Showing posts tagged 'obsolete'
27 July 2022
What is fabless production?
A fab is short for ‘fabrication’, which is a facility that produces electronic components. When it comes to fabless production, it refers to when companies outsource their manufacturing. The development of fabless production is a pretty recent development, but one that has flourished since its conception.
How did it come about?
Fabless production didn’t exist until the 80s, when surplus stock led to IDMs offering outsourced services to smaller firms. In the same decade the first dedicated semiconductor foundry, TSMC, was founded. It is still one of the biggest foundries in operation to this day.
In the following years many smaller companies could enter into the market as they outsourced manufacturing. More manufacturers, each with different specialities, also came to the fore.
One of the original reasons it became so popular was due to the cost reduction it provided businesses. With the actual semiconductors being manufactured elsewhere, companies saved money on labour and space.
With production outsourced, companies also had the ability to focus more on research and development. No doubt this gave way to many advancements in semiconductor technology that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Having a choice of which manufacturers to work with is beneficial too. Depending on your requirements you can choose someone who best suit your needs.
When you outsource production, you are putting part of your business under someone else’s control, which can be risky. There could be a higher chance of defects if manufacture isn’t being directly overseen.
It also means that, in terms of quantity of product and price of production, you don’t have total control. If a manufacturer decides to change the quantity they produce or the price, customers are limited to their options. They either have to accept the changes, or search for an alternative which, in a fast-paced market, would be risky.
The fabless business model, as it is known, will probably continue long into the future. TSMC’s continued profit, among other companies, is a key indicator of its success. And with big names like Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia working fabless, it would be safe to say it’s popular.
That’s not to say that an integrated business model, with every stage of production occurring in-house, is a bad choice either. There are many just as successful IDMs like Samsung and Texas Instruments.
For a ‘fab-ulous’ stock of both foundry and IDM components, check out Cyclops Electronics. We specialise in obsolete, day to day and hard to find electronic components. Send us your enquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the rapid enquiry form on our website.
This blog post is not an endorsement of any particular business model, and is purely for informational purposes.
26 May 2022
Could conductive ink replace conventional circuitry?
It seems like the stuff of dreams, having a pen or a paintbrush that could conduct electricity. Well, those dreams are very real, readily available to buy online, and at a relatively cheap rate, too.
Conductive ink pens and conductive paint that can be used with a pen, paintbrush, or a printer is a reality, and is already being put to work.
What is it?
Conductive ink and conductive paint are liquid materials mixed with nanoparticles of a conducting material like silver or graphite. The paint and ink are technically slightly different, in that the paint sits on the surface of a substrate, while the ink would sink into a substrate it was applied to, like regular ink on paper.
Although the metals are usually in a solid state at room temperature, if it’s in a nanoparticle form it can be mixed with a liquid. When the liquid is spread and begins to dry, the nanoparticles and electrons within them begin to form conductive chains that the current is then able to travel through.
One notable way silver-infused ink is currently used is to print Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags in tickets.
Another common place to find conductive paint or ink is in the rear windscreen of cars. The resistive traces applied to windscreens to help defrost them contain conductive paint. Traces printed on the window can also serve as a radio antenna in more recently manufactured cars.
Conductive inks and paints were originally intended to be used for e-textiles and wearables. The potential for clothes that could detect temperature and heart rate, among other features, is an area receiving considerable investment.
When compared to conventional circuity and conductors, conductive inks and paints will never be able to emulate the strength of conductivity. In a way, it would be unfair to pit the two against each other, like putting boxers from vastly different weight classes in a ring together.
The reliability and connectivity of traditional conductors is much higher so is preferred for regularly used products, however conductive inks and paints would be utilised in areas that traditional means could not. So, as much as these factors are disadvantages they would be irrelevant when it comes to the product.
Layers of the ink or paint may not always be thick enough to have any conductive strength at all, and it could take several layers of it to properly form a current-conducting pathway. Additionally, the user is relying on the nanoparticles in the liquid to align correctly for conduction. The material would work only for smaller direct voltages too, probably up to around 12V.
Silver is a material that has a higher cost than other conductors like graphite, and could make the price of some paints unreasonable for some customers. The low cost alternative is graphite, but this also has a higher resistivity than metals like silver.
As far as development goes, nanoparticle paint is still in its infancy. Its uses are limited and occasionally unreliable, so although it has cornered a niche conductive market it’s unlikely we’ll see it permeating the sector for a while.
