22nd November 2022
After a tumultuous few years for the world in general, the electronic components industry has also experienced a huge number of challenges recently. Close on the heels of Brexit changes and the Covid-19 pandemic, along with significant issues with logistics and supply chain problems, we’re currently experiencing very high inflation levels, energy bills, fuel costs and other cost-of-living squeezes, both on a global and national level. These things have all contributed to a sense of uncertainty about the immediate future, but if one thing is predictable about the electronic components industry, it’s that things will continue to evolve and change at a high pace.
We’ve looked at what we think will be important trends for the sector in 2023 and the years ahead.
IoT role to continue to grow
The Internet of Things (IoT) is something that has been around for some time now, but its role in the electronic components industry is growing every year, and 2023 will be no different. In electronics manufacturing, this technology has already helped to increase efficiency, reduce costs and even improve safety thus far, but there is more to come. As the UK’s 5G rollout spreads further (albeit more slowly than many hoped), it will enable IoT devices to connect faster and provide consumers and businesses alike with a more joined-up experience, as well as providing data that will feed back into more technological advancements.
One of the most exciting possibilities to come from this, from an electronic components industry point of view at least, is that of predictive maintenance and replacement. With devices that ‘talk’ to each other and the data collection possible due to this and AI, in many cases problems with equipment can be identified before they actually happen. This means that maintenance can be done on a convenient timetable where workarounds can be arranged ahead of time, rather than waiting for something to malfunction or stop working and having significant downtime while it is fixed or replaced.
The electronic component industry’s reliance on silicon (especially for semiconductors) has never been more obvious as during the extreme shortage that has been affecting the market for years now. With more viable alternative materials being found to improve the performance of integrated circuits, such as nanomaterials and graphene, this opens up a new world of possibilities.
In a slightly different way, changing other materials to more organic alternatives is also likely to grow in the coming year as the sector looks for more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to build devices and recycle electronic components as they reach end-of-life. This ‘second-life’ approach is set to grow further as we move from an industry ruled by raw materials to one that takes a more organic approach. We expect to see more biodegradable materials used in electronic components in 2023 onwards, as well as recycled ones.
The demand for smaller and smaller electronic components has always been high, with multiple benefits and some incredible applications, especially in healthcare and the automotive industry where usable space is at a premium. Where previous miniaturisations were sometimes limited by the size of batteries, technology in this area is moving at pace to provide improved power and performance in a fraction of the space previously needed.
With positive cost implications of miniaturisation of electronic components too, this is likely to be a real area of growth in 2023 and beyond.
We may be fast approaching the end of 2023 with plenty of unpredictability in the industry and economy, but with continued innovation in our field, there are always new opportunities and exciting developments ahead.
We are specialists in sourcing hard-to-find electronic components and controls, with a huge global network and decades of experience in the market. If you need assistance in this area, our team would love to hear from you.