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19 October 2017

Electronic Component Lead Time News (October 2017)

Lead times have generally remained constant since our previous update last month but major Discrete and Memory product lines have increased across the board. Discrete manufacturers such as Infineon, On Semiconductor, TI and Vishay are plagued with long lead times and low availability, quoting sizeable increases of up to forty weeks. Supply constraints remain and we would advise purchasing departments to plan in advance or look elsewhere to secure supply.

The Memory sector sees increased lead times once again. Toshiba has had to put their NAND flash products on allocation due to a pause in production in its Japanese plant. Supply constraints remain, with franchise distributors warning that they may be unable to deal with unforcasted demand.

In short

  • Lead times for nearly all discrete devices increase.
  • ST doubles the lead time for its MCU & DSP units. Now at thirty weeks.
  • Toshiba places NAND flash memory products back on allocation.
  • Microchip increase lead times for programmable logic devices to twenty-four weeks – a rise of sixteen weeks.

Analog

The entire analog market has remained stable since our last update (September 2017).

On the surface, this is good news for purchasers looking to source analog products in the coming months. However, the lead times are generally quite high, especially so for certain ON Semiconductor and TI product families, so we would advise buyers to plan well in advance.

Discretes

Unfortunately, lead times have risen across the board with most the major manufacturers posting sizeable increases in the last month.

Those that have enlarged their lead times are Infineon (up to forty weeks), Nexperia (twenty-seven), ON Semiconductor (thirty-two), ST (thirty-eight), TI (twenty-eight), Toshiba (twenty-four) and Vishay (forty).

Infineon, the German semiconductor manufacturer, has posted the biggest increases. The lead times for its thyristor product groups have nearly double, up from twenty-four weeks to forty. Its IGBT devices are now available after a thirty-six week wait, up from twenty-two.

This will do little to help buyers who have had to contend with a constricted market for the majority of 2017 and were hoping of seeing some marked improvements during Q4.

Once again, we would advise you to check with independent distributors to secure immediate stock of discrete products.

Memory

Stories that Toshiba had to pause production circulated earlier this week and those rumours appear to have some substance as the Japanese manufacturer has placed its NAND flash products back on allocation.

Elsewhere, the memory market does appear to be stable, though Micron’s DDR3 devices remain available on an allocation-only basis, as they have been for the past few months.

Optical

There has been no change since our last update in September. Lead times remain relatively low, given overall market conditions.

DSP & Microcontrollers

After a brief period of stabilisation, the availability of DSPs and microcontrollers have decreased somewhat whilst lead times have risen.

After lowering their lead times during the summer, ST Micro has introduced increases across the board. The lead times for both 16-Bit and 32-Bit products are twenty-six weeks but lead times for 8-Bit devices have more than doubled: rising to thirty-weeks from a low of fourteen.

Infineon has also posted an increase in lead times, with their 8-Bit devices now coming with a twenty-week lead time, up from twelve.

Programmable Logic

After dropping lead times of its programmable logic parts to eight weeks last month, Microchip has increased them back up to an eye-watering twenty-four, a sudden move that will likely to catch buyers wrongfooted.

However, while Microchip has increased its lead times, both Texas Instruments and Xilinx have decreased theirs.

Logic

Texas Instruments has doubled its maximum waiting time for standard logic parts since our last check, increasing them from a manageable ten weeks to twenty.

There has also been a rise in Nexperia’s lead times, though their increase is a more mediocre four weeks. The availability of ON Semiconductor logic parts remains static.

 


17 October 2017

Toshiba Reportedly Suspended NAND Flash Production

Toshiba Reportedly Suspended NAND Flash Production

According to a report published by DigiTimes, Toshiba suspended production of NAND flash components in Japan. The article, printed on October 16th, states that Toshiba suspended all operations due to a ransomware attack on its computer network.

It is believed that the Japanese conglomerate put manufacturing on hold for between three and six weeks in order to deal with the hacking, though a public statement on the issues is yet to be released.