If you are looking for trustworthy day-to-day or obsolete electronic components, Cyclops are here for you. Don’t paint yourself into a corner, contact Cyclops today to find what you’re looking for, at email@example.com.
02 March 2022
Could Graphene be used in semiconductors?
A new discovery
Graphene was first isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004. Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov were experimenting on a Friday night (as you do) and found they could create very thin flakes of graphite using sticky tape. When separating these fragments further, they found they could produce flakes that were one atom thick.
Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their ground-breaking experiments in 2010, and since the two had first identified the material since the 60s it had been a long time coming.
Despite its thinness Graphene is extremely strong, estimated to be 200 times stronger than steel
Is silicon outdated?
Semiconductors are inextricably linked to Moore’s Law, which is the principle that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every year. But that observation Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made in 1965 is now losing speed.
Silicon chips will very soon reach their limit and will be unable to hold any additional transistors, which means that future innovation will require a replacement material. Graphene, with its single-atom thickness, is a contender.
In 2014 hardware company IBM devoted $3 billion to researching replacements for silicon as it believed the material would become obsolete. The company said as chips and transistors get smaller, as small as the current average of 7 nanometers (nm), the integrity of silicon is more at risk.
IBM revealed its new 2nm tech last year, which can hold 50 billion transistors on a single silicon chip, so the material is not going obsolete just yet.
Graphene is nowhere close to being a replacement for silicon, it is still in the development stage and the cost of implementing it into supply chain would be extensive. A lot more research and adjustment is required, and it would have to be introduced step by step to avoid prices skyrocketing and supply chains breaking down.
Graphene is not the only contender to be the replacement for silicon either. Carbon nanotubes are fighting for prominence, and other 2D materials like molybdenum disulfide and tungsten disulfide are also vying for the position.
Another disadvantage of Graphene is that there is no bandgap, which means the semiconductor can’t be switched off. The possibly jagged edges of the material could also pierce the cell membranes which may disrupt functions.
Thanks to its 2D properties Graphene is also being studied for its potential uses in other areas. In relation to semiconductors there has been research from Korea on the uses of graphene as a filtration device for semiconductor wastewater. The oxide-based nanofiltration membranes could remove ammonium from the wastewater created by semiconductor production so it can then be recycled. As a wider application of this Graphene could be used as a filtration device for water or to remove gas from a gas-liquid mixture.
Graphene is also being researched for its uses in the biomedical field, which include being a platform for drug delivery, bone tissue engineering, and ultrasensitive biosensors to detect nucleic acids. Graphene has other sensor-based uses, because the sensors can be made in micrometre-size they could be made to detect events on a molecular level, and could be of use in agriculture and smart farming.
There is a possibility Graphene could be combined with paint to weather-proof or rust-proof vehicles and houses, and to coat sports equipment. It also could have potential within the energy field for extending the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries.
When can we expect change?
Consultation company McKinsey estimated there would be three phases to the implementation of Graphene, none of which have begun just yet. Phase one would be to use Graphene as an ‘enhancer’ of existing technology, and will simply improve other devices by extending the lifespan or improving the conduction. This phase is estimated to last for ten years, after which phase two will begin. In this step graphene will become a replacement for silicon and will be the next step in the improvement of semiconductors and electronics. After 25 years we can expect the next step in graphene applications, things we can only dream of now.
In the meantime, people will still be using silicon-based semiconductors for quite a while. If you’re on the lookout for chips, or any other day-to-day or obsolete electronic components, contact Cyclops today at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the rapid enquiry form on our website.
14 February 2022
Obsolete components and where to find them?
Obsolete electronic components are, despite the name, still widely used and required for manufactured products. The term obsolete often denotes something out of date or out of use. While these electronic components are classed as out of date, they are still used long after their so-called expiry date.
As companies try to keep up to date with the latest technological advancements and customer needs, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will stop producing their older components and move on to manufacture the newest, high-profit electronics.
These older, no longer produced components will soon become obsolete and will be classed as end of life by their OEM, who will release a formal product change notice (PCN) for its customers.
But obsolescence does not stop companies from using a component. There will already be many products that use the component and will still require it. The demand will continue but the stock will shrink, causing the price of these end-of-life components to increase and drive competition to acquire them.
There are a few ways to bypass the need for obsolete components, but it will always be a case of balancing the cost to the benefits.
One option is a drop-in replacement, which is designed to be compatible with an existing product. This, however, can be time-consuming or costly, or both, depending on how many components need to be sourced.
