JACKSON, MI – EMS provider Sparton Corp. reported 2008 second-quarter net sales of $55 million, up 3.6% year-over-year. The net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $1.9 million, from $1.4 million in 2006.
ATLANTA – Jim Raby, a 50-year industry veteran, and founder and technical director at STI Electronics, will keynote the Atlanta SMTA Expo on April 17.
Raby, who has spent his entire career in electronics manufacturing, will offer his perspectives of the past and future. His accomplishments include patents for wave soldering, work on the Saturn/Apollo Program, initiating the Zero Defect Program for wave soldering and development of the famous China Lake soldering schools.
Raby was also instrumental in developing the IPC soldering certification curriculum and initiating the Electronics Manufacturing Productivity Facility. He is also known as the person behind the Lights Out Factory concept that revolutionized the modern electronics manufacturing facility.
CAMBRIDGE, MA – In 2008, the value of the entire RFID market will be $5.29 billion, up 6.8% year-over-year, according to IDTechEx.
This figure includes tags, readers and software/services for RFID cards, labels, fobs and all other form factors. The majority of this value is a result of large national RFID schemes for transportation and national ID, incorporating contactless (RFID) cards, says a report.
China has almost finished issuing each citizen with a national ID RFID card. The tagging of pallets and cases as demanded by retailers (mostly in the U.S.) will use approximately 325 million RFID labels in 2008, but IDTechEX sees strong take off in retail outside mandates, such as from Marks & Spencer, who have used more than 100 million RFID tags to date.
The tagging of animals is increasing, as it becomes a legal requirement in many more territories, with 90 million tags being used in 2008, according to the report. In total, 2.16 billion tags will be sold in 2008, up 19% year-over-year.
By 2018, the market value will be more than five times the size of the market compared to 2008, but the number of tags supplied will be more than 300 times that of 2008, driven by the development of lower cost tags and installed infrastructure that will enable high volumes of articles to be tagged, says IDTechEx.
At the start of 2008, the cumulative number of RFID tags sold was just over 6 billion.
KELSO, SCOTLAND – Plexus UK has invested nearly $1.6 million in equipment for its Kelso manufacturing site.
The investment includes two Electrovert Elektra wave solder machines and an Agilent Medalist x6000 3-D AXI.
“2007 was a year of growth and expansion for Plexus, with the extension of the design center in Livingston and the addition of staff at all levels throughout the organization,” said managing director Willie MacKinnon.
He added that recent funding from Scottish Enterprise will enable further investments.
HORSHAM, PA – Aegis Software Corp., developer of manufacturing execution software, announced the opening of its global headquarters in Horsham, PA, outside Philadelphia.
The offices will provide a training environment for the company’s growing customer base. Featured is the company’s interactive training center. This facility offers a hands-on approach using a conveyorized production line, test and quality cell, and a complete hand assembly line, simulating a real production environment.
The facility also includes a large meeting center with video conferencing; new customers are provided a video system for use in their factories.
EL SEGUNDO, CA – Mobile handset shipments growth by manufacturers headquartered in China will slow considerably in 2008, dropping to about 19.7%, says iSuppli Corp.
The research firm forecasts shipments of 274 million units, up from 229 million units last year, when shipments gained 76.2%.
“There were two major drivers for the fast growth in China’s handset industry during 2007,” said Kevin Wang, senior analyst, China research for iSuppli.
“One was the continuous increase in domestic demand from first-time buyers and the replacement market. The other factor was the significant increase in export shipments from Chinese handset manufacturers. Domestic OEMs, such as Huawei and ZTE, doubled their export shipments. Furthermore, domestic gray market suppliers shipped millions of handsets to developing countries.”
Last year, the domestic Chinese handset market totaled about 200 million units, consisting of 150 million licensed handset units and about 50 million gray-market handsets.
Sustained increases in the consumer price index, rising housing prices and major stock market fluctuations in China are expected to hurt consumer confidence in 2008. Except for handsets supporting GPS and mobile TV functionality, there are no popular new handset features to drive sales. Because of higher average selling prices, iSuppli expects GPS and mobile-TV equipped phones will remain niche consumer products for now.
Consequently, the replacement market will experience limited growth during 2008, restraining increases in shipments in 2008.
However, iSuppli anticipates sales of handsets supporting TD-SCDMA and EDGE will ramp up quickly in 2008 as they become more widely available.
SAN JOSE, CA – Eight high-tech industry associations have proposed a stimulus package for the slowing American economy. The associations include SEMI, TechNet, Information Technology Industry Council, AeA and the Semiconductor Industry Association.