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Showing posts tagged '5g'


29 September 2021

Communications including 5G will drive the components market

5G

According to IC Insights, the communication sector’s share of integrated circuit sales reached 35% in 2020 and is expected to grow to 36.5% by 2025. For perspective, the automotive sector’s share of integrated circuit sales was 7.5% in 2020 and will grow to 9.8% by 2025 - significantly less than communications.

Industry tailwinds

What’s driving such high demand for ICs in the communications sector?

There are four big tailwinds:

  • 5G
  • Edge computing
  • Internet of Things
  • AI (artificial intelligence), MI (machine learning) and data analytics

5G

5G is the main driver for components demand, with 5G infrastructure rollout happening slowly, but surely. We are nowhere near a complete version of 5G, and networks are in a race against time to deliver a reliable service.

The first step for networks is replacing low-band 4G spectrum, followed by mid-band spectrum that uses 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 GHz, enabling faster data speeds. The final step is the rollout of millimetre wave, which enables true 5G speeds. Millimetre wave also happens to be a precursor for next-generation 6G.

On top of 5G infrastructure rollout you have more 5G-enabled devices coming to market, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Smartphones, in particular, are leading the way for 5G adoption, putting faster data in our hands.

The rapid growth in IC demand in the communications sector also stretches to other components like modems, memory and antennas. 5G isn’t just an IC boon - it’s a boon for all the electronic components needed for 5G. 

Edge computing

Second to 5G we have edge computing, which by a miraculous twist of fate is needed to deliver a 5G experience (and needs a whole lot of components).

Edge computing puts compute capabilities relatively close to end users and/or IoT endpoints. In doing so, it reduces latency, while 5G delivers faster data speeds, providing a seamless experience on certain devices.

Internet of Things

IoT describes a network of connected smart devices that communicate with each other. For example, a vital sign monitor in a hospital could communicate with medicine dispensers and automate medicine dosages for doctors.

The Internet of Things has been talked about as a trend for several years, but we now have real applications that are useful.

AI (artificial intelligence), MI (machine learning) and data analytics

AI (artificial intelligence), MI (machine learning) and data analytics require enormous, powerful data centres to power them. These data centres require significant investment in chips, memory and other electronic components.

Also, AI, MI and data analytics need cloud computing, edge computing and in some cases 5G to deliver a real-time experience.

The future

By 2025, the communications sector is forecast to have a 36.5% usage share of integrated circuits, making it the biggest consumer of semiconductors.

Demand for integrated circuits, discrete circuits, optoelectronics and sensors will grow to an all-time highs thanks to the industry tailwinds in this article. The future is bright, but to stay ahead, a robust supply chain will be needed.

Electronic components distributors like Cyclops are helping supply meet demand, while the communications sector battles to secure chip orders. Call us today at +44 (0) 01904 415 415 or email sales@cyclops-electronics.com 

Tags: communication automotive ics 5g edge computing internet of things components ic demand modems memory and antennas artificial intelligence machine learning data analytics integrated circuits


21 July 2021

Perfect storm' creates electronic component shortages

components

A perfect storm has hit the electronic components market, creating supply chain problems that will be felt for several years.

The perfect storm

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most electronic component manufacturers were running at 95-98% capacity.

This high demand for electronic components was fuelled by growth in technologies like automation and the Internet of Things - technologies that are only in their infancy now but will mature in the next decade.

This high manufacturing output was felt across all types of components, especially chips (semiconductors, memory) and integrated circuits. It was even difficult to get a hold of some active and passive components in 2019.

Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Car manufacturers and other manufacturers affected by shutdowns paused orders for electronic components. Meanwhile, manufacturers benefitting from lockdowns scaled up.

Now, with the development and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, industries that shut down have opened up again. But there’s a problem - demand for electronics has not wavered and there isn’t enough manufacturing capacity to serve everyone.

Quite simply, there isn’t enough bread to go around.