A source, working for a franchised distributor, told the newspaper that the suspension resulted in reduced production of nearly 100,000 wafers. The source added that the facilities are now back up and running.

Many analysts believe that Toshiba’s recent woes will impact an already constricted market. It was hoped that supply would improve towards the end of 2017 but this recent shutdown by one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of memory components has created uncertainties. Some sources are expecting lead times and prices to increase in the short term.

The demand for memory – and NAND flash components especially – has been high throughout 2017. This has been due to the increased memory content in smartphones, the growth of memory-heavy sectors such as servers, and manufacturers undergoing an uneasy transition towards new production techniques. The global supply of NAND flash memory fell short of demand in the latter half of 2016, and has remained tight since.

There was an expectation that the availability and inflated pricing would ease in the fourth quarter of the year, however with this incident, such a correction might not occur.


18 September 2017

Electronic Component Lead Time News (September 2017)

Lead times have generally remained constant since our last update, back in July, before the summer shutdowns. There are, of course, some anomalies, with the availability of some analog and discrete product groups diminishing over the past six weeks.

Once again, the DSP and Microcontroller sector is plagued with long lead times and low availability, though these issues have started to stabilise after months of volatility. However, supply constraints remain and we would advise purchasing departments to plan in advance or look elsewhere to secure supply.

In short

  • Sharp rise in lead times for ST Micro discrete product lines (IGBT, Power MOSFETs etc.)
  • Texas Instruments double lead times for certain analog parts.
  • The availability of memory products remains limited through franchise sources. This situation is unlikely to improve before the year-end.
  • The market for standard logic product groups has eased marginally.

Analog

The market situation for analog product families has, by and large, remained stable.

However, there has been one big exception: Texas Instruments has doubled its lead times for Interface and Voltage Regulator lines, with buyers of those products now facing a twelve-to-twenty-four week wait through franchise distribution channels.

This follows similar moves from ON Semiconductor and ST Micro at the start of summer. With lead times now maxing out at twenty-six weeks in this sector, the market situation, whilst stable, remains problematic for buyers.

Discretes

For many discrete devices, the delivery situation remains fairly restricted.

This will do little to help buyers who have had to contend with a tight market for most of the calendar year, though this situation is expected to improve as we head towards Q4 2017.

In the short-term though, buyers will have to contend with extending lead times across multiple product groups as four major manufacturers have increased their lead times in the past six weeks.

Those manufacturers are Fairchild (up to twenty-four weeks), Nexperia (twenty-six), ST Micro (thirty-eight) and Toshiba (twenty).

Power MOSFET products are the most affected by this move and regular purchases of these parts can now expect waits of up to thirty-five weeks, up from twenty-eight at our last update.

Again, we would advise you to check with independent distributors to secure immediate stock of discrete products.

Memory

The memory market remains incredibly volatile and shows no sign of calming down in the immediate future. Lead times appear to be stable, those all of Toshiba’s NAND flash and Micron’s DDR3 products continue to available on an allocation-only basis.

Recommended reading: Tight supply for memory products to remain through 2017

Optical

There has been no change since our last update in July. Lead times have remained static and the majority of Osram LEDs are on allocation.

DSP & Microcontrollers

Lead times and the general availability of DSPs and microcontrollers from franchise distribution have stabilised, though lead times remain extremely high for most product groups.

Once again, ST Micro remains an exception in this sector. After the Swiss-based manufacturer bumped up their lead times to a maximum of twenty-six weeks at the start of the summer, they have since reduced them to fourteen weeks.

Logic

There has been a reduction across the board for lead times, with Fairchild, Nexperia and Texas Instrumentals all bringing down their waiting period since our last check. Fairchild and Nexperia have cut their lead times by four weeks, with Texas Instruments cutting theirs by a fortnight.

Only ON Semiconductor’s lead times have remained static, with their standard logic product groups coming in at sixteen weeks.

Programmable Logic

Purchasers of Microchip-manufactured programmable logic parts will be relieved to hear that lead times have dramatically decreased, dropping down from twenty-four weeks to a more manageable eight.

