, and the TPCA and CPCA trade associations for providing valuable information.

Assumptions. Revenues are based on fiscal 2012. Keep in mind, most Japanese companies end their fiscal years on March 31. AT&S also ends its fiscal year on March 31. Some fabricators such as Sanmina and MFlex end their fiscal years at the end of September. There were a number of acquisitions during the course of 2012. To make calculations easier, all acquisitions are assumed to have taken place on Jan. 1. For example, Viasystems acquired DDi on May 31, but its revenue is calculated as if the acquisition took place on Jan. 1.

To reiterate, many FPC fabricators, particularly large ones, engage in assembly. Since assembly is an integral part of their business and it is very difficult to accurately separate assembly-related sales from the total revenue, in these cases no attempt was made to separate the assembly portion. Known assembly revenue has been eliminated from rigid board fabricators.

Average exchange rates. Unfortunately, a common currency must be used for comparison. As usual, the US dollar is used (Table 1). Some discrepancies are unavoidable. For example, Taiwan PCB fabricators convert sales made in China from RMB to NT dollars. Each maker seems to use slightly different exchange rates, and Taiwan and China output are combined as “consolidated” revenue. Then, the author must convert revenues in NT dollars to US dollars. In so doing, some unavoidable discrepancies or errors occur.

To compare growth rates of each maker prior to converting to US dollars, 2011 revenues are recalculated using 2012 exchange rates (local currency comparison). Hence, 2011 data may be different from the last year’s figures. Be forewarned.

Analysis of Top Fabricators

In 2012 the world PCB output was $59.8 billion, down 0.21% from the 2011 output of $59.9 billion, or practically unchanged. The estimated number of PCB fabricators in the world is about 3,000. The number of fabricators that topped $100 million or more in revenue was 106, accounting for only 3.5% of total. For those top 106 fabricators, however, the aggregate output was 81.3% of the total world output in 2011 and 83.4% in 2012. Here, at least, the proverbial 80:20 rule – in which 20% of the manufacturers would be responsible for 80% of the output – does not apply. The big get bigger.

Thirteen fabricators in 2011 had revenues of $1 billion or more. There were also 13 fabricators in 2012, including two new entries and two dropouts. Kingboard Chemical PCB group and CMK fell below the mark. However, CMK became profitable despite the lower revenue thanks to its “select and concentrate” policy. Sumitomo Denko Printed Circuit joined the “NTI-100 $1B Club” thanks to brisk business from Apple. And Viasystems topped the $1 billion mark on the back of the DDi acquisition.

Because of the high value of the yen against the US dollar, Japan had the highest number of entries (28), two ahead of Taiwan (Table 2). However, because the yen is likely to remain at 100:$1 in 2013, Japanese fabricators will slide in the 2013 rankings, and some will likely drop from the list. Japan is the only country whose top fabricators lost revenue in 2012. The number of Hong Kong and China fabricators climbed to 25, almost the same as Taiwan, but the total revenue of these 25 fabricators in 2012 was only one-third that of the 26 Taiwan fabricators. Although Chinese fabricators are growing fast, there is still a long way to go. South Korean fabricators performed the best last year: a whopping growth rate of 25%. Without this, the 2012 world output would have been deeply negative. Samsung Electronics was and is the driver for the Korean PCB industry.

It is said that there are about 100 Taiwanese fabricators, although some have plants only in China. Their total output in 2012 accounted for 33% of the world output. Japan, which once enjoyed the top position with a 32% world share, is now down to a 22% to 23% share, a distant number two to Taiwan. Table 2 hints at this trend.

Table 3 shows revenues sorted by 20th percentiles. Fabricators ranked 1 to 20 and 41 to 60 show the highest growth. Why? Apple and Samsung. Several suppliers in these two categories cater to Apple and Samsung. Their revenues would have been greater if they were not forced to accept continuous price pressure from these users, by the way. Suppliers to Apple and Samsung love the volumes but hate the relentless price pressure. They treat PCBs as “commodities.”

The first NTI-100 article was published in 1998, 15 years ago. The top 100 fabricators then had a total output of $20.2 billion. 2012 saw an output 2.5 times larger. The author would like to continue this work for five more years and then quit. Wish him luck!

