Tackling the semiconductor crisis


Blackburn-based Northern Industrial has enhanced its obsolete equipment buying capabilities in response to the global shortage of semiconductors currently affecting businesses worldwide.

The global chip semiconductor shortage is an ongoing crisis affecting more than 169 industries which has led to major price increases, shortages and supply stream delays for all products that require semiconductors.

Commonly cited causes for the shortage include the COVID-19 pandemic, industrial tensions between the USA and China, as well as various severe weather incidents and a spate of industrial fires.

Northern Industrial Managing Director David Lenehan said: “While the pandemic-related increase in remote work and remote learning caused a surge in demand for computers and other consumer electronics with chips, lockdowns simultaneously caused chip production facilities to shut down, leading to the depletion of stocks.

“In September 2020, the US Department of Commerce imposed restrictions on China’s largest chip manufacturer, which made it harder for them to sell to companies with American ties.

“A severe winter storm in February 2021 forced the closure of two plants in Austin, Texas, owned by Samsung and NXP Semiconductors, setting back supply from these two plants by several months.

“Meanwhile, Taiwan, the leader of the global semiconductor industry, experienced its worst drought in more than half a century, leading to problems among chip manufacturers that use large amounts of ultra-pure water to clean their factories and wafers.

“These problems were exacerbated when an Asahi Kasei semiconductor plant, which specialises in ADC and DAC components, caught fire in October 2020 while another Japanese factory owned by Renesas Electronics, which supplies 30% of the global market for microcontroller units used in cars, caught fire in March 2021.

“All these events together have caused the unprecedented shortage which poses a severe danger to manufacturers worldwide who need to keep their equipment running at all costs to stay in business.”

In response, Blackburn-based Northern Industrial, which exports spare parts and repair services to companies worldwide, has stepped-up its obsolete equipment buying capabilities with an enhanced Sell to Us section on its website and the expansion of its dismantling team.

David said: “Northern Industrial is built on prioritising refurbishment and re-use over recycling. But the global semiconductor crisis means we are now stepping up our buying department to take on industrial automation equipment that might previously have been deemed beyond repair. This is in order to recover semiconductors from inside the equipment that might keep a manufacturing company somewhere up and running, who might otherwise go out of business while waiting for appropriate semiconductors to become available.

“We now have a dedicated section on our website for people who may see out-of-commission industrial electronic machinery as junk to find out whether they actually might be able to sell to us so we can give it a further life, even if that is just for the semiconductors contained inside, which would otherwise end up in the crusher.”



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