Demand is ramping up

We are now in a situation where electronic components manufacturers are running at 99-100% capacity. Demand has soared for all types of components, from chips and memory to diodes and displays. This is squeezing most supply chains.

There are so many contributors to this squeeze. Emerging technologies like AI, automation, virtual reality, augmented reality and machine learning are fuelling demand for smarter chips and data centre modernisation, while technologies like 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are demanding infrastructure rollout, which requires a significant effort.

When it comes to chips, however, cars are the biggest users. Cars can have as many as 22,000 multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) each. This will increase as cars get smarter (a self-driving taxi sounds great, but it’ll need around 30,000 chips).

Suppliers are slowly adapting

There have been years of under-investment in new foundries and plants. This under-investment has affected manufacturing capacity today.

To their credit, most manufacturers are looking to expand capacity by setting up new foundries or acquiring plants. Trouble is that most plants take years to set up. Some plants that started a build-in in 2017 are still being built.

Staffing is also an issue. The biggest challenge suppliers face is social distancing and COVID prevention policies, which have reduced staff numbers in many factories.

You can’t automate every process in a factory, so it is a given that having limited staff will increase lead times. Some manufacturers have been harder hit than others with this, but all will experience staff shortages during the pandemic.

In addition to this, freight has become more challenging during the pandemic. Things are taking longer to move and there are fewer commercial flights. Global shipping rates have skyrocketed during the pandemic because of this. Higher shipping rates have contributed to price increases for most electronic components.

Weathering the storm

We predicted the electronics component shortage in early 2020 following the UK Government’s national lockdown. We knew supply chains would be squeezed and stretched due to changes in economic output and industry trends.

The best way to weather the storm is to work with us or another reputable electronic components distributor. We focus on delivering outstanding service, with industry-leading quality and dependability. Call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat.

Tags: covid-19 high demand semiconductors car manufacturers demand has soared emerging technologies ai automation virtual reality augmented reality machine learning 5g and wi-fi 6 mlccs


14 July 2021

Active Electronic Components Market Growing Demand

active

Active electronic component demand is soaring. The market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% during 2021-2026, fuelled by new technologies and faster and more globally available internet connectivity.

What’s driving it?

An explosion of new products with AI and IoT support and tailwinds like 5G are fuelling demand for active components.

Semiconductor devices, optoelectronic devices, and display technologies are significant applications. Examples include smart home appliances, virtual reality headsets, connected medical devices, and electronic ordering systems.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of active components in high demand:

  • Diodes
  • Transistors
  • Integrated circuits
  • Optoelectronics
  • Sensors
  • Digital and analogue circuits
  • Batteries and power supplies
  • Generators
  • Vacuum tubes
  • CRT / LCD / VFD / TFT / LED displays

The increasing trends of the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual/augmented reality are expected to fuel demand for active electronic components for years to come.

Challenges lie ahead

This growing demand is not without its challenges. How will manufacturers get a hold of active electronic components if there isn’t enough to go around? Will geopolitical tensions affect supply? How will COVID-19 play a role in the future?

COVID-19

COVID-19 can create supply chain and market disruption and have a financial impact on firms and financial markets. If the virus persists in causing global disruption, this is likely to cause a shortage of active components in the future.

Geopolitical tensions

The US and China’s trade war in 2020 affected chip supplies around the world. Geopolitical tensions remain a risk in the future. Who knows if certain brands will be banned? It’s important that manufacturers stay in the loop to avoid supply chain problems.

Manufacturing bottlenecks

The world is advancing at a rapid rate and electronics components manufacturers are struggling to keep up. While investment in new factories is ongoing, demand may exceed manufacturing capacity, causing a shortage of components.

Price increases

Inflation is making everything more expensive. Add wildly fluctuating exchange rates and increasing demand for active components and you have the perfect recipe for price increases. This could cause a bidding war.

Active components and the future

The future is filled with more technology than you can imagine. Everything will be connected, including your car to your smartphone and your TV speakers to your smart home assistant (e.g. Alexa). Anything electronic can have a chip these days and you can bet innovators will find a way to make everything smart and connected.