Table 4 is, of course, the NTI-100. Readers may note the absence of Biloda (鑫華寶訊). It turns out that Elitegroup Computer Systems (精英電脳), Biloda’s parent, sold it to a Chinese firm, which in turn shut it down. Elitegroup’s manufacturing arm is “英科技” in Chinese, which contains a PCB manufacturing unit. However, this author could not get data from this business unit.

BYD (比亜連) is a Chinese jack-of-all-trades manufacturer of batteries, automobiles, cellphones and flex circuits, among other things. The author saw an article that pegged its flex business at $250 million. However, since the revenue figure could not be confirmed, BYD was omitted.

HannStar Board (瀚宇博徳) contains GBM (PCB manufacturing operations at four different locations – Shenzhen, Dongguang, Kunshan and the brand new Chongqing factory). HannStar Board Group’s total revenue was approximately $1.8 billion, but about $700 million came from GBM’s rigid board assembly operation, which was subtracted.

TPT-Taiwan Techvest (志超) purchased Yang An (統盟). In TPCA enumeration, TPT and Yang An are listed separately. TPT’s financial data indicate a “consolidated” figure. Since, the author could not reach TPT nor Yang An, they are listed separately.

Despite help from TPCA and CPCA, Taiwan and China fabricators are very difficult to figure out. Within China, a substantial number of mergers and acquisitions seem to take place, which makes it more difficult to collect “consolidated” data.

Young Poong Group, which consists of Young Poong Electronics, Interflex, Korea Circuit and Terranics, showed  tremendous growth, thanks to strong orders from Apple and Samsung. A major part of its growth came from its FPC units, Interflex and Young Poong Electronics.

Domestic production by Japanese fabricators continues to decline while the overseas portion continues to increase as most investment is made overseas. Japanese PCB fabricators seem to have ceased investment in China, switching their emphasis to Thailand and Vietnam, and perhaps the Philippines in the future. Several Japanese PCB fabricators operate in Malaysia, but the only one investing is Ibiden.

The trend of the Japanese PCB industry resembles that of North America. Today, the output of the seven largest US-based fabricators is greater than the domestic production of the other 300. To grow in North America, the only choice is to acquire competitors, unless fabricators are willing to invest in capacity, which this author doubts will occur, at least in the near future. In 2000, North America produced $12 billion and employed 97,000 workers. In 2012, the production was $3 billion, and employment was 21,000.

The European situation seems to be more or less the same as North America’s. Nobody in Europe is investing in capacity. Multek Germany is being shut down. eXception Circuit in UK was bought by Fast Print of China. Consider: 5% growth in Europe adds only $120 million to the top line, while 5% growth in China contributes $1.3 billion to the world output. According to its annual report, 74% of AT&S’s revenue was obtained from Asian operations (China, India, South Korea). It is shutting down its Klagenfurt plant; with that move, the last of the former Philips PCB shops will be gone: Eindhoven, Croydon, Evreaux (acquired by Aspocomp and shuttered) and now Klagenfurt. Since AT&S has built a large, new plant in Chongqing, China, more than 85% to 90% of its revenue is likely to come from Asia in the future.

This author is often asked about India and Brazil. Both countries have large populations and their electronics industries are growing. How about PCBs? Domestic fabricators have no ability to invest the large sums seen in China and elsewhere. It is too risky to invest large amounts in PCB manufacture in these countries because of the lack of infrastructure and, to some degree, the political situations. A shortage of quality water and electric power in India are disincentives to large international PCB fabricators. The political situation (taxes, etc.) in Brazil makes large investment impossible. Multek’s money-losing shop in Brazil was closed and its equipment auctioned. Result: One-half of Brazil’s output is gone. Hence, there is no chance any fabricators in India and Brazil will make the NTI-100 list in the foreseeable future.

KCE is building a large plant in Lat Kraban, Thailand, near the new Bangkok International Airport. When the last phase is finished at this new plant, the total production capacity of KCE is expected to be about 5 million sq. ft. a month. Potentially, KCE may achieve $500 million in output in the years to come. What is happening to MFS? Gul Technology has plants only in China. It has done fairly well considering its limited space. Shye Feng Group of Taiwan includes APEX in Thailand (separately stock-listed in Taiwan Stock Exchange), which is also doubling its capacity. Nippon Mektron’s Thai subsidiary, Mektec Thailand, built a new back-end processing plant in Thailand. Canon Components, which quit PCB operations in 2000, built a new plant in Thailand. Fujikura, which was devastated during 2011 “flooding of the century” rebuilt two plants, as well as a new one 28 meters above sea level. Fujikura is aiming to achieve $600 million output in 2015. Considering these investments, the PCB output of Thailand could match that of Europe in a few years. However, all large fabricators in Thailand are Japanese and Taiwanese. Therefore, KCE Electronics is the only domestic entry in the NTI-100.

