When Will the Electronics Industry Rebound?

Article reposted from All About Circuits

Just like other business activities, the electronics industry was adversely affected by COVID-19-related shutdowns with many companies facing reductions in purchase orders and, consequently, profits.

Some segments of the electronics and semiconductor industry have suffered more from the ongoing crisis, including those producing components for consumer electronics and automotive technology.  Companies specializing in parts for communication tools and healthcare equipment were typically less affected because their work was deemed essential and thus they were allowed to continue their operations.

Intel’s Fab 42 facility in Arizona will create 10,000 jobs. Screenshot used courtesy of Intel

As restrictions are lifted and more businesses open up, some analysts have predicted that most of the semiconductor industry will rebound later this year or in early 2021.

In this article, we summarize some of the recent predictions about when and how the semiconductors and electronics industry is likely to recover from the losses suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Impacts of Supply Chain Shortages

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, semiconductor supply chains were disrupted because many electronics manufacturers and suppliers are located in Asia.

SEE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

Please contact one of our Search Experts by email; USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com.

Why the Electronic Manufacturing Supply Chain is So Complex

Article Reposted from EPSNews.com

The complexity of global supply chains depends largely on what and how much you’re sourcing.  With some materials — like paper — you’ll find a suitable supplier almost anywhere in the world.

However, in the electronics industry, things are not so straightforward.  Multiple commodities from multiple suppliers across various geographic locations mean global electronics supply chains are much trickier to manage.

One of the main challenges of electronics is the sheer volume of parts that go into one product.  Some of these parts also need to have approvals, and suppliers will require certain certifications.  Bespoke parts are often manufactured to specific designs, too — meaning rigorous testing and sampling are necessary to ensure they meet meticulous quality standards.

Why is a stable supply chain so important?

A good supply chain is all about remaining competitive.  If a customer comes to you wanting a specific part for a project, you need to know that you can deliver through a trusted chain of suppliers.  As such, having a range of approved global suppliers is key to ensuring you never have to reject new enquiries.

A strong network of suppliers also allows you to free up capacity and manufacture a range of products more cost-effectively (and at short notice) — which, ultimately, translates to a better price for the customer.  This is why so many companies in the electronics sector will have at least some offshore suppliers.

However, supplier selection is crucial. It’s not enough to have a good website or a good booth at an exhibition — you need to see the factory and the quality of the parts they produce first-hand.  When customers place orders, you need to know exactly where their products are coming from.

It’s also important not to cast the net too wide.  Once suppliers are spread out too far, the chain becomes more difficult to manage, and you lose control of where the materials come from.  Instead, it’s crucial to build long-term partnerships with suppliers that share and uphold your ethos, integrating them into your business to ensure a fluid process.

What is the impact of external factors?

SEE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

To lock in your electronic components and to avoid production slowdowns, please contact one of our Search Experts by email; USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com

E-Waste Not Getting Any Better in the US

 

As our world becomes more and more reliant on electronic devices for day to day life, the recycling of those that are no longer the latest model is imperative.  As a society, we must protect our nation and world from the terrible effects that we are witnessing as these dangerous chemicals are filling our landfills and being illegally exported to developing countries (see article).

One might think that the US is up to par with other developed countries when it comes to e-recycling, but we are far from leading the way.  The US must pass binding regulations that make it next to impossible to thwart the system. Why is it so tough to pass e-waste legislation?

“Awareness is definitely a major challenge,” explains New York Democratic congressman Espaillat.  “When I speak to some members, they don’t have the slightest idea what this is about.”

Education of politicians and citizens is also key, adds Espaillat.  Yet recycling struggles to be a ratings grabber.  “Waste management is not a sexy issue to talk about on the seven o’clock news,” he says.  “But as more reports come out, I think it’s going to become more of a common-sense issue for members of Congress.”

Those millions of old motherboards and TVs consoles rotting in landfills and warehouses aren’t just eyesores.  They amount to a massive health hazard.  While electronics waste comprises only 2-3 percent of America’s solid waste stream, the lead, cadmium, chromium, and other materials in aging circuitry account for 70 percent of the hazardous material in landfills, according to an EPA report.

The Basel agreement — designed to track and reduce the movement of hazardous waste between developed and developing nations — entered into force in 1992.  As of late 2018, 186 states and the European Union have ratified it and follow its legal framework.  The United States has signed the Basel Convention, indicating an intent to ratify, but is the only developed nation that hasn’t actually done so!

“Almost every environmental treaty created in recent years because the world has said ‘We need this to move forward,’ the U.S. is outside and we’re really looking like a renegade country when it comes to the environment,” says Puckett.  “We’re a rogue country and that’s how the world sees us.”