However, while Microchip has been able to slash its lead times, Texas Instruments has doubled its lead times to a maximum of twenty-four weeks.


15 September 2017

Donald Trump Blocks Lattice Semiconductor Deal

Based in Portland, Oregon, Lattice Semiconductors is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance logic devices, wireless radio chips and video chips.

And late last year, the company announced plans to sell to Canyon Bridge, a fund backed by a Chinese venture capital group, in a deal worth around $1.3bn.

However, the White House has blocked the takeover.

In an official statement released on Wednesday, the Trump administration said that it would not allow Canyon Bridge Capital to purchase the Lattice, citing both national security fears and the integrity of the semiconductor industry as motivating factors for their decision.

The national-security risk posed by the transaction relates to, among other things, the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign acquirer, the Chinese government's role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States Government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States Government," the White House’s statement read.

China is looking to increase its global reach in a bid to support and improve the country’s economic growth. The semiconductor industry has been a key part of this program and Chinese investment firms have made steps to acquire overseas chip firms and enter partnerships with western tech giants.

Darin G. Billerbeck, CEO of Lattice Semiconductor, commented on the decision, saying: “While it is disappointing that we were not able to prevail, the Board and I would like to thank Canyon Bridge for their support during this time.”

By blocking the takeover, many business analysts have noted that President Trump is taking direct aim at China’s industrial policy.


01 September 2017

Talks continue as Toshiba misses sale deadline

Toshiba may not be able to sign off a $17.5 billion deal to sell its prized memory chip business by a self-imposed deadline of the beginning of September, news sources claim.

The Japanese conglomerate said in a statement that talks will continue.

“Toshiba intends to continue negotiations with possible bidders to reach a definitive agreement which meets Toshiba’s objectives at the earliest possible date,” it said.

However, because of no deal being agreed ahead of the 31st August, city analysts believe that Toshiba will be forced to post a capital deficit for the second straight year. Such a result would see the company be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

If that were to happen, Toshiba’s main creditors could pull funding and financial support as current deals are contingent to the company’s continued listing.

Toshiba has been trying to sell the business for months in a bid to secure its financial viability moving forwards and cover the impact of over $6 billion of liabilities the company holds due to the collapse of its U.S. nuclear unit, Westinghouse.

Sources close to the deal told Reuters that discussions with Western Digital were in the final stages, but the two parties could not agree on the U.S. company’s future stake in the business.

Because of this, rival bidders are making last-minute attempts to hijack the deal.

Reuters has reported that Bain Capital has partnered with tech giant Apple to resubmit a bid, worth $18 billion – half a billion more than what Western Digital was offering. At the same time, Foxconn (formerly known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) has teamed up with SoftBank and Google to present a bid of its own.

But despite the Bain Capital offer being more lucrative than the others, Toshiba is believed to prefer working towards an agreement with Western Digital’s group, as existing legal challenges make it difficult to explore any other advances.

The longer that this carries on, the further that Toshiba and Western Digital, the second and third biggest producers of NAND flash memory, will fall behind the industry leaders, Samsung.

Thanks to inflated market pricing, Samsung has recently overtaken Intel to become the world’s biggest manufacturer of semiconductors and they are pouring billions of dollars into production and R&D to maintain their market position.

“Samsung has been buying up advanced production equipment for next generation three-dimensional NAND chips,” Satoru Oyama, a senior research analyst at IHS said.

According to our latest lead time information, Toshiba’s memory products remain on allocation due to a mixture of demand and capacity issues.

Elsewhere, Fujitsu and Cypress products come with a lead time of up to twenty weeks, while certain Micron DDR2 and DDR3 lines have also been placed on allocation.

Cyclops Electronics can help you overcome lead time issues, be they associated with memory modules, microprocessors or analog product groups. With 177,252 lines in stock, all ready for next-day shipping, speak to a member of our team today.


25 August 2017

Tight Supply for Memory Products Expected Through 2017

Regular purchases of memory components, especially DRAM modules, will continue to experience tight supply and market volatility throughout the rest of the year.

