Component Lead Time

October 22, 2021

Component Lead Time

Worldwide Chip Shortage Increasing Lead Times

Originally Published June 2, 2021. Updated July 29, August 16, and October 22, 2021.

The worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips continues to impact the electronics industry, including Machine Vision Store and our suppliers. Many semiconductor components are in short supply globally.

The Back Story

Automakers cut back on computer chip orders in early 2020. Instead of buying cars, consumers were equipping new home offices. The consumer electronics industry eagerly absorbed the excess supply of chips.

With 2021 car sales bouncing back sooner than expected and continued high demand for consumer electronics, production capacity for semiconductor components is unable to meet current worldwide demand. Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota and others have had to temporarily halt production at some plants due to the shortage of electronic components. Ford said that its first quarter production would be cut by 10 to 20% because of chip scarcity.

Since many industries use the same electronic components, the issues are not limited to the auto industry. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphones, said a severe global shortage in chips would hurt its business into the next quarter.” They go on to report that the shortages have spread to all parts of the consumer-electronics sector.

The Impact on Machine Vision

Our partner suppliers are finding it difficult to source the semiconductors needed to build their products. Lead times have dramatically increased.

Basler reported in July that lead times for many Ace U, Ace L, and Ace 2 cameras having a Sony sensor and a USB interface are at 14 weeks. Comparable models having an Ethernet interface are at 18 weeks. Cameras having sensors from On Semiconductor, Teledyne, and AMS range from 20 to 33 weeks, or longer. Lead times have not improved since then.

Matrox initially had sufficient inventory to keep building their vision controllers, interface cards and frame grabbers. However, lead times for many products have recently increased to 20 weeks or more. Again, due to component scarcity.

Yahoo News quoted Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo saying in October that "The semiconductor situation is going to take a long time to fix. This is one I feel confident saying it's not going to be fixed in a month or two, or six, or 12 months." A September survey of semiconductor distributors found that a majority of these companies now expect the shortage to persist "deep into 2022," with 32% of respondents going even further saying they will last into 2023.

The Bottom Line

It will often take Machine Vision Store, as well as other suppliers, longer to ship your components than usual. Factory lead times have been changing rapidly, and it is not unusual for estimated ship dates to change as the situation evolves.

What is Machine Vision Store doing about this?

  1. We've been ordering more cameras and computers for our inventory. Many of these items sell before they arrive in our warehouse.
  2. Machine Vision Store is working to provide customers with the most-current delivery information available. If you sign in to our website, you can view inventory status on each product’s web page. If we don’t currently have inventory of the camera you need, please contact us prior to placing an order.
  3. We have the knowledge and experience to help you select a different camera or computer if a substitution is necessary. Perhaps we have a different model from the same manufacturer that can meet your requirements. Or maybe one of our other partner suppliers offers a comparable model with a shorter lead time.

What can you do about this?

  • Anticipate longer lead times and plan ahead.
  • Understand that none of your suppliers are immune to this worldwide shortage.
  • Anticipate future demand and purchase your own inventory now.
  • Keep your designs flexible and forgiving of substitutions.
  • Communicate with your customers to manage their expectations.
  • Contact our staff for assistance. We'll do our best to help you through this situation.

Machine Vision Store's camera partners include:

Tags: Cameras, computers, frame grabbers, availability

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