With the active electronic components market predicted to increase in value significantly over the next five years, it is essential that companies have a reliable way to source the active components they need.

This is not a matter of beating the competition but a matter of staying operational amid impending shortages. The current chip shortage is a prime example of what can happen if a perfect storm of industry issues occurs.

If you need to source active electronic components, we can help. Email us if you have any questions or call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat with our team.

Tags: active electronic ai and iot support 5g semiconductor devices optoelectronic devices display technologies covid-19 geopolitical tensions manufacturing bottlenecks price increases


24 March 2021

MLCC supply is beginning to tighten?

capacitor

Multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) are used in many electronics from smartphone screens to laser guidance systems. There was a prolonged lull in demand for MLCCs stretching from 2019 through to 2020, however supply is now tightening and lead times for new components are extending.

This has caused some concern with those who use MLCCs to manufacture products. Will supply continue to tighten? When will it let up? These are good questions. The answer lies in understanding why supply is tightening.

Demand for MLCCs is tightening for several reasons:

  • Demand from the automotive sector is increasing
  • Demand from the communications and transport sectors is increasing
  • Global inventories are depleting
  • Supply chain challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Manufacturing bottlenecks due to facilities running at maximum capacity

Increased demand

The main reason for supply tightening is an increased demand from the communications and transport sectors. These sectors consume over half of the world’s MLCC supply and the rollout of 5G is accelerating demand.

The global automotive market is also a big consumer of MLCCs. MLCCs are being used extensively in modern cars. Applications include in battery management, chargers, heater controllers and energy converters. Electric cars use MLCCs because they are reliable and can be surface mounted directly to boards.

Inventory depletion

Inventory management has been a difficult task what with 2020 throwing COVID-19 into the works. This hit the MLCC supply chain like a train. Demand dropped off. This led to suppliers correcting inventory levels and sometimes overcorrecting. When demand increased towards the back end of 2020, supply chains got exposed.

It is difficult to correct inventory when not enough MLCCs are being made. For every 10 that are made 8 get put into use immediately. This leaves little fat left.

Increasing lead times

All of this means increased lead times for MLCCs. Many electronic components suppliers and distributors have them on back order. Some types of MLCC have lead times extending over several months (a long time in a supply chain).

For example, large case (≥ 0603) low-CV commercial-grade MLCC lead times are around 22 weeks. This is a very long time. The only units that are in good supply are small case size (≤ 0402) low-CV commercial-grade MLCCs which are available now.

How can you meet demand?

As 2021 gets underway, we predict that MLCC supply will tighten. Inventories will get stretched and manufacturers will struggle to get a hold of the components they need. Now that you know this, you can prepare.

The best way to assure a healthy MLCC supply is to work with a global distribution partner like us. When you need to source hard-to-find electronic components quickly because of allocation, long lead times, obsolescence, or quality issues, we are here to help. We will work with you to source the MLCCs you need. Go to our home page to use our component search tool and enquire with us today https://www.cyclops-electronics.com/. 

We work with all industry sectors, including the communications, transport, and automotive sectors, to source electronic components. We specialise in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts with on-time delivery.

Tags: multilayer ceramic capacitors mlccs automotive sector inventories transport sectors 5g allocation long lead times obsolescence quality issues


06 January 2021

Active and passive components to see strong 5G-driven demand

5G Technology and drones - The future taking flight

As the international rollout of 5G picks up pace, active and passive component demand is increasing at a rate of knots.

The buildout of 5G infrastructure requires significant investment in active and passive components for a wide range of different devices.

Examples include active antennas with integrated RF radio designs, small cell power base stations, C-RAN architecture and semiconductors.

One of the challenges faced with the 5G rollout this year has been COVID-19, which had immediate effects on global supply in demand. Some of the side effects included increased costs, a slowdown in logistics, and a squeeze on demand.

While these challenges were significant in early 2020 and are likely to remain for some time, the macroeconomics are unlikely to persist in their worst form.