Despite memory manufacturers making moves to increase production capacity, independent industry research firms have predicted that prices will continue to rise during Q3 and Q4 of 2017 as demand outstrips supply.

DRAMeXchange has pointed towards the release of new devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung, combined with traditional peak sales seasons, is the primary factor behind this spike. However, there are other factors at play, namely the temporary suspension of Micron’s foundry at the beginning of the summer.

The foundry was only out of operation for a couple of weeks and resumed production in mid-July, but this downtime will have a knock-on effect,

“In total, Micron Technology lost around 50,000 pieces of DRAM wafers,” explains Avril Wu, a research director at DRAMeXchange. “As the DRAM market heats up again in the year’s second half…. this loss will exacerbate the undersupply situation.

“The chance of a worsening supply shortage in the DRAM marketing in September will depend on Micron’s ability to offset the wafer loss,” Wu added.

The memory sector has been a significant driving force behind the semiconductor sector’s strong growth figures this year. Because of an increase in demand and accompanying sales revenue, IC Insights has pinpointed memory – specifically DRAM modules – as being the fastest growing segment in 2017.

Such is the expected growth, IC insights, the semiconductor research firm, believes that the DRAM market will increase by 55% this year.

However, this upturn in demand has caught the major manufacturers wrong-footed.

“Suppliers,” Wu states, “do not appear to have plans to expand their production capacities on a significant scale between now and the end of the year.”

SK Hynix’s Chief Operating Officer commented on this issue in a webcast, stating: “Suppliers who can significantly increase capacity do not have enough clean room to do so and the pressing need to invest in 3D NAND will leave less financial room for investment.”

This situation will not only keep prices high but, as Mark Liu, a fellow analyst at DRAMeXchange, claims, supply will remain tight for the foreseeable future.

Naturally, this means problems sourcing stock through franchise channels.

As a result, the average selling prices for DRAM components have remained higher than normal during Q2 2017 and DRAMeXchange believes that this upward trend will only continue during Q3 and Q4.

With the cost of memory products increasing and set to remain high through the rest of the year, limited supply and lead times down as being 28-weeks in some cases, it would make sense to broaden your supply chain to secure the stock that you need during these adverse market conditions.

Cyclops Electronics, a leading independent stocking distributor of electronics components, can move quickly to locate and secure quantities of memory products for you.

With 177,232 lines held in stock and access to a further ten million lines through our global search database, we can help you overcome problems associated with lead times, obsolescence and allocation.


21 July 2017

Electronic Component Lead Time News (July 2017)

Generally speaking, lead times have remained constant since our previous update last month with only ST’s product lines increasing across the board. However, upon closer inspection, there has been a number of small but significant fluctuations that could seriously impact supply chains in the medium- and long-term.

Once again, the DSP and Microprocessor sector has seen availability on key product lines continue to contract. Supply constraints remain, with franchise distributors warning that they may be unable to deal with unforcasted demand.

In short

  • There has been a sharp rise in lead times for ON Semiconductor and ST Micro analog product lines.
  • Micron places DDR2 memory products on allocation.
  • Lead times for microcontroller and DSP lines are increasing, adding to an already constrained supply chain.

Analog

In our previous lead time update, we noted that industry figures were forecasting that the availability of ST Micro and ON Semiconductor product lines would decrease. Unfortunately, those predictions have turned out to be true as the two manufacturers have both increased lead times (twenty weeks for ST Micro, twenty-six weeks for ON Semiconductor,)

Discretes

There has been a fair amount of fluctuation regarding the lead times and pricing of discrete product groups. Thankfully, though, most of these changes appear to be minimal and should not be a problem to the majority of purchasing departments.

But as there has not been a decrease in lead times, we would advise you to check with independent distributors to secure stock, should it be required for an urgent production run – especially for ON Semiconductor product families. as franchise sources are excepting costs to rise in the short-term.

Memory

Once again, all of Toshiba’s NAND Flash products remain on available only through allocation and this situation is showing no signs of changing in the immediate future so plan your purchasing patterns accordingly.

