PCB Components Shortages: from Distant Future to Harsh Reality

IoT buyers, take note! Here’s what you need to know about purchasing PCB components.

For a long time, it seemed like the scenario applied more to the distant future. But it has become harsh reality much sooner than expected. All over the world, certain PCB components and raw materials are becoming scarcer all the time. This is having an enormous impact on buyers of PCBA in the IoT industry.

The challenge

First let’s return to the problem: the availability of more and more EMS components is coming under increasing pressure. Why is that happening? There are four main reasons for it:

1. The demand for PCB components is increasing.

As a PCBA designer, you know this better than anyone: the number of IoT applications is growing every day. And so is the need for the components and raw materials used to manufacture them.

2. Many PCB component suppliers have streamlined their catalogues.

There has been a major allocation of production, so there are fewer producers left. Moreover, these producers have discontinued a number of less regular and less successful products.

3. More and more raw materials are becoming scarcer.

Initially, this seemed to be incidental, but the figures are looking bleaker all the time. For example, the availability of copper has decreased significantly since manufacturers started producing electric cars on a larger scale.

4. Due to miniaturization, any larger components are being phased out.

The industry will be working more and more with smaller components, so the production of larger components is becoming less attractive. PCBA design is becoming more important. 

Miniaturization electronic components

This leads to two different results.

On the one hand, there is increasing uncertainty about the future availability of larger and less common PCBA components. And that is obviously affecting your products. So you need to know:

  • Which smart components will still be available for my products in the long run?
  • Which smart components are being phased out?
  • And… what are the alternatives? (Also when a component is withdrawn from the market without warning, which has been known to happen…)

On the other hand, we’re seeing a substantial increase in the prices of these products. That too requires a smart approach. 

The solution

As a PCBA buyer for the IoT industry, you have little or no control over the causes. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and accept it. If we do that, we’re sure to encounter problems.

The solution? Work together!

First and foremost, with your own engineers. How can we plan for the availability of particular EMS components in our designs?

Necessary insights

But what about our specialized buyers? After all, they have a knowledge of the market and the insights required to respond to these trends. They also happen to have a database with all the available information about every component worldwide, ranging from compounds, Bills of Materials, and Intrastat codes to price developments, alternative management, and life-cycle management. They’ve literally got it all.

Semecs electronic components availability forecast

Example Bill Of Material Risk Profile, which can be found in our whitepaper about PCB component management.

That means we can always base the advice we give you on the most current and complete insights. And together we can minimize the risks of the limited availability of your PCBA components. And let’s face it, whoever knows the market through and through will also be able to make purchases at a better price.

Like to join us?

In a nutshell, we need to be vigilant! Not just us, but you too. The market is demanding it of us, and we’re ready to act. Like to join us?

This article is a summary of our whitepaper about PCB component management. Please feel free to download the whitepaper if you want to learn more about this subject.

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