Right now, the manufacturing sector in most countries is bouncing back fast and many manufacturers are having their best ever quarter.

A good example is Taiwan Semiconductor, who are the largest semiconductor foundry in the world. Then you have smaller but vital players like MaxLinear, who make wireless, PON, DSL, and terrestrial products for high-speed internet.

How 5G is driving demand for active and passive components

You can think of 5G as a tide that is going to raise all ships, and active and passive components manufacturers are the ships that will benefit from it most because they will make the components that build out the 5G infrastructure.

It’s easy to see why this is the case with a short list of active and passive components. Let’s start with examples of passive components first:

  • Resistors
  • Inductors
  • Capacitors
  • Transformers

Now let’s list a few active components:

  • Generators
  • Transistors
  • Diodes
  • Inductors / coils

Now let’s look at a few of the components that will build out 5G:

  • Semiconductors
  • Antennas
  • Radio towers
  • RF receivers
  • Fibreoptic cable

Looking at these lists, it’s easy to see why 5G is driving such strong demand for active and passive components.

Can the components sector keep pace?

There are so many different manufacturers of electronic components that it is unlikely that the rollout of 5G will trouble the manufacturing sector.

However, local supply problems may exist for some enterprises. For example, a supplier of radio frequency devices in China may have to temporary shut production at a factory due to a fire or a health hazard. This would affect supply.

The best way for those involved in the rollout of 5G to safeguard their supply of active and passive components is to use an electronic component distributor. Electronic component distributor specialise in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts, so they can ensure you always have what you need.

A faster, more connected future awaits

5G will revolutionise our use of the internet in more ways than one, but the buildout is going to take time. Demand for active and passive components is at an all-time high, and competition is increasing for the best components. Having a component distributor on your side is a good way to ensure you can meet the challenge.

Click Here to use our fast component search and enquire with us today!

Tags: passive components active components 5g electronic components


16 December 2020

What does the future hold for the electronic component industry?

The future of the electronic component industry looks very healthy indeed thanks to tailwinds from 5G, robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, edge computing and several other emerging technologies.

A few of the companies destined to benefit from the advancement of these technologies include Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Würth Elektronik, Eaton Corp, Micron, MaxLinear, Hitachi and Qualcomm. There are hundreds more who are operating foundries and factories at maximum capacity to meet demand already.

Key to meeting the demand is an increase in manufacturing capability, which many companies will have to build through capital expenditure. We are already seeing an increase in investment from many of the aforementioned companies.

As for electronic component distributors, the phrase “a rising tide raises all ships” is a perfect expression. Component distributors like us will see an increase in demand in the future as our world becomes more technology-focussed.

These are the technologies that we see fuelling electronic component growth in the near future (we already mentioned a few in our opening paragraph):

  • 5G
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Big data
  • Edge computing
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Biotechnology
  • Batteries and power
  • Displays
  • Semiconductors and GPUs
  • Automated driving
  • Consumer electronics: VR, AR, smartphones, tablets

Every infrastructure, and every product, will need a unique set of electronic components in its design. Factories and foundries will make the components, and electric component distributors will help manufacturers source them.

Meeting the uptick in demand

There’s one certainty in the electronics industry: demand on components increases as technologies become more complex. We see this with semiconductors, which are getting smaller (2nm), with 5G, which requires more components than 4G, and in robotics, which require powerful Lidar guidance systems.

To meet this uptick in demand, there are companies that specialise in making specific components and machines.

For example, Axcelis Technologies, headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, makes ion implant equipment vital to semiconductor fabrication. Then we have Micron, who recently announced high-density 3D NAND flash memory.

The innovation and investment in new technologies from leading companies is a clear sign that the electronic component industry is not just healthy, but thriving, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The role of electronic component distributors

Our place in all this as an electronic component distributor is to help our customers (who include OEMs, foundries, factories and assemblers) to source the components they need to operate their business.

