Showing posts tagged 'obsolescence'
24 March 2021
MLCC supply is beginning to tighten?
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
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 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.
13 January 2021
How to deal with electronic component obsolescence
With technologies advancing at such a rapid rate, the rate of electronic component obsolescence is as high as it has ever been. OEMs have their work cut out to keep up with an industry where demand for electronic components is under increasing pressure as a result of innovation across the entire electronics industry.
Understanding the risks of obsolescence
Component obsolescence is bound to happen in time because all components have a diminishing lifespan. All components become obsolete eventually.
However, the rate of component obsolescence is increasing over time. This means the challenges facing you are growing.
Dealing with electronic component obsolescence
Now that you know obsolescence is nailed-on given a large enough timeframe, how can you deal with the challenge when you face it? Here are some tips:
- Understand why obsolescence happens
The three main reasons for electronic component obsolescence include short product life cycles, innovation, and increased demand.
A combination of these creates the perfect storm. A great example of this storm is with semiconductors, which are advancing at a rapid rate.
Which reasons for obsolescence will affect you the most? By understanding this, you can prepare properly for the future.
- If you are designing a product, look into the longevity
The best defense against obsolescence is designing products that use components that are not expected to become obsolete during your product’s lifecycle.
You can assure longevity in a few ways:
- Review the ‘Production Status’ of the component
- Ask your supplier about component longevity
- Look at the datasheet creation date - if it’s several years old, this could be an indication that the part may be due an upgrade sometime soon
Even when a component is due to become obsolete, it could be several years before this happens. This insight will be invaluable to your business.
- Get to the bottom of the type of obsolescence
If you get a notification that a component you use is becoming obsolete, take a step back and look into the reason why this is the case.
You can do this by looking at the PCN (Product Change Notification) which will provide the technical information you need.
If the component is a passive component, then there’s a good chance you will be able to source an equivalent component. If the component is an active component, you may have to upgrade to a newer component.
- How to deal with obsolescence when it happens
You have three options when dealing with obsolete components:
- Equivalence - this is when you look for an equivalent component. You can cross-reference many components, such as semiconductors, to find exact equivalents. You should review the datasheets to ensure cross-compatibility.
- Design - this is when you work with an OEM to manufacture a component on your behalf. It carries a high cost but reduced risk because the component is unique to you. NANDs and micro-controllers are common examples.
- Use old stock - somewhere in the world, there’s probably the component you need in storage. This is available if you can find it. An electronic component distributor is your best friend in this scenario to get the components you need.
If you are struggling to source your obsolete or hard to find electronic components Cyclops Electronics is here to help.
Contact us today.
Call: 01904 415 415
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