Showing posts for 2020
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):
- Wi-Fi 6
- Big data
- Edge computing
- Batteries and power
- 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!
16 December 2020
The multimodal transistor (MMT) is a new design philosophy for electronics
Researchers from the University of Surrey and University of Rennes have developed a technology called the multimodal transistor (MMT), which could revolutionise electronics by simplifying circuits and increasing design freedom.
The multimodal transistor is a thin-film transistor that performs the same job as more complex circuits. The MMT sandwiches metals, insulators and semiconductors together in a package that’s considerably thinner than a normal circuit.
However, the key breakthrough with the MMT is its immunity to parasitic effects (unwanted oscillations). The MMT allows consistent, repeatable signals, increasing a transistor’s performance. This is necessary for precision circuits to function as intended and is especially useful for next-gen tech like AI and robotics.
How it works
In the image below, we can see the design of the MMT. CG1 provides the means to control the quantity of charge, while CG2 is the channel control gate. CG1 controls the current level and CG2 controls the on/off state.
This is a massive shift in transistor design because it enables far greater engineering freedom. It is a simple and elegant design, yet it is so useful. It has numerous applications in analogue computation and hardware learning.
MOSFET transistors are one of the building blocks of modern electronics, but they are non-linear and inefficient.
In a conventional circuit, gate electrodes are used to control a transistor’s ability to pass current. The MMT works differently. Instead of using gate electrodes, it controls on/off switching independently from the amount of current that passes through. This allows the MMT to operate at a higher speed with a linear dependence between input and output. This is useful for digital-to-analogue conversion.
The breakthrough in all its glory
The MMT transforms the humble transistor into a linear device that delivers a linear dependence between input and output. It separates charge injection from conduction, a new design that achieves independent current on/off switching.
There is a profound increase in switching speed as a result of this technology, enabling engineers to develop faster electronics. Researchers estimate that the switching speed is as much as 10 times faster. Also, fewer transistors are needed, increasing the yield rate and reducing the cost to manufacture the circuit.
Just how revolutionary the MMT will be remains to be seen. After all, this is a technology without commercialisation. It could find its way into the electronics we use on a daily basis, like our phones. The potential is for the MMT to be printable, allowing for mass production and integration into billions of electrical devices.
With devices getting smarter and digital transformation advancing at a rapid rate, the electronics industry is booming. Semiconductor foundries are at peek capacity and more electrical devices are being sold than ever. The MMT is a unique solution to a problem, and it could make manufacturing electronics cheaper.
With this, comes a great opportunity for the MMT to replace MOSFET transistors. We can think of few other design philosophies with such wicked potential.
02 December 2020
How “Chiplets” May Help the Future of Semiconductor Technology
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 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:
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.
18 November 2020
Amazon One: An easier way for you to pay using your palm
Contactless payments are the most convenient way to pay for things. Whipping out a contactless payment card and paying without entering a pin number saves time, and the ability to save cards to Google Pay or Apple Pay on your smartphone and use NFC to make contactless payments makes life easier too.
It’s all very slick and useful, but there’s a limitation to the current technology: you need to have your card or your smartphone in your hand.
If you have ever forgotten your wallet when you pop to the shops or left your phone in the car when you go shopping, the problem is clear to see: your reliance on a device (be it a card or phone) to make payments is a hindrance.
So, wouldn’t it be great if you could just use your hand? That’s what Amazon One aims to do, and it offers a glimpse into an exciting future.
Payments in the palm of your hand (literally)
Amazon One is a new contactless payment technology that uses your palm as a form of biometric signature. All you do is scan your palm over an Amazon One payment module and payment is authorised if your palm print checks out.
Forget about your card and phone. All you need is your palm.
The technology is ingeniously simple in use, and it is so useful, and so convenient, that it could replace cash and cards in the future.
To set up Amazon One, you insert a payment card into the module and hover your palm over the sensor when prompted. Amazon One then scans and saves your unique palm signature to that payment card. You can enroll with one palm or both your palms. Once you are enrolled, you needn’t do anything else.
Security concerns and rollout
The obvious security concern with Amazon One is customer data, and the question you probably have is: where is my palm print stored?
The Amazon One device is protected by multiple security controls. For example, the technology driving the imaging sensor uses depth sensors to differentiate between artificial models and images. Palm images are also stored in a secure data environment, encrypted so that the data is useless if it ever falls into the wrong hands.
You can delete your biometric data via the Amazon website. You can manage palm images and add new ones using a module. You can even add loyalty and discount cards, so you have the opportunity to break free from your whole wallet.
