Conflicting reports leave semiconductor market in uncertain state

8 12 2011

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) have suggested that semiconductor manufacturing equipment could grow by 4.7% in 2011 to a total of $41.8 billion. However, they also feel that 2012 could see a decline by approximately 10.8% on that figure.

Assembly and packaging equipment is also expected to decline by approximately 12.5% to $3.4 billion.

This news follows a recent report from Gartner Inc which suggests that an industry-wide inventory correction process will have a serious impact on general sales of semiconductors.

However, in contrast to SEMI, Gartner actually anticipate that the situation will improve during 2012.

At the end of June this year, official semiconductor stockpiles with suppliers stood at 83.4 days of inventory (DOI).

This exceeds the previous record of 83.1 DOI from the first quarter of 2008.

IHS iSuppli claims the news is “raising concerns over the near-term outlook for the chip market.”

The level is 11% higher than the historical average which is usually recorded for this period.

The last major oversupply, seen in the first quarter of 2008, signalled the beginning of a 2 year downturn in the semiconductor industry.

Sharon Stiefel, semiconductor analyst at IHS, voiced her fears over what this could mean for the industry.

“For the semiconductor industry, wading into such troubling territory – reminiscent of the dark days leading into the recession – could herald the beginning of a critical inventory adjustment period.

“The correction is likely to take place during the next few quarters and will not be completed until mid-2012. As such, it will involve suppliers making a prolonged reduction in their inventory levels to avoid dangerous oversupply situations.”

These conflicting reports seem to guarantee only one thing. There are likely to be uncertain times ahead for the semiconductor industry in the future.

It may be wise for companies to play their cards close to their chest until everybody is further into 2012.


Cable Assembly Outsourcing

6 12 2011

Despite being a very important part of global electronics manufacturing, cable assembly often requires a great deal of time, effort and energy. Primarily due to the associated costs involved and time demands, companies will often look to outsource their cable assembly.

Employing a group of individuals who are trained to carry out intricate cable assembly means that you will have to pay them according to their appropriate level of skill.

That could mean that you need to employ additional staff to do the job, or update the skills set of exiting employees. Either way, your specific staff costs will undoubtedly be reduced by outsourcing all of your cable assembly requirements.

The machinery which is needed to carry out cable assembly can be complex to use and expensive to purchase.

Provided you have a high level of faith in the company you have asked to carry out your cable assembly, it is wise to let them take on the inherent risks of such a process.

This means you will have more time to ask your own staff to focus on other areas that require attention.

Of course, outsourcing your cable assembly is not something that every company will choose to do. Some large companies within the electronics manufacturing industry will have both the manpower and the finances to take care of the issue themselves.

However, the majority of businesses are not this fortunate. They may have little choice but to eliminate as many of their outgoings as possible.

Companies in this situation will view the idea of outsourcing their cable assembly as an indisputable necessity rather than an optional luxury.

Leading connector manufacturers

Challenger Components have over 50 years of experience in connector products and a variety of additional electrical components. They also work alongside a number of leading brand names within the electronics manufacturing industry such as Amphenol, Nicomatic and 3M.

For full details of all the products available from manufacturers such as those named above, contact




3M scoop top industry award

17 11 2011

3M have been names 2011 ‘supplier of the year’ by the American company IMARK. It is the second time in the last three years that the company have earned this prize.

“The IMARK group is the largest organisation of electrical distributors in the United States. This award recognises 3M’s commitment to a quality product portfolio and marketing support through training, communication and field sales engagement,” said Steve Ruane, IMARK Vice President of Marketing and Member services.

The award is based on annual sales growth and overall performance, and the winner is selected from over 1000 members companies that come under the IMARK umbrella.

The news follows hot on the heels of the release of the brand new 3m Crimplok+ Connector.

Principally an FTTX Field mounted connector, it meets both indoor and outdoor performance requirements comfortably.

The new connector has been hailed as one of the most innovative and intuitive additions to the connector market for some time.

3M connectors

3M Interconnect have been providing a comprehensive range of solutions for the electronics market in the UK and Ireland for a number of years.

They cover a vast range of applications including;




-Medical device technology

3M connectors can be utilised for a range of applications such as space constrained environments without any compromise of high speed communications.

The company also produces cable assembly products that can be applied to a host of different situations.

3M are just one of the established and respected companies within the electronics manufacturing industry which can be found at

Other companies include Amphenol, ebm-papst and Nicomatic. Details on all of these companies and the wide range of components, connectors and additional equipment which they provide can be found on the Challenger website.


Electrical connectors – Hybrid and blade connectors

8 11 2011

Hybrid connectors and blade connectors are two of the most important electrical connectors available within the electronics manufacturing industry.

Both of these connectors have a range of important uses within the industry. Below, we have compiled a brief but informative profile on two of the most versatile and reliable connector types available on the current market.

Blade connectors: This type of connector uses a flat, conductive blade that is inserted into a blade receptacle. The blade and receptacle will both have wires attached to them; this will be done through either soldering or crimping.