Theoretically, all of the countries who are a party to the existing treaties should be disallowing shipping containers brimming with hazardous e-waste from the United States, but corruption, intentional mislabeling, and lax prosecution make it possible.  Since China stopped accepting many recyclables from the U.S., including e-waste, other countries in southeast Asia have stepped in to grab a piece of this toxic business.  Claire Arkin, a spokesperson for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, says villages in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia have turned into dumpsites for e-waste and plastic in the year or so since.

At the federal level, EPA regulations require businesses to properly dispose of and recycle electronic goods, but they don’t go into great detail about what is and isn’t legal.

What can someone do now since the US government has not created stringent laws to address this urgent issue?  There are many e-recyclers out there, but the industry needs to be checked more carefully.  Many seemingly legit scrap haulers may have green leaves slapped on the side of their trucks and advertise environmentally friendly solutions while still dumping their stockpiles in landfills or overseas.  Overall, recycling in the U.S. is relatively bad.  Of the top 25 recycling countries in the world, the U.S. is 25th, according to a 2017 report developed by the environmental consultancy Eunomia.  The same report also notes that European countries typically recycle 30 percent of their plastic waste while the U.S. only manages to recycle nine.  (A large part of e-waste is plastic.)

In the absence of comprehensive U.S. e-waste legislation, several NGOs have stepped in to create frameworks for “certifying” the work of recyclers, most notably R2 and e-Stewards.

The ISRI rep also downplays the concern about sending e-waste from the United States to the developing world, quoting it at less than 1 percent of all e-scrap exports.  (A 2016 study by the Basel Action Network using GPS trackers placed in old electronics found that 40 percent of U.S. e-waste is exported with 93 percent of it going to the developing world.)  Does the ISRI rep think any legislation or regulations should be put in place to stop the environmental hazards created by consumer e-waste?  “I’m a person who believes more in the carrot than the stick,” responds Johnson.  “If you tell people why it’s important, people generally want to recycle and do the right thing.  If you make it convenient for them, they’ll do it.”

Here are some other ways that you can be an agent for positive change for e-waste;

  • The next time you want to purchase a new computer, laptop or printer, check out the government’s EPEAT Registry, which lists eco-friendly tech choices.
  • Want to show your support for the “Secure E-Waste and Recycling Act”? Consider calling the office of one of the sponsors (Congressman Espaillat, 202-225-4365; Congressman Cook, 202-225-5861).
  • In November of 2019, Amazon.com set up a test of electronics collection bins at Amazon Locker locations in 10 U.S. cities, including Austin, Chicago, Columbus, Seattle, and Pittsburgh.  Use the boxes and leave feedback about the program on the e-tailers’ Second Chance page. Staples and Best Buy offer similar free electronics recycling programs.
  • Have a piece (or an entire office-full) of technology you want to recycle?  Make sure the processor you hand it to is approved by R2 or e-Stewards.

If you have excess electronic components, don’t just throw them away. AERI offers many different excess inventory solutions to make your job easy.  Please contact one of our Search Experts by email; USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com

 

Digital Trends (2020, February 27).  The United States has a colossal e-waste problem.  This is why [Blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/e-waste-recycling-united-states/

Autonomous Cars – How Much Longer?

If you are thinking your kids will not need to learn how to drive, think again.  This short summary of where automated cars are at now and how long it will take until vehicles are fully automated will help you determine if you will have to go to their 1st DMV appointment.  If you were to ask average people today if there are self-driving cars already on the road, 23% of them would say yes.  Although there are some automated features on vehicles today, they are no cars that are fully autonomous.  Surprisingly experts say that we are a few decades from automobiles without a steering wheel, requiring at least some driving input from passengers (see article).

It is helpful to know the established levels of autonomous driving cars for this discussion.  Five levels have been established;

Level 1: Driver Assistance – This allows a car to steer or brake autonomously for the driver, but not at the same time, requiring the driver’s full attention.

Level 2: Partial Automation – As in level 1, the vehicle can steer or brake, but in contrast level 2 allows the vehicle to do those simultaneously, still requiring the driver’s full attention.

Level 3: Conditional Automation – This level enables a vehicle to handle most aspects of driving, allowing the driver to take their eyes off the road temporarily.

Level 4: High Automation – The vehicle takes full control, under the right conditions, so the driver can focus on other tasks. The steering wheel and other controls are present for when the conditions are not ideal for autonomous driving.

Level 5: Full Automation – The car takes full control without any assistance from the passenger. There is no need for a steering wheel or any other driving controls.

It is believed that current technology has brought us to a level somewhere between 2 and 3, but some think there are cars that meet level 4.

What is it that is holding us back from attaining a fully automated vehicle?