We are crucial to our customers because we are a global distributor. We enable industry players to buy electronic components with confidence at competitive prices, and our links in the industry allow our customers to gain a competitive edge.

As demand has increased for electronic components, competition has intensified, and it really isn’t uncommon for companies to have to bid for components. This is the result of a market that doesn’t produce enough components for certain applications. We exist to help all companies source the components they need.

With us, you get a fast response to your enquiries and reliable on time delivery. There’s no better partner to have on your side.

Click Here and visit our site today to use our fast component search tool and enquire with us today!

 

Tags: 5g robotics automation ai electronic components


02 December 2020

How “Chiplets” May Help the Future of Semiconductor Technology

Chiplets

The global demand for semiconductors is accelerating faster than a speeding bullet, with integrated device manufacturers, systems companies, and foundries like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company making a killing.

This accelerating demand is largely fuelled by the rollout of 5G infrastructure and the increasingly connected devices we use on a daily basis. From semi-autonomous driving aids to the connected home, semiconductors power our digital lives. They are the brains of every smart electronics operation.

In the semiconductor industry, advancements come fast. Some companies have been painfully slow to react to change. Intel is a good example - they have fluffed the development of their 7nm chips and are stuck at 12nm, while AMD already has 7nm chips and is on course to deliver a 5nm chip. Nvidia is even further ahead.  

Chiplets

Chiplets are a proven (but niche) way for semiconductor developers to make semiconductors more efficient and easier to produce.

As semiconductors get more advanced, they get smaller. At a sub 10nm scale, foundries have to be spotlessly clean. This brings with it manufacturing complexities. Also, the smaller transistors get, the more likely they are to fail.

You can increase the yield of dies with small transistors by reducing the overall size. But as you reduce the size of the die, you have less space for the transistors.

So, one solution is Chiplets. Chiplets are smaller functional dies that integrate multiple chiplets into a single semiconductor. By giving functions of their own circuits (sub-circuits) we can remove design complexity and focus on efficiency.

Maximising yield reduces the cost

Using chiplets maximises the yield of dies and reduces design complexity, which in turn reduces manufacturing cost. To give you an idea of how much, AMD says chiplet designs can cut costs by more than half. 50%! That’s an astonishing saving and worth the effort if it also means keeping up with technological change.

(For what it’s worth, AMD uses chiplet design in its Zen 2 and Ryzen chips. The idea being that taking smaller dies and putting them together improves yield).

Intel is also a fan of chiplet design, and they have a vision for advancing it further, where instead of multiple dies, each IP has its own building block. This creates a more modular and flexible configuration. Here’s an illustration:

chiplet internal image

This is an exciting technology because the chiplets with IP/SOC are considerably smaller than the chiplets used in multiple dies. The benefit of this is you can configure the chiplets in more ways and maintain a common architecture.

Chiplets - the future, or not?

Chiplet design is already being used by AMD, and Nvidia has said they will go chiplet when it’s economically viable to do so. This means two of the three biggest CPU and GPU companies on the planet are on the chiplet train. As for Intel, they are too - but it looks like they will go their own way to build the chiplet model they want.

Clearly, chiplets are here to stay. Scaling chips with monolithic dies will always be a thing, but it gets expensive with advanced nodes. Chiplets are necessary to break up the cost and deliver the massive number of chips our connected world needs.

Tags: electronic components chiplets semiconductors 5g


14 September 2020

5G Technology and drones - The future taking flight

5G Technology and drones - The future taking flight

5G Technology and drones - The future taking flight

The last decade has seen the commercial market for drones explode. The global drone market was estimated by PWC in 2016 to be worth just under £100 billion ($127bn) and that was 4 years ago, before the emergence of 5G technology.

Rapid advancements in the propulsion, navigation, sensory and battery systems that power drones has brought about the likes of drone delivery services, aerial photography, and a new way to conduct mountain search and rescue operations.

These varied examples of drone applications perfectly illustrates the real usefulness of drones. Key to their adoption has been lithium-ion batteries that charge rapidly and better navigation systems that enable pinpoint control.

