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How Do Component Shortages Impact Circuits Assembly Schedules?

Component Shortages Impact Circuits Assembly Schedules

The electronics industry relies on a highly-interconnected supply chain. A single component shortage can impact production schedules and delay delivery of final products to end customers.

The current shortage is the result of many different factors, including increased demand from booming markets in automotive, consumer electronic devices, and the 5G growth. In addition, regulatory pressure on semiconductor companies, accidents at several high-profile Japanese facilities, and weather-related power outages have contributed to extended manufacturing lead times. This combination of factors has created an environment in which demand exceeds manufacturing capacity, leading to increased prices and longer lead times for the raw materials needed to produce components.

For EMS and OEM suppliers, this means that even if the end-product is ready to ship, they cannot do so if a critical part is unavailable. This is especially true for the most complex PCBs and assemblies. It also means that it takes longer for these products to make their way through the approval process and into production. This impacts customers who are awaiting the next generation of technology, and it can cause product delays and lost sales.

Printed circuits assembly (PCBs) themselves can be designed to aid in thermal management. For instance, incorporating thermal vias—small holes filled with conductive material—helps to transfer heat from the top layers of the PCB to the bottom layers or to a heat sink attached to the board’s underside. Additionally, selecting appropriate materials for the PCB substrate and strategically placing components can improve thermal performance.

As an industry, we must work together to mitigate these effects and keep the manufacturing pipeline moving forward. This requires planning and proactive design flexibility, communication with suppliers, and instituting new tools to identify and prioritize potential risks. A risk assessment tool like Possible X 2.0 can help identify potential issues early in the process and recommend alternatives.

How Do Component Shortages Impact Circuits Assembly Schedules?

During the early stages of a project, it is important to consider the availability of each major component. This includes the CPU, wireless device, memory, display, and more. If these are difficult to procure, it may be necessary to rethink the design. Alternatively, it may be possible to use drop-in replacements that have a similar function and performance profile. Performing this type of evaluation early on in the process will allow for better planning and ensure that the project is not delayed.

It is also important to communicate with the supplier about the project timeline and what is critical for them to meet. If they are unable to meet these needs, it is important to know as soon as possible so that alternate options can be explored and approved. Using a system that offers rapid and collaborative approval of alternative inventory can also save time during a crisis.

Component shortages can have significant impact on production and delay the launch of new technologies. In addition, it can increase the costs of existing technologies and cause delays in the development of future upgrades or upgrades to existing hardware. The industry is working diligently to improve and implement new processes, tools, and strategies that will help alleviate these challenges. However, the current state of affairs is likely to continue for some time to come.

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