San Mateo, Calif., Jan. 16 -- Global consumption of fiber optic component assembly equipment and test units will advance to $1.71 billion in 2005, according to a study by market forecaster ElectroniCast. From 2000-2005, the fully automated equipment value share will expand rapidly, from 2 percent to 7 percent, and the semiautomated share will expand slightly, from 69 percent or $498 million to 74 percent or $1.27 billion, according to the company's report, "Automated Assembly and Test of Fiber Optic Components."
"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 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. The near-term challenge 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."