Market trends of sequential build-up (SBU) printed
wiring boards (PWB) in Japan
Japan Marketing Survey Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Japan
The total production volume of the sequential build-up
(SBU) printed wiring boards (PWB) within Japan is
expanding rapidly. Data from JPCA (Japan Printed Circuit
Association) gives a figure of 96,370 million yen for 1999
and 155,460 million yen for 2000. The expansion can be
attributed to the increased demands from cellular phone
motherboards or interposer substrates for IC packages with
a high pin count, such as those for MPU applications.
The key technologies of SBU products, are via formation
technology and dielectric material for build-up layers. For
via formation, the majority uses laser drilling. For dielectric
material, resin coated copper foil process and non-
photoimageable resin (liquid or film) are used, depending
on the applications of the end products.
Japanese printed circuit market trend
The rapid growth of electronic appliances, such as audio-
visual equipment, office electronic appliances, home
electronics and automobile applications, had enabled the
Japanese PCB industry to enjoy rapid growth in the 1980s.
However, in the first few years of the 1990s, the Japanese
printed circuit board industry suffered a hard time due to
the end of the bubble economy, increased demand for lower
costs due to exchange rates and the beginning of offshore
production in the electronics industry.
From 1996, the production volume of multilayer printed
circuit boards started to rise, reflecting the growing market
for personal computers in Japan. The rapid expansion of
cellular phones in Japan added another growth factor to the
printed circuit board industry here, which now exceeds
1,000 billion Japanese yen (see Table I and Figure 1).
A small difference in weight, just a few grams, is often a
deciding factor in the Japanese cellular phone market.
Customer preference has driven the phone manufacturers
into severe competition for size reduction and lightweight
equipment. This is the main reason that the Japanese
adopted sequential build-up boards and CSP technology
earlier than other parts of the world.
In 1997, Panasonic used PCBs with Any Layer
Interstitial Via Hole (ALIVH) technology. SBU boards with
liquid non-photoimageable resin as the dielectric material
(JVC), or boards with resin coated copper technology
aimed at achieving lower production costs, were also used
for cellular phones. A new process called Buried Bump
Interconnection Technology (B
it) from Toshiba also
joined the fierce technology competition.
Introduction of plastic (non-ceramic) substrates as
interposers for IC packages, such as BGA or CSP, had a
sizeable impact on the Japanese printed circuit industry.
BGA is already used in the chip sets of personal
computers and other various digital electronics equipment.
CSP is used for logic IC and flash memory in cellular
phones and is expected to be used for DRAM packages.
Market trend of sequential build-up
(SBU) PWB in Japan
Classification by types of SBU PWB
Sequential build-up PWB can be classified using various
criteria, such as layer count, core board material, build-up
layer structure (material and via formation technology),
circuit formation technology and its application area.
Table II shows classification by via formation technology,
dielectric material and circuit formation technology.
Market trend of sequential build-up (SBU) PWB
The market for sequential build-up boards in Japan is
rapidly expanding. The market size (domestic
manufacturers only, measured by annual production
volume) was 1,270,000 square meters in 1999 and was
expected to be 2,040,000 square meters for 2000, with an
annual growth of 160 percent (see Table III).
Dielectric material types, boards with resin coated
copper foil technology, have the largest production volume:
510,000 square meters in 1999 and 1,060,000 square meters
in 2000, or 208 percent of 1999, which is 45 percent of the
total SBU production volume. A major factor in this growth
is the increased demands from the cellular phone market.
The second largest is the SBU boards with non-
photoimageable resin: 355,000 square meters in 1999 and
760,000 square meters, or 214 percent growth. This type
occupies approximately 32 percent of the total SBU
production and this type is used not only for cellular phones
but also for packaging substrates for IC with high pin
The other type represents Any Layer Interstitial Via
Holes (ALIVH) and others: 170,000 square meters in 1999
and 245,000 square meters, or 144 percent growth. The
application is mainly cellular phones, with a portion for
digital video cameras (DVC) and digital still cameras
The final type represents Buried Bump Interconnection
it). The production volume was 70,000
square meters for 1999 and 80,000 square meters for 2000,
a 114 percent growth.
End product applications
Current major applications of SBU boards are divided into
two. One is a substrate for IC packages for MPU or IC with
high pin counts. The other is a motherboard for mobile
application, where weight and size are crucial. The most
obvious example of the first category, IC packaging
substrate, is MPU from Intel. ASIC, with more than 1,000
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available
[ 15 ]
# MCB University Press
Electronics industry, Japan,
Reports on the market trends of
sequential build-up board, based
on the survey and analysis
conducted by Japan Marketing
Survey Co. Ltd.