The author assures readers that the 2013 NTI-100 list will be quite different from the 2012 edition.

Dr. Hayao Nakahara is president of N.T. Information; nakanti@yahoo.com.

Have you registered for PCB West, the Silicon Valley's largest printed circuit board trade show? Sept. 24-26, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. www.pcbwest.com

See previous NTI-100 lists here:

A two-phase study to assess how to completely clean underneath leadless devices following soldering with Pb-free water soluble and Pb-free no-clean pastes.

Ed.: Part 1 was published in the August issue.

Phase 2 methodology. In this phase of the study, eight pastes were evaluated: four water-soluble lead-free (Pastes A, B, C and D) and four no-clean lead-free (Pastes E, F, G and H). Additionally, Practical Components’ PCB007 test vehicle was used. In this case, boards and components were provided to RIT, where they were screen-printed and reflowed. Following reflow, the assembled boards were returned to Zestron and cleaned within 24 hr. of reflow in an Aquastorm AS200 inline cleaner using the dynamic surfactant and optimized wash parameters from Phase 1 (see Table 6, previous issue). Cleanliness assessment followed, including visual inspection and ion chromatography, each conducted at Zestron. Regarding visual inspection, the same protocol used in Phase 1 was employed for Phase 2.
In total, 24 test boards were assembled or three with each paste type. Of the three board sets, two were used for ion chromatography analysis and one for visual inspection. Each board was populated with the component quantities as detailed in Table 7. For reflow, RIT employed a six-zone industrial oven. Refer to Table 8 for the reflow zone set points and Figure 13 for the documented reflow profile.

Following reflow, visual inspection using a Keyence VHX-1000 microscope confirmed standoff height at 2 mil (Figure 14).

Phase 2 results: visual inspection. Of the 24 boards assembled for Phase 2, eight boards (one with each paste type) were visually inspected on the surface, as well as underneath the components utilizing the same protocol as that used in Phase 1, following the cleaning process. Optimum cleaning parameters identified in Table 6 were held constant throughout Phase 2 trials. Using these parameters and maintaining the wash temperature at 145°F, all water-soluble pastes were fully cleaned on the board surface underneath all components. However, as suspected with the no-clean pastes, MLF-68 components reflowed with Pastes F and H, as well as all the dual-row components, required 155°F wash temperature to achieve full cleanliness.

The determination to increase wash temperature was made during the visual analysis. Since multiple boards were prepared for each paste, and each board was cleaned individually, wash temperature adjustments were made as required for subsequent trials.

Thus, for the no-clean pastes, the following observations were made:

Pastes E and G:
Completely cleaned underneath MLF-20, MLF-44 and MLF-68 components using process parameters determined in Phase 2.
Dual-row MLF-156 components were completely cleaned underneath at 155°F wash
temperature.

Paste H:
Completely cleaned underneath MLF-20 and MLF-44 components using process parameters determined in Phase 1.
Completely cleaned underneath MLF-68 and dual-row MLF-156 components at 155°F wash temperature.

Paste F:
Completely cleaned underneath MLF-20, MLF-44 components using process parameters determined in Phase 1.
Completely cleaned underneath MLF-68 components at 155°F wash temperature.
Slight residues remained under one of three dual-row MLF-156 using 155°F wash temperature.

Table 9 shows wash temperature requirements for full cleanliness underneath all components.

Surface residues were completely removed on all boards with all paste types. Figures 15, 16, 17 and 18 are representative of the cleanliness level achieved underneath for all four component sizes.