Elsewhere, Micron’s DDR3 lines stay on allocation and these are joined by some DDR2 lines while Microchip has bumped up their lead times for their Eprom and EEprom products to a maximum of seventeen weeks.

Other manufacturers such as Fujitsu, IDT and Samsung have remained stable.

Optical

Lead times for the major opto product groups have remained static since our last update in June.

The main cause for concern in this area is the number of Osram lines that have either remained or been placed on allocation, though according to our information certain product lines will be removed come Q3 2017. This remains scant comfort for those who have been waiting patiently, however.

DSP & Microcontrollers

We have seen that lead times in this area have risen yet again, continuing a trend that dates back to the start of the year. Only Microchip and Texas Instruments have managed to keep lead time stable, with all the other major manufacturers in this sector posting incremental increase to ease existing supply constraints.

The one exception to this is ST Micro, with the Swiss-based company pushing their lead times out to a maximum of twenty-six weeks for their 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit product groups.

As per our statement last month, we would advise people to keep a close eye on this area for a sustained period of allocation could be on the cards if current market demand does not ease.

Logic

The logic market has remained stable, with no changes reported to either lead times or price through franchise channels.


27 June 2017

Toshiba Favours Bain Capital-led Group to Purchase its Chip Business

After months of speculation, Toshiba Corp has chosen its preferred bidders for its profitable chip business.

The successful party is a consortium of Bain Capital, a multi-assent investment firm, and a group of investors linked to the Japanese government. They will now move forward and attempt to finalise a deal estimated to be worth £14.2 billion.

Sources close to the matter have told Reuters that Bain Capital is set to be the biggest investor in terms of equity, stumping up a figure believed to be £6 billion.

Interestingly, the consortium’s bid was not the largest on the table. That honour went to the U.S. chipmaker Broadcom and its private equity partner, Silver Lake. However, this union did not have the implicit backing and visible support of the Japanese government, who want to keep the semiconductor technology under domestic control.

Additionally, many analysts believe that any deal could only be completed with the aid of Japanese government due to its complexity.

In a separate statement made earlier, Toshiba said that it would take into consideration concerns relating to the transfer of technology and the job security of its Japanese workforce. These comments gave the impression that Toshiba was willing to prefer a domestic-based buyer, rather than a foreign-based one that might threaten jobs and IP security.

As noted previously, Bain Capital will be the consortium’s largest investor. However, the investment firm is likely to receive some financial assistance from SK Hynix, the South Korean chipmaker.

A spokesperson for SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of flash memory parts, confirmed that the company helped the consortium to ‘seek new business opportunities’ but declined to give further details.

Other known investors include the Innovation Network Corp of Japan, the Development Bank of Japan and the core banking unit of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

It is believed that Toshiba wishes to seal an agreement by the end of this month, to coincide with its annual shareholder's meeting.

However, the likelihood of such an agreement being ratified in the short term appears to be slim as Western Digital, an existing partner of Toshiba, has launched a legal challenge in a bid to prevent any deal taking place with its consent.

Toshiba said it was open to discussing the dispute with Western Digital, but insiders believe that it is unlikely to change stance on the status of its preferred bidder.

If those talks are not successful, then it could mean that both Western Digital and Toshiba will have to appear in court. A provision date of July 14th has been scheduled.

The availability of Toshiba’s semiconductors, including its popular lines of memory components, is likely to be static. Unfortunately, though for purchasers around the world, that means those long lead times are going to remain for the foreseeable future.


26 June 2017

Memory shortages to remain until 2018, analysts predict

The global shortage of memory products looks likely to remain in place until late 2018, industry analysts and sources have said.

It is believed that the world’s biggest firms, such as Apple and Samsung (both of whom are believed to be releasing new flagship devices this year), will largely be unaffected due to their exceptionally strong purchasing power.

With Tier One manufacturers being prioritised, this will mean that other companies will see their supply chains become additionally constrained.

LG Electronics, the multinational electronics company, admitted in a statement that they have shifted their purchasing plans, due to current market conditions.

