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.
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.