Wanted in large volumes: resistors!

November 9, 2017 | 00:00
Wanted in large volumes: resistors! Image: ECIA.
Wanted in large volumes: resistors! Image: ECIA.
Totally forgotten it seems by the programming generation, the humble resistor is a basic building block in almost any electronic product rather than a “strategic design differentiator”. Today, all of a sudden, the resistor is proving hard to source, and that’s bad news for electronics OEMs — as well as the programmers.

According to the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) the shortage with lead times at 40 plus weeks concerns both thick film and thin film resistors. Good old through-hole R’s are aplenty including carbon film, metal film, metal oxide or carbon composition.

It’s not a global issue currently, since many resistors are made in Taiwan and those suppliers seem to be maintaining capacity, according to the ECIA. North American customers in particular are in a squeeze though as they order their resistors from various Japanese manufacturers, and one European.

So who is sucking up all those supplies? Resistor makers are finding that automotive customers are a potentially more lucrative customer than any other. So if your Farduino UltimoCinquocento microcontroller board is “delayed in volume production” you may be right to blame your neighbour for buying a new car: all those precious resistors may be in the in-vehicle gizmos.

Industry sources say that the shortages won’t be addressed any time soon. Some resistor makers are adding capacity, but that is not expected to impact shortages until late this year or early next year. Small comfort:  "audio" passive components (?help?) are subject to even greater lead times -- see the graph for some remarkable trends.

Source: ECIA; EBN online
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