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Amplifier Shortages


Chienmortbb

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8 minutes ago, beans-on-toast said:

Production is shut down in favour of short term higher profit. Asia controls much of the market now and can shut it down in a heartbeat. Manufacturing all over the world needs to be re-established. 

 

 

Production of many things is dependent often on key components which are only produced in one or two factories, frequently but not exclusively, in China. The spreadsheet manglers need to learn to see beyond 'cheapest is best'...  

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27 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Consumers deciding between otherwise equal offerings lead spreadsheet manglers by the nose straight to the door labeled 'cheapest good components'.

This is basically what has driven most companies down this path, it the consumer won't buy it because of price alone, then price will become the overwhelming driving factor. 

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5 hours ago, agedhorse said:

Yes, it’s a very real thing.

It's really interesting to have the US perspective. We've shot ourselves in the foot by choosing to chase off much of our immigrant labour in the middle of a pandemic. I'm sure every country has special circumstances of course but Brexit really isn't helping our problems. Trying to get a feel for how much of this is worldwide and then breaking that down into pre existing structural problems and COVID related ones is difficult enough. Thomann is a German company and ships from there. Clearly Brexit's not the biggest issue if the problem is worldwide but it'd be good to get a sense of what is happening to us.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Phil Starr said:

It's really interesting to have the US perspective. We've shot ourselves in the foot by choosing to chase off much of our immigrant labour in the middle of a pandemic. I'm sure every country has special circumstances of course but Brexit really isn't helping our problems. Trying to get a feel for how much of this is worldwide and then breaking that down into pre existing structural problems and COVID related ones is difficult enough. Thomann is a German company and ships from there. Clearly Brexit's not the biggest issue if the problem is worldwide but it'd be good to get a sense of what is happening to us.

 

 

Some models of cars and fridges have had production suspended because of the silicon shortage.

 

Amps are just the tiniest pimple on the top of the iceberg.

 

Yesterday Sony announced they are looking to build their own chip factory so they are less dependent on others. That's going to take a year or 2 to build and test, but unless Japan has massive amounts of silicon I don't know about they'll still have to import that or start mining and extracting it themselves.

 

I have no idea if Silicon sand can just be taken from the local seabed or not or even if seabed sand provides a big enough yield, or whether the common approach of surface mining is the only sensible approach. China currently produces 2/3 of all the world's silicon from surface mining. That really needs to be spread out a bit!

 

If I've understood it properly, the process of extracting silicon from sand / quartz etc needs massive amounts of water so unfortunately just building an extraction plant in the middle of a desert doesn't seem to be an option.

 

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I spend some time each day tracking down parts and production schedules that have been upended by one thing or another related to this matter.

 

Just as a glimpse into the manufacturing world, here's the availability of SMT resistors from a large supplier of parts for all industries (including ours):

 

https://www.trustedparts.com/en/search/tt-electronics/M55342K12B

 

I have had nightmares less scary than this.

 

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9 hours ago, agedhorse said:

I spend some time each day tracking down parts and production schedules that have been upended by one thing or another related to this matter.

 

Just as a glimpse into the manufacturing world, here's the availability of SMT resistors from a large supplier of parts for all industries (including ours):

 

https://www.trustedparts.com/en/search/tt-electronics/M55342K12B

 

I have had nightmares less scary than this.

 

Luckily I am retired now but I do feel your pain. I rather suspect the answer is to bring manufacturing back to Europe and the USA but will the bean counters and customers just vote with their wallets?

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I recall an article a year ago saying that the component and chip manufacturers saw the pandemic as a temporary problem that would go away in a year or two. They didn’t want to build new large scale plants only to have them sit idle when this is over. This decision is  proving to be a mistake. Future demand estimates for parts are proving to be beyond expectations. Now companies are building their own plants to meet their own demand.

 

Even Apple is affected and they are pretty good at meeting their needs. I will have to wait three months for a USB-C power supply.

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On 09/10/2021 at 08:16, fretmeister said:

It is all silicon wafer supply. Even the FT has done investigations.

 

Computers, fridges, cars, phones, microwaves, and amplifiers are all affected.

 

Lets just hope that used prices of amps don’t go the same way as used GPU cards! Double retail!

