Passive component lead times hit record highs in August

September 16, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Passive component lead times hit record highs in August
Lead times for capacitor, resistor and inductor components of almost all types went up in August, according to analyst Dennis Zogbi, writing on the website of distributor TTI Inc.

For capacitors the average lead time is 29.48 weeks, for resistors 25.95 weeks and for inductors the average wait is sharply higher at about 27 weeks. These are all record highs and approximately twice the lead times that from 2015 through to 2017.

Capacitors

Lead times for all capacitors increased on a month-to-month basis, but tantalum, aluminum and plastic film markets remain more challenging when compared to MLCCs.

The lead times have increased month-to-month throughout the year; by 7.1 percent in February, 6.8 percent in March, 2.9 percent in April, 4.5 percent in May, 2.8 percent in June, 3.4 percent in July and 2.1 percent in August, Zogbi said.

He added that tantalum capacitor lead times are amongst the primary concerns with the pandemic having an impact on the ability to mine the mineral in Africa and the price of tantalum approaching US$100 per pound weight. The lead times for both conductive polymer and manganese-type tantalum capacitors increased with all case sizes now at 40-week lead times, Zogbi said.

Resistors

For resistors, the supply chain continued to be impacted by massive price increases in raw materials, such as ruthenium, and the availability of alumina substrates.

The price of ruthenium, the active ingredient in thick film resistor paste, increased in price sharply to $850 per Troy ounce in May and was at $725 an ounce in August 2021, 20x what it has traditionally been ($44/oz). However, Zogbi said there are signs that suppliers expect a drop in the price of ruthenium to accompany an August drop in the price of sister metal palladium.

Thin film resistors, based on nickel and chrome, are the alternative to ruthenium thick film chips. Thin film chips now have lead times at almost 40 weeks for the 0603 and 0805 chips consumed in the computer and auto markets.

Next: Inductors


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