How Do Component Shortages Impact Printed Circuit Board Assembly Schedules?

Shortages Impact Printed Circuit Board Assembly Schedules

Printed circuit board assembly schedules can be affected when standard components become scarce due to supply chain disruption. This can result in price increases, product delays, and even production halts. It is important for businesses to understand the impact that these shortages can have on their supply chain.

Component shortages are not a new problem, but this year’s crisis has been more widespread than most previous years. In addition to raw material supply constraints, Covid-19 factory lockdowns and the ongoing war in Ukraine have increased demand and caused supply disruptions. As a result, manufacturers are seeing lead times extend to 6 months and beyond, and prices are rising.

The shortages have affected many different industries, including automotive manufacturing, where some of the most complex electronic components are required. This means that many circuit board assembly are undergoing redesigns to make them fit the available parts, while others may be discontinued altogether. In either case, the impact of these shortages can be felt throughout the supply chain and can have significant repercussions for companies and customers alike.

How Do Component Shortages Impact Printed Circuit Board Assembly Schedules?

One way that these shortages can be addressed is through proactive inventory management practices, such as just-in-time (JIT) delivery and a focus on reducing overall inventory holding costs, which include storage space, insurance, and scrap costs. However, these techniques require a significant shift in mindset and a close partnership with suppliers to monitor and forecast demand accurately and coordinate efficiently.

Another solution is to be as flexible as possible in the design phase. As part of your PCB design process, it is important to identify which components are critical and what the alternatives might be if they were suddenly unavailable. This will allow your design team to plan around the potential risks and to be prepared for any rescheduling of projects that may occur as a result of these shortages.

To further minimize the risk of your designs being impacted by component shortages, it is also worth exploring alternative components or technologies that can be used in place of those currently experiencing supply constraints. This might involve designing with lower requirements or integrating functionality that can be performed remotely, such as cloud or edge computing, rather than relying on local processing power.

The next step is to place the components onto the PCB. This can be done manually for small-scale production or using automated pick-and-place machines for larger volumes. Automated assembly offers higher speed and accuracy, minimizing the risk of errors and improving efficiency. Components are placed according to the design layout, with precise positioning to ensure proper electrical connections.

Finally, partnering with a trusted contract manufacturer with access to a network of reliable supply partners can help reduce the impact that these shortages can have on your business. CMs can provide a number of key PCB services that can help you get through this challenging time, including prototyping, manufacturing, and testing. They can also provide risk assessment and recommend preemptive actions to mitigate the effects of these shortages and future ones that may arise in the future.

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