Has the semiconductor shortage impacted fire and safety market?

firefighter, fire technology, fire equipment

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise in the uptick of digital technologies across different industry. However, the global semiconductor market has been facing an ongoing shortage due to various factors ranging from bottlenecks in the global supply chain and the pandemic itself, IDTechEx reported.

In the fire and safety market, RFID chips are being increasingly used in items such as SBCA firefighter clothing, helmets, regulators, vehicles, and other equipment. The technology works as the reader transmits a signal to unique tags, which respond with product data. This means teams can precisely track and take inventory of valuable assets and equipment.

Impinj, one of the leading UHF chip suppliers, stated in its Q3 2021 earnings call that semiconductor crisis has resulted in cost increases across the entire supply chain, from wafers to components, assembly, packaging, and shipping, and that the cost increases are too large for them to absorb at this time, and that they have no choice but to pass on the costs to their customers to maintain their margin model.

Despite the price hike, the business claims that demand for chips is still high – demand for endpoint ICs for UHF RFID tags exceeded shipments by more than 50% in Q3 alone. According to the company, both 200 mm and 300 mm wafers are in short supply for endpoint ICs, and the Demand will continue to outstrip supply, through 2022.

Major chip manufacturer GlobalWafers has told news outlets that the company won’t be able to meet the wafer demand until 2024. Doris Hsu, CEO, GlobalWafers said: “We have clear order visibility for 2023 and it should be okay into 2024. We do not see any signs of things slowing down in 2023 or 2024.”

This is because the worldwide expansion is moving at a snail’s pace. Over the next two years, the company plans to invest US$800 million in boosting production efficiency at its 12-inch fabs, including those in the United States, to increase production capacity. Last year, the business attempted to buy German wafer supplier Siltronic for $4.98 billion USD, but the deal fell through, and the funds will now be utilized to expand production. The firm announced in February 2022 that “the new manufacturing lines are planned to ramp up in H2 2023 and to be expanded on a quarterly basis.”

If the semiconductor and chip shortage has impacted your company or fire service’s operations, and you have found ways to overcome them, drop our editor an email on [email protected].

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