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Active Components Electronic Components Passive Components Semiconductor

Superconductivity

Superconductivity is the absence of any electrical resistance of some materials at specific low temperatures. As a starting point this is pretty vague, so let’s define it a bit more clearly.

The benefits of a superconductor is that it can sustain a current indefinitely, without the drawback of resistance. This means it won’t lose any energy over time, as long as the material stays in a superconducting state.

Uses

Superconductors are used in some magnetic devices, like medical imaging devices and energy-storage systems. They can also be used in motors, generators and transformers, or devices for measuring magnetic fields, voltages, or currents.

The low power dissipation, high-speed operation and high sensitivity make superconductors an attractive prospect. However, due to the cool temperatures required to keep the material in a superconducting state, it’s not widely utilised.

Effect of temperature

The most common temperature that triggers the superconductor effect is -253⁰C (20 Kelvin). High-temperature superconductors also exist and have a transition temperature of around -193⁰C (80K).

This so-called transition temperature is not easily achieved under normal circumstances, hence why you don’t hear about superconductors that often. Currently superconductors are mostly used in industrial applications so they can be kept at low temperatures more efficiently.

Type I and Type II

You can sort superconductors into two types depending on their magnetic behaviour. Type I materials are only in their superconducting state until a threshold is reached, at which point they will no longer be superconducting.

Type II superconducting materials have two critical magnetic fields. After the first critical magnetic field the superconductor moves into a ‘mixed state’. In this state some of the superconductor reverts to normal conducting behaviour, which takes pressure off another part of the material and allows it to continue as a superconductor. At some point the material will hit its second critical magnetic field, and the entire material will revert to regular conducting behaviour.

This mixed state of type II superconductors has made it possible to develop magnets for use in high magnetic fields, like in particle accelerators.

The materials

There are 27 metal-based elements that are superconductors in their usual crystallographic forms at low temperatures and low atmospheric pressure. These include well-known materials such as aluminium, tin and lead.

Another 11 elements that are metals, semimetals or semiconductors can also be superconductors at low temperatures but high atmospheric pressure. There are also elements that are not usually superconducting, but can be made to be if prepared in a highly disordered form.

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Electronic Components Passive Components Technology

Traditional fuses and eFuses

Fuses are an essential electronic component in most circuits, and act as a safety feature to keep the other components within the circuit safe. Billions are used today to safeguard against circuit failures.

The purpose of fuses

If a circuit is overloaded, or there is a voltage surge, the fuse essentially self-destructs to protect the rest of the circuit. A traditional fuse contains a central fusible element that, when heated to excessive temperatures, melts and stops the flow of current through the circuit.

The speed that the thermal fuse melts depends on the how much heat is being caused by the current, and what temperature the fuse is designed to react to. The fuse can be designed with different melting elements that have varying melting points and resistance, so the currents they can cope with can differ.

eFuses

The new kid on the block is the newer electronic fuse, or eFuse. This component is an updated, re-usable version of the more traditional thermal, one-use fuse.

This component comprises of a field-effect transistor (FET) and a sense resistor. The resistor measures the voltage across it, and when it exceeds a certain limit, the current is cut off by the FET. Usually, the eFuse is placed in series with a thermal fuse rather than replacing it, giving the circuit a second layer of more localised protection for components.

Often eFuses are used as a protection when components are plugged into a computer while the power is still on, also called hot-swapping. In automotive applications, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and battery management eFuses are a great tool to protect the circuits.

An offer you can’t reFuse.

As thermal fuses have been around for so long, it’s unsurprising that there are certain things the more recent eFuse can do slightly better.

The first and most straightforward advantage is the lifespan: once a thermal fuse is activated and the element inside it fuses, it will have to be replaced. The eFuse, however, can be reset and used multiple times without requiring replacement.

The eFuse is also able to respond to a circuit overload more quickly and works in circuits with a lower current and voltage. For some eFuses the current level it reacts at is set, but for some types it can be altered by an external resistor.

It’s possible to create a homemade eFuse too, just by putting together a few FETs, a resistor and an inductor, which filters the output and acts as your sense resistor.

Reaching melting point

Both fuses have their uses, and utilised together are even more effective as a circuit failsafe. However, each designer must consider their requirements and what will best suit their clients. There are scenarios where the thermal fuse just won’t do the job, and it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

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Component Shortage Electronic Components Passive Components Semiconductor Technology

What is causing the surge in semiconductor and passive components?

As the world becomes smarter and more connected, the components used in electronic circuits are seeing a surge in demand.

Semiconductors and passive components (resistors, capacitors, inductors, transforms) are seeing a surge in demand as chip-heavy vehicles, consumer electronics and smart, Internet of Things devices are produced in larger quantities.

This demand is creating a shortage of semiconductors, integrated circuits and passive components. The situation today is that the factories that make certain components can’t make enough of them. This squeezes supply chains and ramps up the price, creating a high level of inflation passed down the supply chain.

