Electronics Quality Manufacturing Basics

Electronics is a huge part of the manufacturing industry. A lot of bigtime players are known in producing electronical gadgets and products which put electronics in the map. In this article, let us highlight the consumer electronics market and get to know semiconductors which is a vital part for most electronics manufacturers and suppliers out there.


The Consumer Electronics Market

The year of 1970, where videocassette recorders (VCRs) were first produced, is the era where consumer electronics market began. Any device that contains an electronic circuit board falls under the category of consumer electronics.  This includes televisions, cameras, digital cameras, PDAs, calculators, VCRs, DVDs, clocks, audio devices, headphones, tablets, smartphones and many other home products. The consumer electronics industry is thriving worldwide.

According to Statista, the revenue in the “Consumer Electronics” segment amounts to US$245,160m in 2017.  Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 11.6 % resulting in a market volume of US$379,790m in 2021. User penetration is at 23.3 % in 2017 and is expected to hit 29.1 % in 2021 while the average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to US$267.94. From a global comparison perspective it is shown that most revenue is generated in China (US$81,696m in 2017).

The consumer electronics market has been rapidly growing and its manufacturers are competing through the production of quality electronics to the product design and innovation. Each year they create something better, everything is always new, and connected. Millennials prefer to be connected online, that is why manufacturers focus more on “Internet of Things”.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes a future where every day physical objects will be connected to the internet and able to identify themselves to other devices, according to Techopedia. “It’s apparent that the most notable trends in consumer electronics are wearable and smart-home tech (IoT). Additionally, 3D-printing devices and technology have advanced in features and capabilities dramatically,” says John Francis, Los Angeles-based Hawthorne’s director of digital strategy.

The top 10 leading brands in the CEM of 2017  would include Toshiba at top 10, with revenue 11.62 Billion and profit (USD) of (6.1) Billion. Ranked at 9 would be Fujitsu, with their sales revenue of Revenue (USD) of 10.23 Billion and profit (USD) of 0.34 Billion. At number 8, is HP or Hewlett Packard. Their sales revenue is 11.89 Billion with a profit of 0.78 Billion. At number 7, is LG with their sales revenue of 11.66 Billion and profit (USD) of 2.92 Billion.  At top 6 would be Dell, with revenue (USD) of 16.25 Billion and Profit (USD) of 3.9 Billion.

For the top 5, it would be Panasonic with sales revenue of 17.52 Billion and Profit (USD) of 1.1 Billion. Top 4, is Sony with sales revenue of 23.66 Billion and Profit (USD) of 1.77 Billion. Top 3, is Microsoft with Sales Revenue of $20.53 billion and Profit of $12.5 billion.  Top 2, is Samsung with sales revenue of $40 billion and profits of $4.6 billion. For the number 1 spot is Apple, with revenue (USD) of 42.36 Billion and a Profit (USD) of 16.11 Billion.

The continued expansion of the Consumer electronics market is what excites the consumers keeping them interested and engaged. For those in the CE product space, or marketers who use CE to reach consumers, following trends and adapting novel strategies will determine their spot in the industry, ideally with electronics manufacturing services.


Getting to Know Semiconductors and How They Work

A semiconductor is a solid chemical element or compound, which can conduct electricity under some conditions. It can conduct current, but only partially. Its conductivity is in between that of an insulator, which has no conductivity, and a conductor, which has full capacity. Most semiconductors are crystals; an example would be silicon.

Silicon, just like Carbon and Germanium are common periodic table elements that are used for semiconductor. They have four electrons in their outer orbital, which form covalent bonds with their neighboring atoms and form a lattice formation. The crystalline form of carbon would be a diamond whilst Silicon crystalline form would be a silvery, metallic substance. Metals are commonly used as conductors due to their free electrons, where electricity can flow easily.

On the other hand, silicon is not metallic, they form covalent bonds which disallows them to move, in fact, pure silicon is considered an insulator which only allows few electricity to flow. But, by adding impurities to it, it changes its behavior and allows electricity to flow, which is why it can be used as a semiconductor. Impurities such as phosphorous, arsenic, boron, or gallium, allows silicon to be a semiconductor.

There are 2 types of impurities in printed circuit board design, the N-type and the P-type. N-type. For the N-type, phosphorous and arsenic is added to silicon in copious amounts. It only takes a copious amount of impurity for free electrons to allow an electric current to flow through silicon. It is called the N-type due to the electrons having a negative charge. The P-type of the other hand uses boron or gallium. When added to silicon, they form holes in the lattice formation of silicon allowing a bond to occur. Since there is an absence of an electron, it creates the effect of a positive charge, thus called P-type.

The positive holes in the P-type silicon get attracted to the negative terminal of the battery. These 2 types both create a good conductor, not a strong one but enough for electricity to flow within. When voltage is applied to either an N-type or a P-type semiconductor, current flows. The result is that the random electron and hole movement that is present in a semiconductor becomes organized in one direction, creating measurable electric current.

Most semiconductor chips and transistors are now created with silicon and that is why silicon is called the heart of any electronic device. Nowadays, children as young as two play with electronic devices. These devices include television, smart phones, computers, video games, etc. The electronics market has been growing rapidly, and increasing the number of competitors. The competition relies on the design and quality of each unique device.

The manufacturers use semiconductors in these devices, which is why they are an important component. Without these, there would be no radios, no TV’s, no computers, no video games, and poor medical diagnostic equipment. The developments in semiconductor technology during the years have made electronic devices smaller, faster, and more reliable.


Conclusion

The consumer electronics industry is a major part of the market these days and it is funny to think small semiconductor chips and transistors are at the heart of all their electronic products. This industry still has a long way to go and would most likely remain as a powerhouse for more years to come.

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