Phase 2 results: ion chromatography. Sixteen boards (two for each paste type) were assembled for ion chromatography analysis. Ion chromatography analysis was performed to characterize ionic residues on the board surface in terms of anions (fluoride, acetate, formate, chloride, nitrite, bromide, nitrate, phosphate, sulfate), cations (lithium, sodium, ammonium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) and weak organic acids. If contaminants are present on electronic assemblies and bare boards, they contribute to electrochemical failures when mixed with moisture and applied voltage.3

Ion chromatography testing was performed according to IPC-TM-650, method 2.3.28.3 Test equipment used enabled analysis of anions, cations and weak organic acids. All boards tested resulted in contamination levels well below IPC limits. Ion chromatography results are detailed in Tables 10, 11, 12 and 13 (Appendix).

Conclusion

Effective cleaning of flux residues underneath low-standoff components is difficult and is made more so as component surface area increases. However, as this study has proved, this challenge can be met with an appropriate cleaning agent and optimized cleaning process.

Flux type is certainly a critical factor, and water-soluble flux residues are more easily cleaned compared to the no-clean flux residues.

For water-soluble flux residue, cleaning agent concentration, wash exposure time and spray configuration proved less critical for achieving full cleanliness underneath the components.

For the no-clean flux residue, higher cleaning agent concentration, increased wash exposure time and the eight spray bar manifold with the intermix nozzle technology resulted in better cleaning results underneath all QFN components. In several cases (depending on paste type and component configuration), an increase in wash temperature was required as well in order to fully clean underneath the QFN.

As indicated in Table 9, slight residues remained under one of six dual-row MLF-156 components. However, it should be noted that all boards subjected to ion chromatography testing resulted in contamination levels well below the standard limits.

Although specific no-clean paste types, as well as the MLF size, influence the process parameters required to clean underneath components, this study confirms through visual inspection underneath all QFN types, as well as with ion chromatography results, that a dynamic surfactant cleaning agent and optimized inline cleaning process can fully clean the surface underneath low-standoff QFNs.

References
2. Harald Wack, Ph.D., Umut Tosun, Joachim Becht, Ph.D., Helmut Schweigart Ph.D., “Why Switch from Pure DI-Water to Chemistry?” SMTA International Proceedings, October 2009.
3. IPC-TM-650, Test Methods Manual, Method 2.3.28, Ionic Analysis of Circuit Boards, Ion Chromatography Method, May 2004.

Acknowledgments
Special thanks to ERSA North America for providing the 10 zone ERSA HotFlow 3/20 reflow oven, Rochester Institute of Technology for populating and reflowing test boards, Speedline Technologies for providing the Aquastorm 200 inline cleaner, and StenTech for providing the stencils for this study.

Ed.: This article was originally published in the Proceedings of SMTA Penang in April 2013, and is republished here with permission.

Umut Tosun is application technology manager; Naveen Ravindran is application engineer, and Michael McCutchen is the former vice president Americas and South Asia at Zestron; u.tosun@zestronusa.com.

Dynamic capacity planning incorporates the randomness and variability of the real world.  It shows you how to target your capital equipment (capex) spending to attain throughput and cycle-time goals for millions of dollars less than with spreadsheets.

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Our annual survey finds a quarter of PCB designers are nearing retirement, but salaries have never been higher.

If a recent survey is any indication, printed circuit board designers are becoming an even more experienced crowd and have concerns about their workload, yet their salaries are increasing slightly with age.

From May 1 to June 30, a total of 421 bare board designers responded to PCD&F’s annual salary survey. The online survey covered salaries, job functions, titles, project types and quantity, benefits, education, experience, career challenges, locations, ages, and company demographics, to name some. Results are intended to provide a snapshot of the state of design industry jobs, not a meticulous scientific study.

Of the 421 respondents, just over half (50.4%) say they are senior PCB designers, down from 56% in the 2012 survey. PCB designers account for 16.9% of respondents, compared to 15% last year. Other common job titles include design engineer (7.6%), PCB design manager (7.6%), hardware engineer (4.3%), and senior engineer (3.6%). CAD librarians made up 2.6% of those responding.

As in 2012, respondents overwhelmingly say their principal job function is PCB design (including schematic, layout, placement, etc.) (Figure 1). Next is PCB engineering, with 11.9% of responses, followed by design/layout management, engineering management, and ECAD librarian.



The majority of designers continue to work for OEMs (66.3%). Another 11.2% work for design service bureaus, compared to 10% in the previous year. Strikingly, relatively few – 1.9% –  of respondents indicated they work for a contract assembler, despite the increase in those services among EMS providers.