There may also be the option for crossing, or cross-referencing, the obsolete electronic component. A different manufacturer may produce a component very similar to one no longer produced, or there could be an alternative part number which results in a usable substitute. There is always the risk that there is no viable substitute, though, or the alternatives are also obsolete.
Despite the high price for obsolete components, it’s likely that it would still be cheaper for companies to source these discontinued parts than to re-design their whole product around a new component. As such, people looking for obsolete components are often competing with many others and need to find reliable, trustworthy sources of stock.
Among the many companies offering to source obsolete components, there will be some that are untrustworthy. Buyers risk exposing themselves to faulty, counterfeit or overpriced products if they are unable to find a reliable, certified re-seller.
A Cyclops Excess speciality is buying obsolete components from suppliers who have ended up with slightly more than they needed. As a result, our Excess stock includes a huge variety of hard-to-find obsolete electronic components that are still sought after today.
All of Cyclops’s stock is quality checked and as an independent stockist we can buy and sell components according to our customer’s needs. If you’re on the look-out for regular or obsolete electronic components get in touch today at email@example.com, or use the rapid enquiry form available on our website here.
15 December 2021
Obsolescence Management Before It Becomes A Problem
Like the device you are reading this on, all electronic components become obsolete eventually. As a supply chain manager, it is your job to manage obsolescence and make sure it doesn't become a problem for your company.
The three reasons for electronic component obsolescence are short product life cycles, innovation, and increased demand.
Short product life cycles fuel update cycles that demand better components, innovation fuels new component releases, and increased demand squeezes supply chains, creating new batches of components that replace the old.
The good news is obsolescence management isn't rocket science. With planning, you can safeguard your supply chain from the inevitable. Cyclops can help you do this in various ways, working with you to keep your supply chains moving.
How Cyclops helps you manage obsolescence
With technologies advancing rapidly, the rate of electronic component obsolescence is picking up pace. Life cycles are getting shorter for many components, and shortages are challenging obsolescence management plans.
At Cyclops Electronics, we specialise in the procurement of electronic components, working with global distributors to source tens of millions of parts. Our staff go further than most to find your obsolete parts, and if we can't source the exact parts you need, we will work just as hard to find appropriate alternatives.
Here's how we help you manage obsolescence:
We keep tabs on component supplies for you and provide timely reports detailing risks. By keeping you in the loop, you get a bird's eye view of your electronic components, giving you a competitive edge and greater buying power.
Obsolete component sourcing
Obsolete components might no longer be made, but we hold 177,232 line items in our warehouse and 14 million parts globally. There's a strong possibility we have the obsolete, discontinued components you need ready to go.
When obsolete components are unavailable, we can specify equivalents that meet your performance and financial specifications. We can cross-reference many components, such as semiconductors, to find exact equivalents.
We can help you identify and mitigate risk when parts and spares become obsolete by integrating with your mitigation plan. We can replace obsolete parts as they age, providing an automated, streamlined obsolescence solution.
Obsolescence is inevitable but manageable
Component obsolescence occurs when an old component is phased out. Without management, this event can disrupt a supply chain, costing businesses tens of millions (or billions) in lost revenues and corporate costs.
A great example of this is any company that manufactures equipment and supports it over several years, like a boiler company. Electric boilers are supported for around ten years, so the components have to be replaceable over that time.
Obsolescence is a problem because it sends ripples through the supply chain, requiring ongoing management to foresee events and mitigate risks. Cyclops Electronics has seen all this before across all sectors.
Speak with us about obsolescence management
We're here to help you manage supply chain risks and deal with obsolescence before it becomes a problem. Contact us here.
28 July 2021
What Shortage? How Electronic Component Distributors Make Supply Meet Demand
When buyers can’t find electronic components, they turn to distributors like us who can source scarce and obsolete parts.
Our experience has been tested to new extremes over the last several months due to the semiconductor and wider electronic components shortage. This shortage was years in the making but has been amplified by COVID-19.
It says everything about the state of the electronic components supply chain when Samsung, who make their own chips, don’t have enough chips. Shortages have affected brands like Samsung, Apple, Volkswagen and Nintendo not just in terms of supply, but also prices, which have skyrocketed in 12 months.
When the chips are down, prices go up.
Distributors are busier than ever
Cyclops Electronics, as well other distributors, have become more essential than ever in supply chains since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
It’s no exaggeration to say distributors like us are keeping many businesses going. We keep production lines going by sourcing scarce parts from around the world - parts that would be impossible to source without excellent connections.
