Sourceability: Our Growth

Sourceability: Our Growth

Established July 2015, our electronic component distribution company has rapidly extended its reach far beyond the borders of Florida.

As of January 2018, we’ve established 15 strategic locations around the globe – a rate of nearly one new location per calendar month. “One of our goals was to have a presence in strategic, regional locations globally in relationship to our suppliers and sources of supply for goods,” said Jens Gamperl, chief executive officer. “In our industry, there is quite a bit of disparity in availability and pricing across different regions. Having these locations provides a much needed strategic advantage for us and our customers.”

Our original distribution center and corporate headquarters in Miami has been joined by new centers in Hong Kong and Singapore. The backbone of Sourceability is quality and logistics, and we’ve strengthened our core with heavy investments in making our distribution truly global. To maintain up-to-the-minute understanding of our customers’ supply-chain needs, each of our distribution centers is supported by regional offices in the following locations:

  • Miami, Florida – USA Corporate Headquarters
  • New York, New York – USA
  • Austin, Texas – USA
  • Irvine, California – USA Innovation Hub
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Taipei, Taiwan Newest location
  • Shenzhen, China
  • Shanghai, China
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Bangalore, India
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Munich, Germany
  • Verona, Italy

Sourceability was born from of the idea that even the complex electronic-component distribution industry could be refined and improved upon. Establishing quality centers and teams around the world is just one of the ways in which we’ve delivered on our promise to provide our customers the best and most reliable service in the industry.

Miniaturization vs. Passive Function Integration

Miniaturization vs. Passive Function Integration

The ever-growing trend towards miniaturization and industry applications are driving top capacitor and other passive components manufacturers to create ever-smaller parts even as costs climb higher and higher. The question now becomes, at what point will buyers find those costs just too high and start looking for alternatives?

Miniaturization doesn’t just incur costs when the component itself is manufactured; in fact, the costs ripple down the entire supply chain. Custom packaging must be designed if the parts aren’t to be shipped in bulk, and tape & reel becomes unfeasible for some of the smallest sizes. Existing assembly machinery isn’t built to handle the new sizes, and new equipment capable of maintaining precision and quality at the new scale is expensive. Few EMSs (Electronic Manufacturing Services) have thus far bet on making that investment in equipment. Those that have felt little competitive pressure to lower their prices. Even at the design level, very specific rules are required to fully take advantage of the new components while avoiding problems such as parasitic capacitance and excessive heat.

But what can you, an engineer designing the latest in cutting-edge devices, do? Market pressure means you can’t simply just use bigger components when your competitors promise the moon and stars wrapped in a box small enough to fit twenty in your pocket. You simply have to pay the price if you want to compete… right?
Experts agree: the answer is a very definitive maybe.

Sorry, you were hoping something clearer, weren’t you?

See, using extremely tiny single components isn’t the only way to make your device smaller. You also have the option of integrating your passive components directly into your PCB or integrating them into a module with an IC. The passive components of your design are no longer limited by current assembly-machine restrictions and can be incredibly small. The number of parts you need to order individually is drastically reduced, and you eliminate multiple failure points. If you choose to use flexible materials, you can even form your PCB to fit exactly into its final destination, such as a curved dashboard in a car. Sounds like a win-win-win.

Of course, passive function integration costs quite a bit more than traditional PCB assembly or else it would already have been widely adopted some time ago. Like working with very small single components, not many manufacturers are currently equipped to make boards with passive function integration, and those that are are not all created equal. If the board is to made of silicon, for example, the manufacturer needs to be capable of semi-conductor tech. If they do have the equipment required, high set-up costs make manufacturing feasible only in very large volumes. Boards become more difficult to test and repair with capacitors and resistors buried in the multilayer.

That’s why industry experts right now are engaged a combination guessing-and-waiting game. Will customers continue to demand smaller and smaller circuitry despite the costs? Will prices rise high enough to make passive function integration economically competitive? If so, how quickly? How close are we to “black box” modules becoming common? Has the physical limit to how small passive components like capacitors can be reached, or will they shrink even further? Which manufacturers are best poised to take advantage of and profit from the new tech? We’ll know soon, but right now it’s anybody’s guess.


One Size Doesn’t Fit All – MLCC Market Trends

One Size Doesn’t Fit All – MLCC Market Trends

Capacitors have never been “one size fits all,” and as technology has advanced the market has further diversified and specialized. MLCCs (multi-layer ceramic capacitors), already a specialized product, are no exception. This year we’ve seen the somewhat unusual phenomenon of a number of major companies in one country, Japan, aggressively focusing on a few very limited segments at the same time. How does that affect you? It depends on your project.

A quick overview of current MLCC production: MLCC manufacturers can be loosely grouped into those in Japan; those in Taiwan, South Korea, and China; and those located elsewhere. Japan is the seat of MLCC technology and all major capacitor advancements in recent decades have come from manufacturers located in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The latest strides made by Japanese manufacturers have been in extreme miniaturization and increased capacitance levels while maintaining and even improving component reliability. Creating state of the art components on the cutting edge of technology, however, comes with a literal cost. Customers looking to take advantage of the latest and greatest will be paying for the privilege.

The Japanese manufacturers are – quite rightly – assuming that there’s a high demand for their small, high-capacitance MLCCs. The automotive industry is hungry for ever-more powerful and precise components and shrinking footprints, while the increasing proliferation of tech wearables, smart homes, and “internet of things” devices creates new customers and markets every day. In response, Japanese manufacturers are focusing their MLCC production almost entirely on very small sizes for maximum production capacity and market yield. Yes, even if that means turning away orders for other commodities.

So what do you do if you want a larger, cheaper, or lower-capacitance MLCC? Look west. Taiwan and South Korea are picking up the production slack. Taiwanese manufacturers in particular are ramping up their production capabilities for low- and medium-capacitance MLCCs destined for commodities that don’t require minimalization. But if you’re hoping for rock-bottom prices, you won’t find them. Demand is currently outstripping production and prices are rising accordingly for even the most basic MLCCs. Expect to pay 15-30% more than you did last year for the same part.

Which brings us back to how this affects you. Thanks to segmentation, it’s more important than ever to consider who and where you’ll be sourcing your parts from when specing your next project. Which factor is most important to you – size, capacitance, reliability, availability – will determine the geographic source and cost for most items on your BOM. Incompatible priorities will result in either multiple source countries or much higher prices to single source. This is one market trend that’s going to ripple up and down the supply chain for years to come.