Solder paste, also known as solder cream is used to connect leads on surface mounted integrated circuit chips to the attachment points on the printed circuit boards, which are commonly used in all electronic devices. It is generally applied as a paste through stencil or dispensing tubes on the leads on printed circuit boards, followed by heating the paste in order for it to melt and fuse the connection. Soldering paste is an extremely important ingredient in the electronic circuit manufacturing industry. By physical appearance, it is a gray and putty like material. Solder pastes are of different compositions depending upon their end use requirements. Some of the common solder pastes are tin – lead alloy, tin – silver – copper alloy, tin – silver – copper alloy and tin – antimony alloy.
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The driving force behind the solder alloy market is the burgeoning demand from electronic manufacturing services. The market has especially witnessed a bullish run since the last two decades, is expected to grow further with the penetration of information technology, and enabled services in human life across the world. Solder paste is essential for all printed circuit boards and semiconductors. Printed circuit boards find application in almost all electronic devices including computers, laptops, smart phones, tablets, televisions, medical testing equipments, fiber optic receptors, nuclear detection systems, data storage devices and weather analysis equipment among many others. Printed circuit boards are also used in automotives, marine vehicles and aerospace industry for electronic functions. Traditional single layer printed circuit boards are gradually evolving into multilayer printed circuit board with extensive functionality. The technological advancements in the PCB market is expected to transform into higher demand for solder paste.
The market for solder paste is largely unhindered by substitute products. However, the demand for lead free solder paste has been increasing due to environmental concerns of lead. According to estimates more than 30 million tons of electronic waste are accumulated each year and the lead content in electronic wastes create havoc on environmental balance. The demand for lead containing alloys is expected to decline over the period for the solder paste market. However, there are no significant restraints to the solder paste market as a whole.
The global outlook for electronic equipments and applications holds promise as consumer electronics has exhibited tremendous growth over the past decade and expected to continue to rise in the foreseeable future. This presents tremendous opportunity for solder paste market especially in the developing regions of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa.
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China accounts for the largest demand for solder paste in the world. China is the largest producer of electronic devices and ancillary parts in the world. The export oriented electronics manufacturing services in China is the main reason behind the surging demand in the region. China is also the largest manufacturer of solder paste in the world. Asia Pacific accounts for over 50% of the global demand, lead by China, Japan, Korea and India. Demand for solder paste from North America and Europe follow that from Asia Pacific.
Some of the companies operating in the solder paste market are SMT International LLC, Kester, AIM Metals and Alloys, LLC, Chung I Silver Solder Co., Ltd., Ku Ping Enterprise Co., Ltd., Shenmao Technology Inc. Chemco Industry Corporation, Dyfenco Electronic Chemical Corporation among many others.