Breaking Down the Chip Shortage and Its Impact On the Automation Industry
Today’s factories are filled with technology from door to door. Each machine, process, and assembly line is powered by a variety of semiconductors and software that monitor their efficiency and produce data on every aspect of the production line.
This automation is extremely important for modern factories and helps manufacturers stay at the cutting edge in their fields.
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed almost every industry, forcing companies to adapt to changes at every turn. One of the most problematic situations to arise from the pandemic is the disruption of supply chains. This has occurred in almost every industry. However, it has hit the semiconductor sector especially hard.
From chip production delays to product shortages, companies that rely on these components for their automation efforts have repeatedly been left empty-handed. Although things around the world are starting to improve, the chip shortage continues to pose a problem for the automation industry as a whole.
Where it Started
In March 2020, the world was blindsided by a global pandemic that has now raged on for nearly two years. While life has slowly returned to some semblance of normal over that time, the effects of the pandemic are still being felt.
That’s especially true for the chip industry. Semiconductor manufacturers were largely forced to shut down in the second quarter of 2020 in response to growing fears of the COVID-19 pandemic. This months-long shutdown led to orders being delayed and even cancelled. It affected chip manufacturers of all sizes, including giant: Bosch Rexroth.
Things went even further downhill from there. As factories opened back up, chip buyers started placing orders in a panic to try and offset their own shortages. However, as their supply of components dried up, production started to slow. Many companies who rely on semiconductors to automate their workflows were left without the necessary components for months.
Current Chip Shortage Trends
Compared to the widespread panic and chip shortages in 2020, this year has been a bit more stable. Semiconductor manufacturers have had time to adjust their operations and scale production to meet the needs of chip-hungry customers.
Although it took time for many plant expansions to get online, some of the world’s largest manufacturers have greatly increased their capacities.
Even so, companies that need semiconductors for their operations, especially those in the automation sector, can’t get enough. As consumers demand more smart devices and the market requires smarter manufacturing solutions, there are simply not enough chips to go around.
As the pandemic continues to cause disruptions to global shipping and logistics, it’s even harder for chips to get where they need to go.
No End in Sight
Sadly, there is no end in sight for the world’s current chip shortage. The same can be said for the pandemic. Although things have been trending in a hopeful direction recently, no one knows what this winter, and the future, will bring.
With regard to the chip shortage, the problem now extends beyond the pandemic. Semiconductor manufacturers have fallen so far behind with orders that catching up will likely take years–not months. According to industry experts, the 2022 outlook that many believed would bring the end of the chip shortage appears to be too optimistic. Instead, it appears the drought will last much longer.
Orders that took 12-13 weeks to fill at this time last year are now taking twice as long or worse. Expect those delays to trickle down to the rest of the automation industry. In turn, production of everything from consumer gadgets to automobiles and computing hardware to automation tools will likely be delayed as well.
Luckily there is hope moving forward! Even though it may be next to impossible to obtain new parts from a brand like Bosch Rexroth- smaller companies such as Wake Industrial are prepared to assist you in your time of need! Here at Wake Industrial we have stocked surplus parts to get your operations back up and running as quickly and seamlessly as possible! We carry the highly sought after DKC series drives and any motor in the MSK and MKD series.
Wake Industrial is fully stocked and prepared to assist you with all of your needs! We are available by telephone and via email:
- Call: 1-888-551-3082
- International: 1-919-443-0207