Optoelectronics and Telecom Conference Proceedings


DEVELOPING WORLD-CLASS OPTICS ASSEMBLY CAPABILITY

Authors: John G. Davis, Tom Beam and James Drischler
Company: Solectron Technology, Inc.
Date Published: 11/14/2001   Conference: Optoelectronics and Telecom


Abstract: The Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry continues to enjoy a healthy growth rate. Some sources suggest that revenue growth for the EMS industry will grow at a rate of 28% through 2004. Helping to fuel this growth is the expansion of the fiber optics industry.

Last November, the Dell’Oro Group estimated the current overall market for optical networking hardware to be $5.5 billion. With a 25% annual growth rate, the global optical networks market is expected to exceed $17 billion by 2004, with 60% of this coming from optical switching systems in North America2. Likewise, the Market Research firm RHK Inc. predicts the worldwide market for optical components used in DWDM and optical networking applications will grow at an annual rate of 48%, from $5 billion in 2000 to nearly $24 billion by 20043. While the current economic conditions4 may not allow the achievement of these two predictions, optics will continue to help fuel EMS growth. The integration of optics into current communication systems will continue, although at a slower rate.

What is fueling the growth of fiber optic systems? Along with the many advantages of fiber optic cable over copper cable, fiber optic systems are quickly becoming the backbone standard for voice and data transmission.

As more Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) contract out their assembly business, they are requesting EMS suppliers to provide a wider array of services: optics assembly, functional and system test, and box assembly services. To compete in the market place and enjoy the continued revenue growth EMS suppliers must develop and/or acquire the necessary skills to support the optics industry.

While opto-electronic assembly requirements are not extremely difficult in nature, there are unique requirements for assembling, soldering and handling fiber optic components and cable. Much of the ‘assembly’ information available today, training classes and Web-based information, is for fiber cable installers. Very little information has been published on opto-electronic assembly at the electronic circuit card level. Much of this ‘optics knowledge’ is resident within the OEM’s who are just now beginning to out-source optical assembly and are looking for EMS suppliers with optical assembly experience. An EMS supplier must either develop or acquired the necessary skills to support their customers and the optics industry. Management commitment to implement opto-electronic assembly capability - prior to committed customer orders - is required to develop expected levels of support for the optics industry.

This paper discusses several key considerations towards the development of a world-class opto-electronic assembly facility.

Key words: opto-electronic, optics, assembly.



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