The surge in semiconductor and passive component demand has reached an inflexion point. Demand has outstripped supply for many components, leading to car manufacturing lines shutting down and companies delaying product launches.

Tailwinds fuelling demand  

  • Smart vehicles
  • Consumer electronics
  • Military technology
  • Internet of Things
  • Data centres
  • 5G
  • Satellites
  • Artificial intelligence and robotics

At no other point in history has there been so many exciting technologies developing at the same time. However, while exciting, these technologies are putting strain on the electronic components supply chain.

Passives surge 

Passive components include resistors, capacitors, inductors, and transforms in various specifications. There are thousands of makes and unit models. They are essential to making electronic circuits. Without passives, there are no circuits!

Cars, electronics, satellites, 5G, data centres, Internet of Things, displays, and everything else powered by electricity, depends on passives. As devices get smarter, more components are needed, creating a cycle that will only go up.

Passives shortage 

Certain diodes, transistors and resistors are in shorter supply than in 2020. This is partly because of the coronavirus pandemic, which impacted manufacturing lines. Still, many manufacturers also shifted manufacturing investment to active components with a higher margin, creating a supply imbalance.

Even without these significant bottlenecks, the supply of passive components is downward while demand goes up. For example, a typical smartphone requires over 1,000 capacitors and cars require around 22,000 MLCCs alone. We’re talking billions of passive components in just two sectors.

Semiconductor surge 

Semiconductors (chips, in this case, not the materials) are integrated circuits produced on a piece of silicon. On the chip, transistors act as electrical switches that can turn a current on or off. So, semiconductors and passives are linked.

Chips are effectively the brains of every computing device. Demand for chips is increasing as circuits become more complex. While chips are getting smaller, manufacturing output is only slowly increasing, creating a supply shortage.

Semiconductor shortage 

The semiconductor shortage was years in the making, but things came to a head when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

At the start of the pandemic, vehicles sales dived. In response, manufacturers cancelled orders for semiconductors and other parts. Meanwhile, electronics sales exploded, filling the semiconductor order book left by the automotive sector. When vehicle manufacturing ramped up again, there weren’t enough chips to go around.

Manufacturing limitations are confounding the problem. It takes 3-4 years to open a semiconductor foundry or fabless plant, but investment in new plants in 2018 and 2019 was low. So, new plants are few and far between.

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Component Shortage Passive Components

The tech industry is bracing for a potential shortage of passive electronic components

By now, everyone has heard of the global semiconductor shortage. Still, the tech industry is bracing itself for an altogether larger shortage of passive electronic components that could reduce manufacturing output across multiple categories.

Passive components do not generate energy but can store and dissipate it. They include resistors, inductors (coils), capacitors, transformers, and diodes, connecting to active elements in circuits. Passives are necessary for circuit architecture, so the shortage is bad news for the electronics industry as a whole.

The current state of the passive component shortage 

The truth is there has been a shortage of certain passive components since the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, particularly with multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), which can be difficult to get hold of in large quantities.

Certain diodes, transistors and resistors are also in shorter supply than they were in 2019, partly because of the pandemic and a shift in manufacturing investment for active components, which have a higher margin.

You also need to look at consumer trends (what people are buying). Smartphone and smartwatch sales are higher than ever, and smart ‘Internet of Things’ devices are growing in popularity rapidly, not to mention in availability.

These devices require a lot of passive components. For example, a typical smartphone requires over 1,000 capacitors. Cars are also huge consumers of passive components, with an electric car requiring around 22,000 MLCCs alone.

The trend for next-generation technology adoption is up across all categories, be it the Internet of Things, edge computing, semi-autonomous cars and 5G. Passive components are in more demand than ever at a time when supplies are under pressure.

Price rises are now inevitable 

The price for most passive components has risen by the largest amount in over a decade in 2021, caused by supply and demand economics and a price explosion for common materials like tin, aluminium and copper, as well as rare earth metals.

While some suppliers can afford to take a hit on profits, for most, raising prices is inevitable to ensure the viability of operations.

With higher component prices and greater shortages, it is more important than ever for companies to bolster their supply chains. Complacency is dangerous in today’s market, and no company is immune to disruption.

How to beat the passive components shortage 

The passive components shortage is likely to get worse before it gets better, but there are several ways you can bolster your supply chain:

  • Equivalents:Specifying equivalent passive components is a sound way to keep your supply chain moving. When a specific passive component isn’t available, an equivalent may be available that functions in exactly the same way.
  • Ditch outdated components:Outdated components have limited or no manufacturing output when discontinued. Upgrading to modern components that are manufactured in larger quantities can help you meet demand.
  • Partner with a global distributor:Global components distributors like us source and deliver day-to-day, shortage, hard-to-find and obsolete electronic components. We can help keep your supply chain moving in uncertain times. Contact us today SALES@CYCLOPS-ELECTRONICS.COM
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Electronic Components Passive Components

Passive and Interconnecting Electronic Components market to display lucrative growth

The passive and interconnecting electronic components market is predicted to display lucrative growth across all regions over 2020-2025, with North America the dominant market due to the prominence of players in the country.