“After the supply shortages emerged we brought forward our procurement decisions….to ensure a stable supply,” the South Korea firm said. It is believed that LG has moved their existing strategy by about a month.

However, simply moving forward purchasing decisions is unlikely to be a fruitful endeavour for the majority of purchasers. Some analysts have predicted that device makers could be forced to reduce the amount of DRAM and NAND chips that their products use if availability does not improve.

“The problem will be more acute for the NAND market,” an anonymous industry source told the Reuters news agency. “

The iPhone remains a critical source of demand given the huge sales volumes and recent moves to increase the storage capacity on the device.”

Apple is believed to be responsible for around 18% of the world’s total supply of NAND chips. In years gone by, many OEMs and distributors had made moves to build up their inventory in the first half of the year to avoid ‘competing’ with Apple, which typically starts manufacturing in the summer for a mid-Autumn product launch.

However, the current shortage situation has caught many people out – including Apple.

Despite not being confirmed, the consensus is that Apple has struggled to source and secure all the parts that they will require for an upcoming production run. This, naturally, has had a knock-on effect on the entire electronics industry.

Although not widespread, signs of supply chains being squeezed to breaking point have started to emerge.

Earlier this year, Huawei was criticised by consumers after it was discovered that it had used a mixture of memory components in its flagship P10 phone, leading to a significant variation in performance from device to device.

In a bid to help improve the availability of key memory components, chip makers have started to allocate additional capital to help increase production. Samsung Electronics, for example, will open a $14 billion facility in South Korea later this year and another memory giant, SK Hynix, will begin to make its new NAND lines in the coming months.

Speaking to Reuters, an official representing SK Hynix admitted that current market conditions were ‘tight’, noting that its own inventory levels at a historic low.

But despite the best efforts of chip manufacturers, industry analysts believe that any meaningful new influx of parts will not arrive on the market until 2018 – at the earliest.

Additional reading

With 177,232 stocked line items available for next-day delivery and access to a further 10 million lines through our global procurement network,

Cyclops Electronics can source the parts you need to keep your production lines running. As well as being a leading independent stocking distributor, we can also help our customers with long-term purchasing plans.

Our dedicated scheduled service can help you secure all the stock you need and release it to suit your production runs.


21 June 2017

EU to Look At The Qualcomm-NXP Deal

Last October, a press release appeared on Qualcomm’s website.

“Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) and NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) today announced a definitive agreement…under which Qualcomm will acquire NXP” it began.

However, that deal, struck after months of negotiations, has not yet formally been completed.

Earlier this week, the EU’s competition regulator announced that it will take a closer look at the $47bn takeover.

The reason for the inquiry is that concerns have been raised that the acquisition and subsequent merger of two leading semiconductor manufacturers could be bad for both consumers and innovators.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, said: “As semiconductors are used in practically every electronic device, we are dependent on them.

“With this investigation, we want to ensure that consumers will continue to benefit from secure and innovative products at competitive prices.”

The EU also said, on Friday, that it had fears that the combined Qualcomm and NXP entity could exclude rival suppliers, increase royalties and therefore impose artificial price rises.

This news comes at a bad time for Qualcomm because the San Diego-based company is already fighting one antitrust battle in America with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the use of “anticompetitive” tactics. At the same time, Qualcomm has become embroiled with an ongoing legal case with Apple.

A secondary area of focus of the EU Commission is believed to be on the potential for merging Qualcomm’s wireless processors with NXP’s Near Field Communication (NFC) chips, which together are used in mobile payment systems.

Responding to the opening of the investigation, a spokesperson for Qualcomm said that “it is confident that it can address the [EU’s] concerns.”

“The acquisition is complementary, and driven by the belief that the combined efforts of the two companies with produce even greater innovation than they would alone,” Qualcomm added.

Qualcomm believes that the process will be completed by the end of the year, allowing them to formally complete and close their acquisition of the Dutch-based NXP.

The European watchdog aims to make an official decision by October, though, of course, this could get delayed. The American counterpart to the EU’s competition regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, okayed the deal back in April.


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