Blade connectors allow you to safely join wires using both a ‘Male’ and a ‘Female’ connector.

Hybrid Connectors: Hybrid connectors are modular. This means they tend to be very useful for simplifying assembly, repair and future modifications. They are also very effective in reducing equipment installation time as they help to reduce the amount of individual cable and connector assemblies.

Probably the most unique feature of hybrid connectors is the fact that they have housings, this allows for the intermixing of many connector types including power connectors, radio frequency connectors and USB connectors.

For details on a host of other types of connectors including military circular and industrial rectangular connectors, visit

Challenger Components work with a number of leading connector suppliers such as Amphenol, ebm-papst and Nicomatic. All of these companies are renowned within the industry for having established reputations as high quality manufacturers.

An antistatic guide to testing equipment

30 09 2011

The complete control of static within an electrical environment is critical in attempting to maintain a safe and controlled work space for the applications to function.

But how can we test the functionality of antistatic products? And why are they so important within the electronic manufacturing sector?

Crucial Testing Equipment

The 3M Surface Resistance Meter is a work-surface tester.  It measures conductive, dissipative and insulative repeatable measurements, and is popular for audit testing.

The 3M Eye Meter is another work-surface tester which allows workers to work under most conditions for extreme temperatures and even tight locations due to its compact size and durability.

The 3M Workstation Monitor Checker is similar, however it is specifically designed to verify the proper operation of a dual wrist strap, workstation and ground monitors. 

This device checks the monitors are in compliance with the facilities specifications by simulating the proper resistances and signals.

A Test Kit for Static Control Surfaces is also a popular product, as it contains all the components needed to make testing mats and other surfaces simple and accurate.

A wrist strap monitor is another cost-efficient device which workers who are surrounded by electrical equipment will often use. 

They are both compact and versatile, and can be mounted directly onto device handling equipment, testers and auto insertion equipment.

Challenger Components has a vast amount of experience in supplying the right anti-static control products to clients seeking static control solutions.

They provide workstation products, test and equipment, and anti-static packaging solutions. All such products are pivotal when handling electronic components.

For additional information on antistatic equipment such as flooring, stairs or workstations, visit

Tips and hints on static training and auditing are also available to ensure that you have everything you need to protect against this potentially damaging issue.

Modular connectors – Handle with care

3 08 2011

Modular connectors are very popular in the world of electronic manufacturing due to their versatility in comparison to other types of connectors.

They typically come in four different sizes which are 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-position, with a position being a location for a contact.

A modular connector is a term given to a group of electrical connectors. They were initially used in telephone wiring and though they are still used for that purpose they have also been adapted to cover a number of other areas.

They are usually quite small as well as being easy to plug in and out of items. These intricacies give them an advantage over other types of connectors.

Items such as telephone jacks and Ethernet jacks are nearly always modular connectors. This is mainly because they easy to use. A number of the cables which can be found as part of your internet and telephone wiring systems will include modular connectors for example.

An industrial rectangular connector is an example of a modular connector that combines different contacts for application specific design and use.

There have been some issues with the plastic retaining spring clip on modular connectors which can be broken off quite easily. If this happens, it means that there is a real possibility that it can fall out of the wall jack.

The size of modular connectors gives them a unique edge in terms of how easily they can fit in and out of slots. Unfortunately though, it also means that they are more susceptible to problems such as breaking and snapping easily.

For more information on modular connectors and all other types of connectors, visit There is a range of leading manufacturers to choose from including Amphenol, 3M and ebmpapst.

High Sales of Specialist Connectors Fuels Investment

7 07 2011

A leading electronics components manufacturer invests in high performance connectors after a period of high sales growth.

The CMM series micro connectors from Nicomatic are the connectors in question.  They are typically used in the defence and aerospace fields.

Nicomatic, a manufacturer and designer of innovative interconnect solutions, has announced their decision to invest over one million Euros into new moulding and new CNC machines.

“Our connectors are sold in a 2mm pitch and allow over 15 million standard arrangements,” said Oliver Nicollin, Nicomatic CEO.

The connectors have a space and weight saving feature which makes them essential for use in certain applications.  These applications such as avionics are used in many on-board electronics systems, in flight controls for example.

FADEC units, HUDs, IFES, radars and electro-optical sighting systems are other electronic applications which require the specific features of the CMM series micro connectors.

Nicomatic boasts great experience in the avionics and space activities sector with their electronic solutions.  They are a member of the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS), and recently were awarded the maximum mark of 100 out of 100.

“Only a few companies reach such an excellent mark and I would like to congratulate the whole Nicomatic team for this result,” Mr Nicollin added.

“It is also the result of more than a year of hard work that is visible today.”

Specialist Connectors

Challenger Components stocks Nicomatic solutions, and stocks many electronic components for clients’ requirements.

They specialise in certain areas such as static control and cooling solutions, and have 50 years experience in supplying relevant connectors to clients in a range of industries.  These industries include the aviation and automotive sector.

Visit: for more information and to discuss your electronic component requirements in more detail.

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