  • Our roadways are not ready yet
    1. The proper type and amount of road signs necessary for cars to utilize
    2. Wireless connections to the grid would be helpful for cars to determine the traffic infrastructure
    3. Lane and road markings are not up to par in many locations
    4. Pot holes/obstacles
  • Cars need to communicate with each other
    • This is currently in development and being tested
  • Governments must make decisions and establish guidelines
    1. Who is liable when an automated vehicle causes and accident
    2. How to navigate the roads while traditional non-automated cars exist
    3. The economic pushback that is inevitable from hired drivers (trucking, taxis)
    4. What are the appropriate weather conditions

A timeline for fully automated cars is so difficult to predict.  Some optimists believe we will be at level 5 in just a few years, but many engineers involved in the effort seem to think that we will achieve level 4 in this decade, but level 5 is decades away.

Electronics are the foundation for autonomous vehicles.  If you are searching for a hard-to-find electronic component, please contact one of our Search Experts by email; USA calisales@aeri.com , Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com

Disruption in the Electronic Component Supply Chain

AERI is seeing increased demand for our hard-to-find and long lead time business sectors, driven primarily by a disruption in the supply chain.  Every business is seeing fairly dramatic changes; fortunately not all negative.  The COVID 19 induced plant closures for some manufacturers in combination with exponentially increased demand for remote work/school items as well as some other niche products is creating havoc for many electronic component types.  Some overall positive examples of broader industries are; home products and furnishings +97%, DIY products +136%, electronics +26.6%, telecom products +18.6 %.  The obvious losers are; automobiles -53%, travel -44%, and retail sales -16.4%.

Deloitte published a report stating that, “COVID-19 might become the black swan event that forces the semiconductor industry to transform its global supply chain model.”  An April survey from the Electronic Components Industry Alliance’s (ECIA’s) Chief Analyst, Dale Ford, showed that concern about the impact on the production of electronic components increased by 12 percent (See article).  The report also suggests that all businesses have been impacted to some degree and that 90 percent of respondents expect a serious to severe impact on their businesses over the next two to three months.

On a brighter note, while the economy is still struggling, data from Luminati Networks and QuickLizard suggests that sales of consumer electronics such as tablets and laptops have increased 900% year-over-year due to the increase in people working and learning from home.  In addition, Apple announced on April 30 that its quarterly earnings miraculously increased by 1% from last year.

In summary, we are finding that it is hard to predict anything these days.  Will there be a massive electronic component shortage due to increased demand from key industries, such as 5G, and IoT, while component manufacturers struggle to keep production up, attempting to maintain safety for their staff?  Or will lack of demand for electronic products due to a recession create a glut of components?  Only time will tell, but don’t just wait around and see.  Although a lot of extra work is required, one has to prepare for all scenarios in these unprecedented times.  It would be prudent to order components now to secure your production schedule, whatever it might be.

To lock in your electronic components to avoid production slowdowns, please contact one of our Search Experts by email; USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com.

AERI Helping the Fight Against COVID 19. 

At AERI we have found great purpose and a sense of satisfaction helping those on the front lines of this battle. We are supporting multiple manufacturers of equipment being used to fight against the deadly COVID 19 coronavirus.   Most importantly test equipment and respirators.  Testing for the virus will be the world’s way forward to stop the rampant spread of the disease.  We have already seen how effective testing has been in South Korea (see article).  And respirators will help those who fall most ill, stay alive.   It is our hope that the team at AERI makes a real difference in this crucial fight for life.

Whether your product is saving lives or powering your nation, please contact one of our Search Experts by email USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com

How the Coronavirus Epidemic is Affecting the Electronic Component Supply Chain

The Coronavirus has affected more than just the thousands of unfortunate people that have contracted the illness.  We and the rest of the world are watching the news with great sadness for those affected.  Being one of the largest exporters of goods in the world, this outbreak in China will also send ripple effects throughout supply chains globally.  The largest electronics manufacturers are all building in China, which is why half the world’s component inventory is basically quarantined.  Suppliers in China are all telling us that they are closed through at least February 17th, but even that is just a guess at this point.  

Some of the companies which have China facilities which been shut down are;

  • Advanced Semiconductor
  • Amphenol
  • Diodes Inc.
  • Molex
  • Kemet
  • Panasonic
  • Renesas
  • Samsung Electronics
  • TDK
  • Yageo
  • AOC
  • Flex
  • Jabil
  • Asteel-Flash 

There are small pools of electronic components in other parts of the world, but don’t be the last one to go fishing for them.  AERI has access to all of the world’s remaining inventory, whether it is in the Original Component Manufacturer’s warehouse or in excess inventory at an OEM that doesn’t need them at the moment.  Reach out to your dedicated Search Expert at AERI or click the link to send us your list of parts you are concerned about.  

Contact our team to learn more and plan your supply solutions.

