circuit_board.jpgIf you can't beat them, joint them. Endicott Interconnect Technologies, a mid-sized US manufacturer of printed circuit boards, has struck a deal with Taiwan's Lorom Industrial Co. to jointly run a facility in Shenzhen.

EI wants to win more high-volume commercial PCB manufacturing, much of which has migrated from the west to low-cost Asian suppliers in recent years.

EI has leased 40,000 sq ft of production space from Lorom in its Shenzhen facility and installed production equipment to support this operation. EI will provide all materials, technical know-how and training while Lorom will be responsible for facility maintenance, production staff and general support.

The US company will maintain control of the design, specifications, quality requirements, sales and technical support worldwide for the products.

The arrangement is expected to result in more work for EI from customers who have previously turned elsewhere for high-volume, low-cost PCB manufacturing.

EI was set up in 2002 when IBM sold its “captive” PCB manufacturing facility, based in the historic IBM location of Endicott, New York State, to a group of local investors. The purchase of the plant was largely funded by state economic development aid and so the decision, five years on, to shift work — and presumably jobs — to China has attracted criticism locally.

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