More than a year ago, distributors started to predict that non-compliant components would begin to dry up as component suppliers shifted to mostly lead-free production. This week may have seen the beginning of that trend. Some officials at Avnet Inc, a large components distributor, report the beginning of the tightening of the non-compliant parts supply.
The executives are reporting price increases for non-compliant inventory. Lead times are stretching out as well. The end-of-life notices for leaded parts have also increased, all indicating that component suppliers are cutting back on their production of non-compliant parts.
This trend was long predicted, since the exempt portion of the components market – mostly the defense, aerospace and medical industries – does not consume the large volume of parts purchased by the consumer electronics and business electronics markets. These recent changes may mark the beginning of the end for cheap off-the-shelf parts that were the preferred inventory for the exempt industries of defense and aerospace.