The key objectives of the ASPIS project are to develop and implement solutions to ‘black pad’, a major reliability problem of significant importance to the European PCB manufacturing industry and its customers and to thereby improve the European industry’s international competitiveness.
The primary beneficiary of our project will be the European Printed Circuit Board (PCB) fabrication industry. The FP6-funded ProSurf technology roadmap1 estimates that the production of PCBs in Europe declined in value from €4,775 million to €2,748 million between 2000 and 2006, despite worldwide demand increasing during the same period. The same report indicates that the number of PCB fabricators in Europe has fallen from around 1200 in the early 1980s to 342 at the end of 2006. The majority of these remaining businesses are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It was also estimated that 24,000 people are directly employed in the PCB fabrication industry. In turn, the PCB fabricators supply into a great many dependent industries representing thousands of individual companies