We are seeing desperation from companies that have never experienced supply chain problems. We’re talking about global companies listed publicly.
The situation is so bad for some components that some companies are paying a 100% premium just to secure them. Supply and demand is driving fierce competition and bidding wars are not uncommon.
If these revelations shock you, consider this - the electronics components shortage isn’t expected to abate until late 2021 at least. By then, there should be more order to the chaos, but some industry experts expect it to persist longer.
For example, IBM has said the chip shortage could last 2 years.
A 2 year extension would extend the chip shortage to 2023 at least. This is likely to be the case for other components too, including memory, integrated circuits and display drivers. A huge number of companies will be affected.
Playing a crucial role in the supply chain
Distributors like us are able to source hard-to-procure components because we have rapport with the best suppliers in the industry. In other words, we have immense buying power, and we put this to use for our customers.
Another way we are playing a crucial role in the electronics components supply chain is the reduction of counterfeit components.
Counterfeiters are taking advantage of weakened supply chains, lapse quality control processes and inadequate reporting to flood the market with illegal components. This has affected thousands of buyers and will affect many more.
Our role in this is to deploy anti-counterfeiting technologies including a SENTRY machine, die testing and decapsulation testing to test the components we procure. This ensures the components we supply are genuine parts.
We provide industry-leading chip testing to catch counterfeit parts. We have ISO 9001:2015 certification and ESD qualified staff.
If you need to buy parts and the only way to get them is with a distributor, don’t rush in - make sure your distributor is as equally qualified as us first. If you need help, feel free to call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat with our experts.
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
23 September 2020
Cyclops September COVID-19 lead times update
Cyclops September COVID-19 Lead time Update
COVID-19 and Electrical component manufacturer lead times update
As we enter another global spike in COVID-19 more uncertainty rises in its impact it could have on electronic global supply chains and manufacturers.
Manufacture Altera has had an increase in lead times to 15-16 weeks this is due to the demand from the server market. Analog devices have reported their lead times are more than 20 weeks on some parts, this is due to low capacity of ASP materials for medical parts.
Linear Technology have reported they are extending their LTM lead times to 20-24 weeks, while their LT series lead times currently stand at 16-20. LT1 and LTC1 are also unstable. Consequently, the company reported that parts used in medical equipment are experiencing unstable lead times, like Analog this is likely due to the impact of Covid-19 and the demand for medical supplies. NXP factories are experiencing wafer shortages and lack of production capacity. Their MPX/Sensor series has spiked to 26 weeks, the market price has risen by 20% this is a result in the sensors being used in medical treatments.
Maxim Integrated has announced due to the recent lockdown of Maxims Philippines factory has caused delays and lead times are remining at 14-16 with backlog unable to be pulled in. Similarly, company Microchip lead times are stretching to 16-20 weeks this is due to the limited factory capacity due to COVID-19. OMRON Micro switches are experiencing stretched lead times and increase in pricing particularly effecting the D2FC series. Lead times are now around 14-20 weeks. ROHM plants in Philippines are currently working at 50% due to COVID-19 quarantine.
AVX tantalum caps and F series parts are expecting shortage, the lead times have increased to a staggering 30-40 weeks, this has led to AVX not accepting lead time-based orders.
Need quicker lead times?
We are experiencing an increase in lead times due to COVID-19 as seen above manufactures are struggling to produce the mass quantity due to lock downs and shortage of staff.
We at cyclops electronics are here to provide those hard to find components in these challenging times. To search for your components please click here. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org for enquires.
19 August 2015
Struggling with Obsolete Components?
Working in the purchasing or planning department, you know how to plan for production runs and product roll outs. In fact, you bought enough stock for your projected production run - everything was planned out perfectly and you thought you could relax. Until sales of your product start going through the roof and blowing all expectations out of the water. This is great news for the business; bosses are happy, customers are happy, even the shareholders are happy!
But now there's a problem - those components you carefully ordered and planned for are now obsolete - what do you do? You could chase around for hours, even days, just trying to track down the parts needed, coming up with nothing but dead ends and wrong part numbers. Or you could sit back and relax knowing everything has been taken care of. Which sounds better?
If you contact Cyclops with your requirements, our highly trained and specialist team will source everything for you - quickly and efficiently. As specialists in sourcing obsolete and hard to find components, and with global reach across the industry, you won't be left waiting for long. With Cyclops Electronics on your side, your production run doesn't need to be disrupted and the great sales and good fortune can continue!
Send your RFQ in now using the box on the right or call our team on +44 (0)1904 415 415
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