May 11, 2021:

Copper prices climbed to record highs last week, fueled by an expected surge in demand for metals used in manufacturing and construction as the global economy rebounds from the pandemic.

Another round of price hikes is coming this summer.

For the PCB industry, this means heavy and thicker copper core laminates are already in short supply. In fact, some of the smaller copper clad laminate (CCL) suppliers have stopped making that specialty product. If you have a forecasted need for a heavy copper board, better release that P/O soon.

Currently only a few large CCL manufacturers continue to supply the heavy and thick copper core. And boy, does it come at a price. For example, 3 over 3-ounce laminate has increased 60% just since January.

Also, don’t be surprised if your PCB factory is hesitant to even quote heavy copper PCBs, out of fear it may not be able to get the material when needed at order placement.

Standard core material is also seeing its share of price increases and delivery delays. Raw materials delays are adding 3 to 4 weeks to delivery time. So again, if you have a forecasted order, place it sooner rather than later if you want to meet your delivery schedule.

I’ve seen some predictions of raw materials price softening later this year. But for now, it looks to be a long and costly summer for circuit boards.

Need help keeping your PCB pricing reasonable during this crunch time? Reach out to me at greg@boardbuying.com.