UK Business Minister heralds importance of electronics to economic recovery

19 12 2011

Mark Prisk, the UK Business Minister, has hailed the importance of the UK electronics manufacturing industry in the gradual recovery of the British economy as a whole.

“Electronics is involved in every part of the economy, from consumer goods to farming. It makes cars more reliable, aircraft safer and data movement faster,” stated Prisk as he attended an electronics exhibition last week.

“There is massive potential for growth in the sector and the UK is uniquely placed in Europe to take full advantage of that. We have 40% of the European market in electronics system design, nearly a third of Europe’s silicone design companies and we are the home to Europe’s largest concentration of electronic system design houses,” continued Prisk.

The positive bulletin on the future of the UK electronics manufacturing sector follows more recent upbeat comments.

Phil Inness, Chairman of the Electronic Manufacturing Services Association (EMSA), feels that the UK contract electronics market is probably worth approximately £1.4 billion a year.

“The market is in pretty good shape and is certainly growing in excess of 5% a year,” claimed Inness.

One particular reason for this might be the demand which continues to be generated by the aerospace sector.

A recent report suggests that aerospace remains one of the most important manufacturing sectors for the entire UK electronics industry.

Manufacturing contributes approximately 18% of the UK’s GDP, with aerospace being one of the main reasons for this.

The sector’s annual turnover is rated at approximately £22 billion, with export business accounting for 70% of that turnover.

Figures like this emphasis the link between the importance of a flourishing aerospace sector and the UK electronics industry.

Leading electronics 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




The importance of static auditing

16 12 2011

Static auditing is a process which involves assessing a production facility’s overall electrical performance. The long-term aim of the process is to identify any faults in the system which could affect the electrical current or required performance of the machines they are connected to.

It is important that any threats to the performance of a machine are identified as quickly and as early as possible.

Any major issues can put a strain on other electrical currents and make the whole mechanism less efficient.

An auditor will check the system by looking primarily for static areas (where the electricity is at rest).

Static electricity usually caused when there is an imbalance between non-conductive insulators of electricity, becoming negatively or positively charged. Static control introduces a number of measures to help prevent this.

Removing or neutralising static electricity is a common method of static control, as well as ensuring the electrics are well grounded so this acts as buffer.

Static electricity discharge can be highly dangerous in industries dealing with flammable substances.

If a small electrical spark occurred here then this has the potential to ignite explosives mixtures.

Seeking professional advice to help you implement static control apparatus prevents the need to get someone in to regularly check the electrical conduction. This can save you money and time in the process, something which any business regardless of its size will appreciate.

Challenger Components have technical personnel who provide training following a pre-audit assessment of their system.  

Alternatively, they can help implement new devices to passively safeguard the work space from electrostatic discharge – protecting the instruments, and the employees from a potentially dangerous outcome.

For additional details on static auditing and its potential relevance to you, your products and potentially your business, visit

Electronic component manufacturing within China set for huge boost

13 12 2011

Average revenue growth is expected to grow by 11.2% per year over the course of the next five years within the electronic components manufacturing industry in China.

IBISWorld, America’s largest publisher of industry research, have made the claim based on future projections. If true, the figures will provide a significant boost to the electronics manufacturing industry throughout the globe.

Total industry revenue is expected to reach $268.82 billion in 2016. This would represent a sustained period of growth for the industry and would be great new for manufacturers of components such as connectors and semiconductors all over the world.

Hybrid Connectors

One of the products which might be set to receive a significant boost is hybrid connectors.

Hybrid connectors are one of the most durable and efficient electrical connectors on the market.

They are modular, which essentially 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. They really are one of the most durable and versatile type of connectors available throughout the entire industry.

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, as well as numerous other established brand names, contact


Amphenol introduce new HelioLug component

12 12 2011

Amphenol have introduced the new HelioLug, the first grounding lug that meets specific requirements of the solar industry.

A grounding lug is a component for solar modules and solar racking systems, allowing easy termination to the grounding wire.

The HelioLug has a deliberately versatile design and can be used for commercial or utility scale installations, as well as residential installations.

As one of the largest manufacturers of interconnect products in the world, Amphenol recently made a big impact on the the electronics industry by introducing their Helios H4 connector.