These predictions come from The Passive and Interconnecting Electronic Components market report from Market Study Report, which you can request a sample of here. The report delivers a rigorous analysis of the market, examining the main growth drivers and restraints, as well as opportunities for revenue cycles.

The passive and IEC markets are forecasted to experience a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.1% from 2020-2025, with the US market expected to reach $32.3 billion by 2025, up from $28.6 billion in 2020.

Key players in the industry include:

  • ABB
  • API Technologies
  • AVX Corporation
  • ST Microelectronics
  • 3M Electronics
  • Fujitsu Component
  • American Electronic Components
  • Hamlin
  • Eaton Corp.
  • Datronix Holding Ltd

As the world gets smarter and demand for passive and interconnecting electronic components increases, small players will also take a bigger role. Trade barriers caused by geography will need to be overcome to meet demand, fuelling an explosion in growth across all developed markets, from Europe to Asia Pacific.

What is fuelling growth?

While the report provides in-depth analysis of factors that will fuel growth, we don’t want to tread on its toes, so we’ll provide a simpler analysis.

The reason the passive and interconnecting electronic component markets are going to experience significant growth over the next several years is because of industry tailwinds and technological advancement. Given today’s technological innovation, it’s no wonder that demand for all types of electronic component is soaring.

Disruptive new technologies, rapid advancement in existing technologies and the adoption of smarter, more connected devices, is fuelling unprecedented demand for everything from passive components to chips.

For example, in 2021, manufacturing of passive components could see an 11% increase, but demand is likely to exceed 15%.

Making supply meet demand

There has been a lot of talk about how the next great technological cycle will fuel growth for the semiconductor industry, but it’s important to recognise that chips are nothing but silicon and metal without other components like passives and IECs.

While supply for some components like display drivers is ticking along, there is a global shortage for other components like active, passive and electro-mechanical components, putting manufacturers in a compromised position.

The shortage for some IECs and passive components is expected to last several years, so making supply meet demand will be a challenge in the near future.

To make supply meet demand, suppliers and manufacturers will need to partner with well-connected distributors. Electronic component distributors are the best-connected players in the supply chain, linking sellers with buyers and vice versa.

Sourcing and allocating shortage electronic components is something that we specialise in at Cyclops. We help source components that are impossible to find, helping to keep supply chains moving and manufacturing plants going.

With the passive and interconnecting electronic components market set to soar, planning is essential to make supply meet demand and capitalise on growth.

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Active Components Passive Components

Active and passive components to see strong 5G-driven demand

As the international rollout of 5G picks up pace, active and passive component demand is increasing at a rate of knots.

The buildout of 5G infrastructure requires significant investment in active and passive components for a wide range of different devices.

Examples include active antennas with integrated RF radio designs, small cell power base stations, C-RAN architecture and semiconductors.

One of the challenges faced with the 5G rollout this year has been COVID-19, which had immediate effects on global supply in demand. Some of the side effects included increased costs, a slowdown in logistics, and a squeeze on demand.

While these challenges were significant in early 2020 and are likely to remain for some time, the macroeconomics are unlikely to persist in their worst form.

Right now, the manufacturing sector in most countries is bouncing back fast and many manufacturers are having their best ever quarter.

A good example is Taiwan Semiconductor, who are the largest semiconductor foundry in the world. Then you have smaller but vital players like MaxLinear, who make wireless, PON, DSL, and terrestrial products for high-speed internet.

How 5G is driving demand for active and passive components

You can think of 5G as a tide that is going to raise all ships, and active and passive components manufacturers are the ships that will benefit from it most because they will make the components that build out the 5G infrastructure.

It’s easy to see why this is the case with a short list of active and passive components. Let’s start with examples of passive components first:

  • Resistors
  • Inductors
  • Capacitors
  • Transformers

Now let’s list a few active components:

  • Generators
  • Transistors
  • Diodes
  • Inductors / coils

Now let’s look at a few of the components that will build out 5G:

  • Semiconductors
  • Antennas
  • Radio towers
  • RF receivers
  • Fibreoptic cable

Looking at these lists, it’s easy to see why 5G is driving such strong demand for active and passive components.

Can the components sector keep pace?

There are so many different manufacturers of electronic components that it is unlikely that the rollout of 5G will trouble the manufacturing sector.

However, local supply problems may exist for some enterprises. For example, a supplier of radio frequency devices in China may have to temporary shut production at a factory due to a fire or a health hazard. This would affect supply.

The best way for those involved in the rollout of 5G to safeguard their supply of active and passive components is to use an electronic component distributor. Electronic component distributor specialise in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts, so they can ensure you always have what you need.

A faster, more connected future awaits

5G will revolutionise our use of the internet in more ways than one, but the buildout is going to take time. Demand for active and passive components is at an all-time high, and competition is increasing for the best components. Having a component distributor on your side is a good way to ensure you can meet the challenge.

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