A recent press release from research firm, Gartner Inc., suggests there may be shortages of components during the transition to lead-free inventory. The concern is with the non-compliant parts. As component suppliers produce more RoHS-compliant parts, they will discontinue the production of non-compliant parts. Problem is, those in the defense, aerospace and medical equipment industries depend on those non-compliant parts since they are exempt from the European Union’s RoHS laws.
But so far, we’re not hearing about significant parts shortages. Our conversations with distributors reveal that the rush to RoHS compliance has been more of a walk. Avnet notes that fewer than 50 percent of its orders call specifically for compliant inventory. As for non-compliant parts, we’re not hearing of shortages, extended lead times or spiking prices.
That could change as legislation in Asia and North America produce additional compliance deadlines. For now, however, the component industry seems to be balancing inventory in a manner that’s not disruptive to the market.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.