I have to admit, Viasystems’ decision to pour up to $100 million into capacity expansions worries me just a tad.
Ours is a boom/bust industry, characterized by periods of substantial growth followed by years of sheer gut-wrenching pain. I’ve been through four of these cycles in my 20 years in PCBs, and what’s clear to me is that, overall, there is ample capacity worldwide to suit the PCB industry’s needs.
Granted, a large amount of the funds are earmarked for machine upgrades, and Viasystems has not publicly stated how much of the investment will be geared toward additional space. Not to pick on Viasystems, because this problem clearly is industry-wide, but what I’d like to see is more than three quarters of growth coupled with the possibility of more to come before the industry starts ramping capacity. Pricing has long been a problem for PCB fabricators. Adding capacity won’t fix that.