As the 2012 and 2013 surveys have shown, for a significant portion of designers, retirement is looming. Over a quarter of respondents (25.4%) have more than 30
years’ experience in the business, compared to 21% last year (Figure 2). Some 57.7% of participants in this year’s survey have more than 20 years of experience, compared to 53% in 2012. Only 17.3% say they have 10 or fewer years’ experience, flat with 2012.



Along those lines, 24.9% of respondents are between the ages of 51 and 55, the demographic most represented in the survey. More than half (58.6%) fall between 46 and 60, compared to 55% last year. In 2013, 8.8% of respondents are 60 to 70 years old, compared to 10% in 2012, and two respondents are over 70. In the younger age brackets, 10.2% are 41 to 45, flat with last year, and 14.7% are 31 to 40, down from 16% last year. Just 7.1% are 30 or younger, and no one who responded to the survey is younger than 20.

The demographic of designers is still resoundingly male, with 89.3% of responses, up from 86% in 2012’s survey.

Top earners. With the veteran population growing in the design industry, so are salaries. The top earners make over $150,000. Nearly one-third of designers make between $70,000 and $90,000 a year (Figure 3), and 34.1% earn more than $90,000, compared to 28% last year. Of the designers who took the survey, 74% make more than $60,000, up one percentage point from 2012. Only 7.2% bring in $20,000 or less, compared to 8% last year.



While the clear majority of respondents say their salaries increased in the past year – 72%, up from 69% in 2012 – the increases were modest, with 48.2% of respondents’ salaries growing 1 to 3%. Another 14.3% say their salary rose 4 to 6%, and 6.2% report a salary increase of 7 to 10%. More than 21% of survey respondents say their salary did not change in the past year. About 7% of respondents said their salary decreased, which was consistent with the previous survey.

More than half the respondents say they did not receive an annual bonus in the most recent year (53.4%). In the 2012 survey, 56% said they did not receive a bonus. Though the frequency of bonuses appears to have improved, based on responses, the amounts are less. Of those who recently received a bonus, 55.1% say the extra cash, on average, is 1 to 3% of their current salary, compared to 43% of respondents in 2012. Another 24.4% say 4 to 7%, down from 29% last year, and 20.5% say more than 7% of their salary, compared to 28% in 2012.

A vast majority of respondents say they live in the US (70.7%) (Figure 4); this figure is slightly down from 73% in the 2012 survey. The West Coast of the US (including Arizona) accounted for 22.3% of respondents, compared to 23% last year. Another 16.9% live in the Midwest, while 16.6% are in the Northeast/New England/Mid-Atlantic. Some 8.6% of responses came from Central/Western Europe, compared to 9% last year. There were a trickle of respondents from China, perhaps owing to the survey only being conducted in English. Two designers from Africa/Middle East responded, however.

Tech trends. Technology is always advancing, but sometimes not as fast as we would think. Designers were asked what types of projects and/or technologies they directly engineer, design or lay out. The most common response? Four to 6 layer PCBs, followed by double-sided boards. Yet use of BGAs, CSPs, HDI and embedded systems are on the rise (Table 1).



More than a quarter of the designers who responded to the survey (25.2%) say they produce, on average, 6 to 10 new designs each year, down from 29% last year. Another 21.1% say they produce 11 to 15 new designs annually, up from 18% in 2012. Just over 15% produce 1 to 5, flat with the previous survey, and 11.9% say 16 to 20 new designs, compared to 14% last year. Some 10.2% produce 21 to 30 new designs, on average, annually, up from 8% in 2012. Another 16.4% produce more than 30, nearly flat with last year.

Designers are an educated group (Figure 5). More than 31% say they have a one to two-year associate’s degree; another 24.5% have some college, but no degree, for a total of 55.6%, compared to 60% in 2012. More designers this year say they have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field (28.5%), up from 21% last year. Fewer designers this year reported either a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Fewer designers also say they are an IPC Certified Designer (30.9%); in 2012, this number was 33%. Of the designers who are IPC certified, 57% say they are CID; 43% say CID+.

