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Why does carbide drill market grow even in the COVID-19 era?(1/2)

January 26, 2021

Demand for semiconductors and 5G boosts PCB drills

Production volume of cemented carbide drill has been growing in Japan. The production value of cemented carbide drills decreased, but the production volume continued to increase in 2020 during COVID-19 spreading. why? The editorial department of News Digest Publishing, which publishes  SEISANZAI Japan, researched what happened in the market. As a result, it became clear that the printed circuit board (PCB) drills are likely to have boosted the production volume of cemented carbide drills.

Cemented carbide drills show different behavior from others

Many industries were hit by the impact of COVID-19 spreading. The cutting tool industry is no exception, but only cemented carbide drills are different from other industries. The bar graph above summarizes the changes in the production volume and value of cemented carbide drills in Japan from October 2015 to September 2020 based on the machinery statistics of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Production volume did not decrease even in the COVID-19 era, actually increased steadily throughout the five years. On the other hand, the production value gradually increased before COVID-19 spreading, but dropped sharply in 2020. For comparison, the reporter also looked at trends in carbide end mills and high-speed drills. However, in both cases, production volume and production value were declining at the same pace in 2020.

Why did the carbide drill show such a unique movement? It is reasonable to assume that carbide drills with low price have been mass-produced. However, when our staff  reporter conducted a hearing survey with people involved in several cutting tool makers, some people said that the PCB drill market might have grown.

The second part of this article will be uploaded on January 27th.

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