The Helios H4 is used mainly to connect solar panels and inverters. It is Ro-HS compliant and uses a simple locking tool for easy unmating in the field.

It is also worth noting that it is a dual-rated connector that meets NEC 2008 without the need for extra locking collars and locking sleeves. This cost-effective interconnect uses Amphenol’s patented RADSOK technology.

The primary features of the Helios H4 include;

-Highest current rating in the industry

-Quick and easy secure snap lock mating

-Low contact resistance which means low power loss

The Helios H4 has recently been described as the only connector which consistently displays a very low contact resistance, achieving a rating of 1.7 for the field-assembled unit and 1.9 for the factory-assembled connector from Photon, the Solar Power magazine.


Global leaders in interconnect products

Amphenol are established as one of the global leaders in interconnect systems and have received global recognition for their specific work within the military and aerospace sectors.

Amphenol are renowned for designing, manufacturing and marketing electrical and fibre optic connectors, as well as interconnect systems.

The HelioLug, the new high density BNC solution and the Amphe PPC Connector are all examples of important contributions which the company have made to the electronics manufacturing industry recently.

For details on additional products available from Amphenol, as well as those available from a number of other leading brands including Nicomatic and ebm-papst, visit

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.

Leading figure points to enduring popularity of circular connectors

29 11 2011

A leading figure in the UK connector industry has suggested that manufacturers are tending to fall back on ‘tried and trusted’ designs in uncertain times for electronics manufacturing.

David Phillips, UK Managing Director of Binder Connectors, suggests; “A lot of market sectors are very conservative, so designers fall back on tried and trusted products.

Nevertheless, circular connectors offer good price/performance, good electrical properties, ease of mating and simple locking”.

This market analysis follows news that, judging by recent trends, connectors are getting smaller while also integrating greater levels of functionality.

But why exactly is this happening? Paul Jones, a leading product specialist, has suggested that manufacturers are making a deliberate effort to offer connectors that can handle increased levels of power and data. “There is increasing demand for computing power,” suggested Jones.

He also suggested there is a demand for “smaller interconnects. These are opposing forces and designers are having to explore the effects.”

Bob Hult, Director of Product Technology for connector market research specialist Bishop & Associates, said; “Product managers at leading connector manufacturers report demand for power connectors with increased current ratings in smaller envelopes, particularly in board-to-board interfaces used in the datacom industry.

“Although each chip may consume less power than its predecessor, systems often incorporate many more chips to provide greater functionality, upping the total current draw.”

There also seems to be a general consensus among manufacturers that engineers and companies need to specify what they need from a connector a lot more.

Decisive estimations over how much power is required, how much power they can handle and what the ultimate aim of the product is can all help manufacturers deliver the correct product.

For details on a vast range of connector supplied by leading manufacturers such as Amphenol, ebm-papst and interconnect, visit

Manufacturing companies think twice about benefits of offshoring

25 11 2011

One of the most common trends to have emerged within the electronics manufacturing industry over the last decade has been the obsession with offshoring.

Companies were keen to make savings wherever they could and the idea of offshoring several aspects of their work initially seemed to have a multitude of obvious benefits.

However, recent events have given a number of these companies cause to have second thoughts. Phil Inness, Chairman of the Electronic Manufacturing Services Association, has assessed why they may now have cause to regret their actions.

“There has been a mass of migration work offshore in the last ten years,”suggested Inness. “Some of this should have gone overseas without question, while some should not have but did. Companies now realise that offshoring isn’t going to be a fix for all evils and there is much cleverer decision making today.

“The may have realised certain savings, but then ended up with obsolete stock or found the work was wrong and had to be put right, with all the time delays involved.

Now, there’s smarter procurement; if someone wants 73 units, they can order 73 units from aUKcompany and have no wastage. If you go offshore, you may have to order 100 units or more to get the price breaks.”

It appears thatUKcompanies failed to recognise the benefits of keeping the work within these shores, only to learn the lesson down the line in financial terms.

Leading electronics manufacturers

Challenger Components have over 50 years of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry 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, 3M and ebm-papst.

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


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