However, as drones have been increasingly adopted, our data transfer needs have increased and 4G technology has been shown up to be less than ideal.  

The need for 5G

5G can theoretically reach speeds of 10 gigabits per second and it is expected to reliably offer 1 Gbit/s to 2 Gbit/s in a few years.

This is much faster than 4G. For drones, it means faster data transfer and data collection, enabling real-time analysis and access to big data files quickly.

However, while much has been made about the increased speed of 5G over 4G (it is up to 100 times faster than 4G) the real value for drones is the lower latency.

Latency is the lag that occurs when resources are requested over a network. For example, you might wish to check wind speed when flying, but when you request the data, it takes a few seconds to load. This delay is caused by latency across the network.

Latency for 4G is around 30 milliseconds, whereas with 5G it’s below 5 milliseconds. In a best case scenario, the latency can be 1 millisecond.

This latency improvement is massive for drones. It makes reliable live view and live streaming possible. Real-time footage becomes a reality. Load times become imperceptible and responsiveness increases between devices.

Another area where 5G benefits drones is the 5G New Radio interface, which enables a higher number of devices to be used in one area over a wave spectrum. This means more devices can be controlled to reduce congestion.

Meeting demand for 5G component sourcing

5G is an exciting technology but it is still in its infancy, and up until now drone architecture has been designed around 4G.

5G requires different components to handle the speed increase and demands placed over the network. Drones need a new architecture to transfer data in milliseconds and transmit high-definition footage in real-time.

In short, the current technology has to evolve.

Sourcing components like ESCs, flight controllers, GPS modules, receivers, antennas and batteries for 5G drones will become more challenging as more players in the market start to evolve their products to meet demand.

Day-to-day component sourcing will require good contacts in the industry just as it always has. But the race to 5G will accelerate demand and increase competition. This is where the value of an electronic components distributor like us comes in.

We can supply active, passive and electro-mechanical components, including 5G components, working directly for you to procure the best components at the lowest prices. If the future is 5G, we’ll help you meet it.

 

Tags: 5g technology


29 May 2019

What's happening with Huawei

598px-Huawei_logo

For the past few weeks, Chinese technology company Huawei has been put under severe restrictions by the United States of America. Mr Trump accuses the world’s second-largest smartphone maker of allowing its equipment to be used by Chinese spies.

In recent weeks, Alphabet’s Google has suspended business with Huawei, that requires the transfer of software, hardware and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing

Following Google’s lead several other American businesses have cut ties with Huawei and two British telecom giants EE and Vodafone have announced that their 5G services will not be offered on Huawei handsets.

The Trump administration on Thursday added Huawei Technologies to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the company to do business with US counterparts.

Washington is widely seen as having taken the initiative in the global campaign against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a tech magnate that in the three decades since its founding has become an important part of Beijing’s bid to expand its global power and influence.

Now, according to Reuters, German chipmaker Infineon has also suspended shipments to Huawei technologies, in a sign that US restrictions on Huawei are beginning to affect its relationships beyond America. Infineon joins Qualcomm, Qorvo, Micron Technology, and Western Digital as firms that no longer ship to Huawei. ST Microelectronics, TSMC, Toshiba Memory, and Japan Display Inc. have not yet stopped shipments to the Chinese firm but are investigating the issue and could also suspend business dealings.

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder, told the media that the company would be fine even if their American suppliers refuse to sell chips to the company. He revealed that the firm has been preparing for this outcome and it’s believed that Huawei will be ready for the next six to twelve months on the hardware front. “We will not change our management at the request of the U.S. or accept monitoring, as ZTE has done,” he said to Reuters.

During Trump’s three day state visit, which kicks off today, he is expected to discuss ties between UK companies and Huawei- adding to suggestions by the Tory leadership that they could tear up plans for the Chinese tech giant to build parts of UK’s 5G network, after the ambassador, Woody Johnson, warned it was a “big risk”.

Tags: huawei trump uk infineon spies 5g network america


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