Overcoming Consumer Electronic Supply Chain Challenges in 2022

The global pandemic crippling various industries with labor and supply shortages is a typical headline you'll see daily. Industries crucial to the delivery of semiconductors and the key components which help them get made and tested have all faced supply-chain challenges.

The pandemic has impacted electronic support manufacturers and connector supply chains while also creating a surge in consumer electronics purchases. As more people stay in their homes and shop online, businesses upgraded their digital infrastructure to accommodate the shifts to work-from-home positions.

These industry challenges are top of mind at Plastronics. Our business model and patented technologies have allowed us to actively support our clients since the start of the supply chain and labor shortages. Keep reading to see how Plastronics has addressed the need for raw materials, labor, and the challenging demands of perpetually complex requirements demanding on-time solutions.


Top Challenges in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry

Semiconductor demands are at an all-time high due to their increased use in remote work technologies, telecommunications, and the upward trend of smart devices.

With demand expected to remain high while supply and labor are constrained, the semiconductor shortage could last through 2023. (l)

The semiconductor support industry, medical devices manufacturers, and connector companies are currently facing five serious issues:

  1. High semiconductor demand 
  2. Supply chain issues
  3. Labor shortages
  4. Suppliers shutting down production
  5. Material shortages

Medical devices, essential telecommunications, and military electronics are currently at a severe risk level.


How Plastronics Addressed Supply Chain Shortage Challenges

While the world seemed to halt, electronic demands surged. With the electronic supply chain facing immense tension, the companies supporting semiconductor manufacturers have had to innovate operations quickly.


The Role of Automated Manufacturing

Plastronics never slowed down during the pandemic. We were able to answer the call for producing more pins, connectors, and sockets for all industries facing shortages and high demand. How? 

A key component in all our finished products is the H-pin. This fantastic, low-cost alternative to standard spring probes is produced via a fully automated manufacturing process. This process continues with the automated loading of H-pins into our sockets and connectors.

Our airtight operations include replacing screw-machined parts with stampings and post-production validation tests with in-line, real-time part inspections. This complete visibility of the assembly line eliminates human error or any failures before our products go out the door. 

These automated, failproof processes have removed the hurdles of order size and labor shortages. Our automated assembly increases the number of inserted pins from 500 to 3,500 per hour while increasing the resulting quality, reducing lead time, and keeping costs low.


Long-Standing Vendor Relationships Combat Material Shortages

Material shortages also upset the manufacturing of these modern technologies. Plastics such as:

  • ULTEM™ 2200 — 20% glass filled grade of PEI (Polyetherimide) 
  • TECAPEEK – PEEK (Polyetherethertone) 
  • Ryton – RTP – (Polyphenylene) 

These are industry standards for use in injection-molded materials in electronics. Beryllium Copper (BeCu)  —  the historical choice for electronic connectors— has also been in short supply.

How did we handle these shortages? Leveraging our long-standing vendor relationships. We worked from the foundation we’ve built with industry vendors over the years to benefit our clients in the midst of these raw material shortages. 


Nearshoring / Domestic Supplier Advantages

Plastronics is a US-based supplier with US and international distribution founded in 1969, producing burn-in sockets since 1982, and supplying H-pin enabled products since 2006. 

Before material shortages began, Plastronics had stocked up on materials and encouraged our vendors to follow suit. Using only long-term reliable vendors and sources meant it was easier to harvest materials, manufacture, and ship products to customers worldwide. Great relationships with suppliers combined with in-house automated manufacturing, engineering, and support persons, ensured our customers received their products on time without loss of traction or program delays

Download the H-Pin Guide


Looking Ahead: Success in Electronics Manufacturing

Plastronics was founded on a history of innovation, combining advanced technical engineering expertise with practical, real-world applications. Those pillars are still being tested by the pandemic, shortages, and the electronics industry boom. 

The challenges have also granted numerous opportunities for improvement and increased risk management. Plastronics will continue to provide the highest quality product utilizing our delivery model, and in-house tooling and molding capabilities continue to produce quick turnaround and lower costs.

If you are looking for a flexible US-based electrical component supplier ready to take on any challenge, then Schedule a quick consultation with Plastronics.