capacitor shortage, component, MLCC, mosfets, multi-layered ceramic chip capacitors, passive components, shortage
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Quarterly Supply Chain Update: Q2 2019

This is an update for the previous article Component Market Shortages: Passives that MacroFab reported on in February 2018.

No Relief for Large Package MLCCs

We are starting to see an easing up in component shortages, except in the case of Ceramic Capacitors (MLCC). During the past two years of component shortages, component manufacturers seem to have been taking the opportunity to end of life legacy products while bringing up newer packages and technologies. This has lead to the larger package sizes (0805, 1206, 1210, etc.) for MLCCs remaining in short supply. Component manufactures for MLCCs seem to be pushing smaller MLCC packages (0603 and smaller) as the profit margin for those lines seems to be higher. Component manufacturers are still taking orders for some of the larger packages but you can expect prices to rise and the variety of these components begin to slim in the future. Relatively new passive component manufacturer, Samsung, is bringing online larger package MLCC lines to help meet demand but they alone might not be able to keep up with demand.

Shortage of Tantalite Ore

There is currently a shortage of tantalite ore which is putting a strain on the tantalum capacitor supply chain. However, with the automotive market demand starting to cool off, the demand for tantalum capacitors should drop off and allow the supply to relax a bit.

Integrated Circuits Supply Stabilizes Yet Prices Increase

The last several years we have seen several component manufacturers merge together or buy out other smaller manufacturers. Component manufacturers are using this opportunity to increase prices. Even though lead times are relatively stable for Integrated Circuit devices, the increased global demand on them is allowing component manufacturers to increase prices. Expect higher than average price increases across the board for integrated circuit devices in the near future.

MOSFET Wafer Supply Thin

A shortage of high-quality wafers and production capability for MOSFETs and transistors has pushed lead times for these components to well beyond the normal time frames. Component manufacturers are also prioritizing higher margin product lines, meaning that lower cost option lead times will skyrocket. Automotive spec MOSFETs seem to be having improved lead times due to the relaxing automotive market but other MOSFET types are still experiencing higher than normal lead times.

Conclusion

With the higher than expected demand, obsolescence of legacy parts, turbulent company mergers, and a lack of manufacturing bandwidth, we are still seeing major disruption in the electronic component supply chain.

Overall, expect an improvement in component availability in Q3 of 2019 for everything except for MOSFETs, transistors, and large package MLCCs. If your product has large package MLCCs, consider a redesign to utilize a smaller package or look into other manufacturers that are still making the component sizes you need. For MOSFET components you will need to consider designing around the shortage problem by having a robust selection of alternates that work with your product.

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