Government/military/aerospace/avionics/marine/space garnered the most responses (again) when designers were asked which end-market they primarily design for, with 22.6%, compared to 23% who said “high-reliability products” last year (Figure 6). Communications/related systems equipment (including all phone types) is a close second, with 16.6%. Industrial controls/equipment/robotics received 13.5% of responses, and consumer electronics another 9%, down from 11% in 2012. Other end-markets are electronic instruments/ATE design and test (8.8%); medical/optical electronics and equipment (8.1%); other (6.2%); computers/peripherals (5.5%); automotive/other ground vehicles (5%), and semiconductors and related packaging (4.8%).



Designers are keeping their jobs. Some 93.3% say they have the same job as 2012, up from 91% in the previous survey. Nearly 7% were laid off in the past year, comparable with the 2012 survey.

Workload is still designers’ biggest challenge, with 51.8% stating so, up from 49% in 2012. Other challenges include technology (35.6%), nearly flat with 2012, and finding/keeping one’s job (34.9%), also flat with last year. Outsourcing received fewer responses than the previous survey, with 22.1%, down from 25%.

A large portion (72.9%) of designers who completed the survey do not have other staff members reporting directly to them. Some 18.8% say they have 1 to 5 people reporting to them, nearly flat with last year. Only 4.8% say they have six to 10 people reporting to them, and another 2.1% oversee 11 to 20 staff. Just over 1% have more than 20 employees reporting directly to them.

When asked their highest level of purchasing power, 31.8% of designers say they recommend products, down from 36% last year. Some 23% evaluate products, up from 20% in 2012. Another 17.6% have the ability to specify products, compared to 17% last year, and 12.1% approve product purchases, up from 8% in the prior survey.

Among the products and services evaluated, recommended, specified or approved, CAD software led with 78.9%. Prototype PCB services garnered 56.5% of responses, while design services pulled in 36.6%. Here’s how the rest of the list breaks down:

  • Active/passive components: 30.4%
  • Connectors and cables: 29.9%
  • Assembly services: 29.7%
  • Volume PCB fabrication services: 28%
  • CAM software: 27.8%
  • Substrate materials: 20.9%
  • Solder mask: 20.7%
  • Computers and peripherals: 19%
  • CAE software: 18.1%
  • FPGAs/PLDs: 15.4%
  • Consulting services: 15.2%
  • Solder materials (paste, flux): 12.8%
  • Epoxies and finishes: 11.6%
  • Test/measurement services: 11.4%

Designers still work for large firms. When asked how many staff members their company employs, 43.7% said more than 1000, up from 40% in 2012. Another 16.4% work for firms with 251-1000 employees, compared to 18% last year. About 10% work at companies with 101-250 employees, down from 13% in 2012. Other responses include 51 to 100 employees (7.4%); 26 to 50 employees (6.7%), and 25 or fewer staff members (15.7%), compared to 14% in 2012.

The distribution by company revenue was fairly even. Between 7% and 11% worked for firms with sales of less than $5 million, $50 million to $100 million, $100 million to $500 million, and $500 million to $1 billion. Fifteen percent work for firms with annual sales topping $5 billion; 13.8% work at companies with sales of $1 billion to $5 billion, and 16.4% work for firms with sales of $5 million to $50 million.

The picture of company benefits looks remarkably similar to data compiled in 2012. Leading the way again is health insurance, with 86.9% of companies offering this, and 73.9% offering dental insurance. Life insurance is provided to 72.4%, and some 67% are offered a 401(k) plan. All these figures are consistent with the 2012 survey. Other benefits include:

  • Cafeteria: 44.4%
  • Stock purchasing plan: 33%
  • Company pension or retirement plan: 28.7%
  • Exercise room/equipment: 28.7%
  • Profit sharing: 24%
  • Telecommuting: 20.7%
  • Relocation expenses: 14.3%
  • Daycare facilities: 4.3%
  • Sabbatical: 4%

Many companies support educational opportunities, with tuition reimbursement leading responses at 56.1%. On-the-job training is supported by 50.6% of companies who employ survey respondents. About 45% reimburse for conferences, and about 40% conduct company classes. Mentoring is supported by 27.1%, and college classes are supported by 18.1%.

To view results of the 2012 survey, visit http://pcdandf.com/cms/component/content/article/246-2012-articles/8976-designers-salary-survey.

Chelsey Drysdale is senior editor for PCD&F/Circuits Assembly; cdrysdale@upmediagroup.com.

A two-phase study to assess how to completely clean underneath leadless devices following soldering with Pb-free water soluble and Pb-free no-clean pastes.

Read more ...

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