Semiconductor shortage has disrupted the electronic world. Despite the global efforts, companies are facing severe challenges.
The development of Integrated Circuits (ICs) improved the electronic industry significantly. These circuits steered the making of video graphic cards, cell phones, laptops, and other intelligent devices. However, these components require a high manufacturing cost and competent PCB designers for implementation. Despite the importance of semiconductor chips in the modern world, some unfortunate events gave rise to the chip shortage in more than 169 countries.
It means the demand for these components increased while the supply and manufacturing rapidly declined. Although numerous happenings like the China-USA Trade War and Russia-Ukraine War affected the chip-making industries, the COVID-19 pandemic kickstarted the crisis.
What caused the chip shortage?
Every crisis has some triggering factors. Similarly, IC shortage was brought forth by major incidents that fluctuated the overall industry. The pandemic disrupted the global supply chain. Factories ceased to manufacture electronic components while simultaneously the work-from-home routine increased consumer demands.
Moreover, the growing demand for automotive components, IoT and 5G networking devices, and other automation needs have accelerated the deficiency. Based on the assumptions made on existing consumer and market data, several authorities predicted that the semiconductor-constrained pattern would prevail till 2023.
Challenges the semiconductor shortage brought forth
The shortage of semiconductor chips has dramatically impacted the expenses, both on the manufacturing and the consuming end. The companies are manufacturing a limited number of chips sold at a higher price to fund further production. The automobile industry has severely faced disruption.
In addition to the significant consumer needs, the semiconductor shortage is also gravely affecting local PCB companies. Lack of supply has produced numerous obstacles to fulfilling customer needs.
The manufacturing industry, especially electronic manufacturing, has also endured the devastation of the semiconductor shortage. Many companies have stopped the launch of new products. According to experts, the production and prices of products rose significantly.
Prioritizing specific sectors
As the supply wobbles, the operational sectors prioritize the chip supply to specific sectors. Since the electronic components required to construct a semiconductor chip are limited, they are supplied to high-priority sectors like automobiles and mobiles. They are ultimately leaving several PCB companies dry of the necessary supply.
A report predicts that IoT markets will face a significant setback, and it will take longer for the sector to regain the essential chip supply to meet demands.
Delay of 5G networks
The lack of chips has also hindered the rollout of 5G network devices. Although the demand was surging, the 6% shipment drop hampered its growth. Ultimately, pushing the implementation of 5G lower on the list.
Additionally, networking PCB designers face difficulties meeting the rising customer demands as production declines beyond control. Samsung (who also works as a PCB manufacturer) stated in November 2021 that an imbalanced business year lies ahead as the semiconductor shortage will prevail until the second part of 2022.
Endeavors made for combating IC shortage
Many electronic industries are striving to work out the prevailing problem. For instance, the largest chip-making company TSMC has invested millions of dollars in setting up new manufacturing plants.
Similarly, the United State Senate passed a CHIPS Act, which will provide 52 billion dollars in funds for the manufacturing of chips. Similarly, European countries have formed a pact for coping with the issue.
Also, Sony and TSMC have partnered with the Japanese government to produce new fabs. Although these efforts sound promising, the new fabs won’t start production till 2023 or even beyond.
How to deal with IC shortage?
Various reports have predicted that the chip shortage will last until 2024. Therefore, several companies have implemented some tactics to survive the disruption.
For instance, you can increase the stockpiling capacity of your company. Furthermore, you can predict the customer needs using advanced methods and devise the components accordingly or direct their attention towards available products.
Also, a company can align its production to the variations in the supply. PCB companies generally use two common approaches: designing for resilience and designing for availability.
Although these methods are suitable, they only work for large-scale companies. Local PCB designers face grave issues as the insufficient supply challenges the design process and customer satisfaction. Additionally, the redesigning of circuits is arduous and time-consuming. All these prevailing challenges require a targeted solution.
Here Arshon comes into the scene. It is a trusted and competent company that aims to make significant efforts in this technological crisis locally. Some of the areas the company manifests in are:
- Finding alternates
- Redesigning of PCB circuits to accommodate different IC packages
- Designing adaptive PCBs
- Simulating the function into a CPLD or an FPGA
- Redesigning of the circuits
The semiconductor shortage prevailed due to several incidents which affected the global supply chain. Since the disruption caused a steep slope in the demand and supply graph, manufacturers are trying hard to deal with the matter.
Different strategies are constructed on organizational and international levels. However, these don’t solve PCB designers’ and companies’ everyday dilemmas. Therefore, Arshon took it upon itself to provide the necessary chip shortage solutions for local chip designers. The company’s competence and targeted methods have helped many, and it aims to increase these numbers until global solutions work.
Author: Anna Mohammadlou IoT Hardware Designer at Arshon Technology Inc.