The GPU thing is crazy.  I was looking for a gaming laptop to use for astro image processing (as it's easy to add RAM/Storage) and couldn't get one in my price range at any of the physical shops.  However, online at one of the physical shops it was just a few clicks to get one delivered from central warehouse to local store.  So while there are shortages I suspect UK distribution is also an issue. 

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10 hours ago, martthebass said:

The GPU thing is crazy.  I was looking for a gaming laptop to use for astro image processing (as it's easy to add RAM/Storage) and couldn't get one in my price range at any of the physical shops.  However, online at one of the physical shops it was just a few clicks to get one delivered from central warehouse to local store.  So while there are shortages I suspect UK distribution is also an issue. 

Or, they had inventory from orders placed months ago and you were lucky to find them.

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After yet another 'sorry but....' email this morning I phoned gear4music to see if there was any prospect of my Cab coming in, they said the latest rom their supplier was it should be in the 26/27th, but they weren't hopeful. I'm just going to chillax and wait with no expectations of anything happening soon.

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On 21/10/2021 at 10:18, dave moffat said:

After yet another 'sorry but....' email this morning I phoned gear4music to see if there was any prospect of my Cab coming in, they said the latest rom their supplier was it should be in the 26/27th, but they weren't hopeful. I'm just going to chillax and wait with no expectations of anything happening soon.

Was looking for a printer at the weekend. Same story, no choice anywhere. 

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I work for a bicycle distributor and we're seeing ETA's on basic tyres of quite common sizes going into late 2023/2024 now. Some popular drivetrain parts from Shimano (the market leader and most bikes are reliant on their products to some extent) are looking like they're at least a year away.

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Hi folks, first post, so be gentle 😆, but I have about 30 years as an engineer and manager in the semiconductor industry. I've also played bass on and off for longer than this. I also play keyboards. 

 

There's a few problems going on here. Firstly the s/c industry was growing at about 5% per year for the last few years, and then, bang, all of a sudden last year demand was +20%. There were pandemic related issues as well and some fabs (mostly in Asia) shut down for a while, so that capacity was lost. The car companies believed that demand had tanked long term and so cancelled future orders. This capacity was then assigned to other things.

 

Don't blame me though, where I work never missed a minute and has been posting record results every month since the start of this.

 

There were also some capacity issues due to fires and a few more fabs have been running on reduced capacity.

 

Finally, the investment needed (and time required) for a state of the art chip factory is eye watering. You're talking over $5 billion and at least 3 or 4 years to build, start up, and qualify a new factory, so it's not a case of just buying a few more machines and putting them in an extension out the back. 

 

Over the past 30 years the cost of staying in the game has risen exponentially as the technology gets more and more complex (read "smaller"). For the latest chips, there's one manufacturing machine alone that costs around $175 million (and that's not a typo) and guess what ? You needs dozens of them. If you're interested google ASML or "extreme UV lithography".

 

Most of the smaller companies have exited the market and manufacturing has become concentrated in certain geographical areas (yup, mostly Asia). 

 

Making high end semiconductors is, without any doubt, the most advanced manufacturing process in the world. 

 

Hope this is of interest.

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On 21/10/2021 at 10:18, dave moffat said:

After yet another 'sorry but....' email this morning I phoned gear4music to see if there was any prospect of my Cab coming in, they said the latest rom their supplier was it should be in the 26/27th, but they weren't hopeful. I'm just going to chillax and wait with no expectations of anything happening soon.

Yeah big call out for Gear4Music. they let me know they aren't expecting any TC Elf stocks in soon. I cancelled the order and they dealt with that promptly. After all the problems with DV247 I'll definitely be looking to G4M in future.

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With the ongoing COVID case numbers throughout Europe, parts and materials from that region is remaining a serious challenge. 
 

Materials and shipping from Asia remains a nightmare, with some regions getting worse rather than better. 
 

Eastern Europe (a major source of tubes) is getting worse, which compounds tube shortages from China’s issues.

 

South America (another source of speakers and materials) is also not improving as hoped for. 
 

Some things in the US are improving, but backorders and global parts shortages are impacting our abilities to produce finished goods as well.

 

Ultimately, we are all in this together. That’s how a global economy works.

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