 

As we look at the recent history of similar disruptions, in November 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) started spreading around from the world’s electronics manufacturing center, southern China. The virus infected 8,098 people causing 774 deaths worldwide. Without minimizing the personal, human toll of this event, it is important to understand the business and economic impact. SARS costs companies an estimated $40B and reduced GDP in Asia by an estimated .4% in 2003.

Less than a month ago, this new virus, also likely passed from animals to humans, began showing up in the central China city of Wuhan. This virus is much more widespread, the novel Wuhan Coronavirus has more than 40,000 people around the world – most of them in China.

See this informative and functional map of Coronavirus locations and statistics


https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Time will only tell how this virus will affect the electronic component supply chain, but for now, join us in prayer and thought for the thousands whose health have been affected by this terrible situation. 

Will 5G Cause Another Shortage and When?

Unfortunately, another electronic component shortage is looming due to the amazing technology and speed of the 5G network.  One of the biggest questions is; when will it take effect?  5G is set to create another revolution in electronics, but how quickly will it take hold?  The big wireless networks have all begun their initial rollouts to a small group of most metropolitan cities. The plan for the largest players, such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, is to cover the US by the end of 2020.  This will be a boon to mobile phone sales initially, but on their heels will be a number of new applications, some that we cannot even imagine at this point.  We will see enhancements to autonomous vehicles, a host of new IoT products, hologram applications to take connecting people across long distances to a whole new level, and virtual reality becoming mainstream. 

These massive changes to the electronics segment beg the next question; how big of an effect will it have on the electronic components industry?  It is estimated that to create just the infrastructure to lay the foundation of the market, which will be happening on a large scale in 2020, will consume $10’s of billions of electronic components.  The overall market segment is expected to reach a valuation of $700 billion by the end of 2025.  The growth rate of the overall 5G industry is estimated to be between 70%-100% per year for the next 5 years.  That is a huge spike in the demand of electronic components.

All signs point to another period of increasing lead times for electronic components.  One of the best protection against your production line coming to a halt, due to one hard to find or counterfeit electronic component, is to have a great independent distributor partner in your back pocket.  AERI’s global reach and quality certifications, such as the AS6081 (Counterfeit Detection Standard) qualify us to support the most discerning manufacturers.  Contact one of our Search Experts by email; USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com to schedule a meeting to discuss your needs and requirements.

Counterfeit Detection – Like Playing the Game Clue

The detection of counterfeit electronic components is a lot like playing the classic board game Clue.  Often times we find that there are a number of unusual traits, that by themselves may not make the parts guilty, but when you put all of the evidence together, it becomes apparent that you have found your suspect (counterfeit).  We had a great example of this game of Clue last month.  This particular group of counterfeits lacked some of the more obvious smoking revolver types of evidence.  Blacktopping is one of the most common and easy traits of a counterfeit to observe, but this group of parts had no extra coating to cover up their marking removal.  As you can see in the image, the texture varies in the same place on every part, when viewed with the right lighting.  The suspect, in this case, pulled out his weapon of choice, the micro sandblaster, to remove unwanted part markings, leaving varying textures as our first clue.

Our next clue was the very odd-shaped Motorola Logo.  Without a microscope, it is very difficult to decipher the unusual design of the faked logo.  Take note of the authentic logo as a comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAD LOGO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD LOGO

And our last clue, which was as good as a smoking revolver, was the multiple countries of origin for the same lot code of parts.  The same lot of parts cannot be made in different countries.  That goes beyond all traceability reasoning.  Lot’s are created and tracked to make it easy to locate any deficiencies in a manufacturer’s processing.  The idea is to identify a lot for parts that have gone through identical processing within a small time period.  Parts made in a different country will be manufactured with different machinery, different staff, and often different raw materials; so they will never have the same lot code.

To assure that you are buying authentic parts, please contact one of our Search Experts by email USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com.

Scam Artist Luring Buyers Posing as Franchised Distributors

Scam artists are paying for premium google ad placement for specific part numbers, taking orders and never shipping the product.  There has been a recent trend, which ERAI has been following, as one complaint after another is reported.  Current calculations, just recorded by ERAI complaints alone, total $300,000 in losses.  The perpetrators quote the electronic components, request money to be wired in advance, then later the so-called authorized distributors are nowhere to be found.  They do not pick up their phone, answer e-mails or any other communication.  ERAI offers some risk indicators below; 

  1. The sites falsely claim to be authorized distributors for major semiconductor brands.
  2. The sites falsely claim to be members of ECIA.
  3. The sites share almost identical language and, in some instances, are a mirror copy of one another.
  4. Obsolete and hard to find parts are identified as in “stock” at below market prices.

For in depth detail of websites and bank account details related to this scam please visit ERAI’s full report.

To see if there are truly parts out there for your most difficult requirements, please contact one of our Search Experts by email USA calisales@aeri.com, Asia ausales@aeri.com, or Europe uksales@aeri.com