With such exciting possibilities, Amazon One is in the best hands in terms of development and rollout (excuse the pun). Amazon has a rich history of bringing top products to market. There’s a reason they are one of the most valuable companies in the world.
You can find Amazon One in Amazon Go stores in Seattle, where a trial is being performed to evaluate the technology. It has worked brilliantly so far, and Amazon’s vision is for it to be rolled out to third-party retailers in the near future.
Soon, you’ll have the whole wide retail world in your hands.
04 November 2020
How the electronic supply chain has been divided by COVID-19
Amidst doom and gloom predictions of global economic fallout from COVID-19 and further human and social ramifications, the electronics industry is quietly confident that demand for products will not stall this year or shortly.
This makes for a morale-boosting headline, but underneath the battle lines, there is a trade war raging as a result of a divided supply chain.
Equipment manufacturers are struggling to get a hold of components and component manufacturers are struggling to make enough new components. This, the result of a virus that has thrown the world into unchartered territory and forced elected leaders into making profound decisions that have affected our way of life.
The electronics sector is healthy for now, but keeping it going has required change and intelligent thinking. This is how the electronic supply chain has been divided by COVID-19:
The battle for stock
With the production capacity for electronic components down as a result of COVID-19, it is no surprise that the components' supply chain has been impacted. Fewer components are being made, creating a shortage of stock.
As a result of this, we are now seeing a shift in behavior from manufacturers, who are component hoarding and paying over-the-odds for stock to meet demand. This has reduced the number of components available on the open market, creating a shortage, and the issue is compounded by a lack of new production.
Supply moving away from China
As a result of the coronavirus in China, which has devastated the workforce and adversely impacted the country’s social reputation, manufacturers are beginning to seek alternatives to meet the demand for electronic components.
Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Germany are all rich manufacturers of electronic components. We are now seeing greater diversification in supply chains. This is good news for the global economy, but not so much for China and Hong Kong.
Changes in supply chain planning
COVID-19 has forced manufacturers to pivot their supply chains to boost efficiency. From being more flexible with transportation to estimating capacity and accelerating production, manufacturers are doubling up on decision-making processes.
The optimization of production and distribution capacity are key areas, so that production can continue to meet demand while managing health. Available inventory has now become a more important factor than ever too - no longer can manufacturers rely on a steady supply of components. Orders must be planned.
Closer partnerships with electronic component distributors
Pre COVID, manufacturers typically kept the procurement of electronic components in-house with a slick and efficient operation. Inventory would be automatically updated with component orders placed electronically between supplier and manufacturer.
If COVID has taught manufacturers one thing, however, it is that you can never rely on one single supplier to deliver. One failure breaks the system.
This has led manufacturers to partner with component distributors who can deliver the stock they need. The sourcing of components is being increasingly outsourced, which brings some inefficiencies, but is necessary to keep things ticking over.
22 October 2020
Facebook is going to put smart glasses on your face in 2021
You may recall that several years ago (back in 2013 to be exact), Google brought out Google Glass, a brand of smart glasses that used touch and voice commands to interact with online content, display directions, and act as a phone. The product wasn’t a massive success, but it did kickstart a consumer-focused AR arm’s race.
When we talk about AR or augmented reality, with regards to glasses we mean eyewear with technology that merges what you see in the real-world with an overlay of virtual information from the internet. Examples include directions to a supermarket when you walk and restaurant reviews when you look at a sign.
The AR market is predicted to be worth $100 billion by 2024 and the technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Facebook is the latest juggernaut to enter the fold, and they have plans to put smart glasses on your face by 2021.
Facebook’s move into AR
Facebook owns Oculus, the company behind some of the world's most popular VR (virtual reality) headsets. AR goes beyond VR by adding digital elements to real life, as opposed to simulating a new environment entirely.
Oculus practically has the VR market sewn up already, so it hasn’t come as a surprise to us that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently revealed Project Aria, Facebook’s augmented reality research project that will deliver a product by 2021.
Announced during the fittingly remote Facebook Connect event, Zuckerberg said the goal is to “develop some normal-size, nice-looking glasses that you can wear all day, and interact with holograms, digital objects and information while still being present with the people and the world around you.”
It all sounds exciting, and though we have been here before with Google Glass, Facebook has a track record with VR. They could do the same with AR, and Project Aria is the research project that will deliver the technology needed.
The technology driving AR
To create an AR environment, you need sound, video, graphics, networking, and GPS data. AR requires good hardware and software. If Facebook intends to create “normal-size, nice-looking glasses”, the technology will also have to be refined.
