According to ElectroniCast's new "Automated Assembly & Test of Fiber Optic Components," the global consumption of fiber optic component assembly equipment plus related test units will advance impressively, from $722 million in 2000 to $1.71 billion in 2005 (value in 2001 was $429 million). However, a substantial share of this value in 2000 consisted of manually operated technology-augmented manual assembly stations. Manual assembly products, in 2000, held a 20 percent share of equipment value; $144 million; plus an additional 8 percent ($58 million) of nominally manual assembly products integrated into semi-automated equipment.
Over the 2000-2005 span, the fully automated equipment value share will expand rapidly, from 2 percent to 7 percent, and the semi-automated share will expand slightly, from 69 percent or $498 million to 74 percent or $1.27 billion.
"The challenge of converting from manual to semi- or fully-automated assembly of fiber optics, is to achieve a high enough production volume to amortize the assembly line cost at a low cost per unit," ElectroniCast Chairman and Founder Jeff D. Montgomery said. "The required rate depends greatly on the component per-unit price and the labor cost savings that could be achieved by switching to automation. There are very few vendors, 2000-2002, with production rates of 1,000 per day or more of any product family. The near term challenge, therefore, for automated assembly vendors, is to develop product-specific automated assembly lines to sell at an appropriate price level, that can reasonably be amortized with relatively low priced components," Montgomery said.
The automated assembly and test equipment market consists of numerous subsets. Each subset includes a wide range of products, which are discussed in the new study. The fiber alignment and attach equipment led consumption value in 2000, with a 29 percent share, $211 million. In second place, and growing slightly faster, is the equipment for testing, verifying and recording the performance parameters of the components. Impressive growth will be achieved by pick-and-place equipment, and machine vision equipment.
ElectroniCast's report provides a separate forecast for each of the following equipment types:
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