Zuckerberg admits “there's still a lot of work to be done on the foundational technologies,” but adds that “Project Aria is the first research device we're putting out into the world to help us understand the hardware and software needed.”
To deliver the end product, Facebook has partnered with luxury eyewear giant Luxottica and it is expected that Facebook’s smart glasses will have Ray-Ban branding. This will help the glasses accommodate a wider range of styles.
Specifications for the 2021 glasses have not been revealed but they are expected to be capable of overlaying directions, music recommendations, localised information (such as what’s around the corner), and integrate with some of Facebook’s features. It’s important to note, however, that nothing is certain.
Also, Facebook is working on its own 100% in-house AR eyewear, which it intends to thoroughly test before bringing any product to market. The tech giant has a reputation to uphold with eyewear (they own Oculus), and if their VR headsets are anything to go by, we are in for a treat when Facebook’s AR glasses finally land.
20 October 2020
Cyclops Group Brexit statement (IV)
Cyclops Group Brexit statement (IV)
Issued: October 2020
Cyclops group has robust plans in place for a variety of Brexit outcomes. Strategic Brexit planning has evolved over the last 2 years to incorporate the likelihood of several possible outcomes as well as a fully negotiated agreement. For this reason, the Business has been required to undertake a particularly extensive analysis of risk and therefore predicts no change to the essential service provided by Cyclops.
In the event of a no deal exit, the UK Government has detailed that “The trade you carry out with the EU will broadly follow the customs controls that apply for the rest of the world.” As a business that has traded internationally for many years, we have a wide variety of country specific trade processes in utilisation.
The most important element for undisrupted trade is the adoption and utilisation of a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI). This has been held by the Business for a number of years.
We have been working closely with our freight partners to ensure that they have sufficient plans in place to minimise any border disruption. We are entirely satisfied that all sensible precautions have been taken such as the recruitment of extra staff at the border. Furthermore, the Business operates from several worldwide locations and has a variety of re-deployment options available to it.
The Business continues to make adaptations as further information becomes available. The prioritisation of our customer service delivery is firmly entrenched in our Business model and we seek to reassure our customers of our proactive approach.
Should you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to make contact.
30 September 2020
What the future holds for passive and interconnecting electronic components
While the world economy is in freefall with the COVID-19 pandemic, with mass unemployment and trade plummeting, the global passive and interconnecting electronic components market is expected to continue growing thanks to demand from the developing world and the rise of 5G infrastructure.
Grand View Research has released forecasts for the passive and interconnecting electronic components market, predicting a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% from 2020 to 2027 with a slowdown from 2020 to 2021 due to COVID-19.
The future is by no means certain and we do not know exactly how badly the world economy will be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. We do however have models that tell us demand will increase for electronics over time. This spells good news for components manufacturers and the wider electronics industry.
Changes in market demand
As the world economy is adversely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, demand for electronic components in many verticals will slow. This can be traced back to the reality that in times of uncertainty, consumers are warier of spending money. Less demand for products means a slowdown in production and demand.
However, regardless of the world economy, some regions do have stimulus. The United Kingdom, Japan, China, South Korea and the US are rolling out 5G network infrastructure and this will stimulate the electronics market. Smartphones, tablets, drones and other devices that rely on networking will be key beneficiaries.
So, it isn’t by any means doom and gloom for the global passive and interconnecting electronic components market. Growth is predicted from 2020 to 2027 and the COVID-19 outbreak will only slow down this growth temporarily.
How component sourcing has changed
In response to a fall in demand for products, passive and interconnecting electronic component production has slowed. In addition, a lot of stock hasn’t been used and is sitting in storage until such a time it is needed.
Prior to COVID-19, it was easy to think of component production as being in a state of perpetual motion for it was always present. Demand has fallen but that doesn’t mean it has ceased. Passive and interconnecting electronic components are still being sourced, albeit in smaller batches and more carefully than ever.
Another behaviour we have witnessed is component hoarding. OEMs are unsure of their partner’s manufacturing capabilities in the face of COVID-19. So, they are hoarding components to ensure they can scale up demand when the time is right. This is considered normal behaviour without a global pandemic, but we are seeing more extreme examples as a means to protect manufacturing output. Ultimately, this means there are less components to go around, which drives up the cost of certain components.
How we can help you with sourcing
The future may be uncertain but good preparation will help you through it. As your electronic component distribution partner, we can source components for you with access to all major manufacturers. We can source legacy, obsolete, state-of-the-art and short production run components at prices that suit your margin. Visit our website or click here to use access our component search and enquire with us. We are here to help you with your electronic component needs.
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.
14 September 2020
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.
Enter Electronic Component part number below.