What is the reason for the sudden shortage of network transformers?

[Big Bit Introduction]In recent months, the shortage of network transformers has become more and more obvious. Traditional network transformers are difficult to withstand the large market demand in the production process, and some new network transformer production processes are gradually accepted by people.

According to the reactions of many practitioners in the industry chain, the demand for network transformers has been in a state of insufficiency in recent months, and terminal manufacturers have chased orders and urgent orders, making it difficult for some network transformer manufacturers to resist for a while. The supply cycle seems to be stretched in the face of large orders and urgent orders.

Network transformers have always been mediocre, only the basic components of some conventional networking equipment, and suddenly there is a serious shortage of stock. What is the reason? Why has it not been solved for a long time?

With these questions, the reporter of “Magnetic Components and Power” magazine recently interviewed a number of related practitioners of network transformer companies, and talked about their views on these issues.

Understanding Network Transformers

In a wired local area network, a twisted pair (UTP) connection is used between servers, routers, computers and other devices. Because the connecting cables and twisted pairs are very long, reaching tens of meters or hundreds of meters, directly connecting the Electronic devices in the two places will bring many problems.

  

In order to ensure the safety of the integrated circuit chip of the network card, reduce the bit error caused by external EMI and suppress the electromagnetic noise inside the computer from transmitting energy into the air, it is necessary to add a transformer at the connection between the network card and the UTP to solve the above problems, and this product is network transformer.

The main function of the network transformer is signal level coupling: it can enhance the signal and make its transmission distance longer; isolate the chip end from the outside, enhance the anti-interference ability, and increase the protection of the chip (such as lightning strikes); When a flat network port is used, it will not affect each other’s devices.

Multi-dimensional perspective to see the reasons for out-of-stock

Reason 1: Restricted entry and exit from overseas origins

According to people familiar with the industry, due to the fact that traditional network transformer production requires a lot of manpower and material resources, coupled with the frequent shortage of labor and rising labor costs in my country, traditional network transformer production is in trouble. For this reason, some traditional network transformer manufacturers set their sights on Some countries with lower labor costs abroad have made real changes. Among them, North Korea and Vietnam, which are adjacent to my country’s north and south, have become important foreign OEM production points for traditional network transformers.

In recent years, the traditional network transformers produced by the two countries have effectively alleviated the production and supply difficulties of domestic network transformers to some extent.

However, due to the impact of the epidemic this year, the local epidemic prevention and control form is severe, and my country and neighboring countries have many difficulties in importing and exporting raw materials and products, which restricts the domestic supply of network transformer raw materials and the backlog of foreign backlog of network transformer products.

At present, international product trade is becoming an important cross-border transmission method of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. The global epidemic joint prevention and control situation has made many countries not dare to slack off, and it is bound to continue to affect the industrial chain between countries and between enterprises. , The smooth connection of the supply chain.

Reason 2: A new epidemic broke out in the frontier origin

Similarly, there are two important traditional network transformer production places in China, namely Xinjiang and Northeast China in the northwest region.

After the nationwide epidemic was effectively contained, several new cases of new coronary pneumonia virus infection appeared in some parts of the country, showing a clustered infection. In Xinjiang, there have been two small-scale cluster infections.

In this case, the rhythm of local industrial production was disrupted again, affecting the normal supply of products.

Reason 3: Domestic prison OEMs are suspended

During the large-scale outbreak of the domestic epidemic, except for the industrial chain of prevention and control needs, most enterprises were in a state of shutdown, including some prisons that produced network transformers.

What is even more frustrating for the network transformer company that entrusts the prison OEM is that the serious epidemic situation in China has covered prisons. Zhejiang, Shandong, and Hubei have all experienced cluster infections in prisons, forcing many prisons to strictly prevent and control them, and to limit the manual labor time of prisoners. Adjustments, and even delayed their production in a short period of time, production was stagnant for a time.

Reason 4: The rural OEM in the Mainland is unstable

In the central and western regions, there are also some traditional transformer manufacturers setting up factories there. This year, a manufacturer is promoting the construction of 500 million network transformers per year in Jiangxi. However, such a large-scale project is also faced with problems such as difficulty in recruiting workers and uneven quality of employees in production, and the product supply is relatively unstable. This is something that almost all network transformer manufacturers with factories in the Mainland will face more or less. question.

Reason 5: Policies promote network technology upgrades

In terms of national strategic requirements, at the end of 2017, the action plan for promoting the large-scale deployment of IPv6 issued by the two offices has become a programmatic document and guiding idea for related work, and is one of the main driving forces for the development of domestic IPv6. This year, China Mobile expects to realize the commercial use of 5G in all cities, as well as the deployment of network slicing, edge computing and the Internet of Everything. These new technologies have a very large demand for addresses, so IPv6 is an inevitable choice.

In this context, two important application terminals for network transformers: routers and set-top boxes are in extremely hot demand. Zeng, the director of the R&D department of the transformer business of an electronics factory in Dongguan, and Tan Gong, the R&D engineer of an electronics factory in Shanghai, both said that the network transformer products they provide are large in the general consumer market, especially for routers and set-top boxes.

Reason 6: Active downstream terminal market demand

Driven by 5G, Internet of Things, Internet of Vehicles, data centers, smart homes and other markets that are closely related to the network, global network equipment products have ushered in new opportunities for development. As a conventional component of network equipment products, network transformers can be said to be almost Where there is a network, there is a network transformer, which naturally rises with the downstream market.

Taking the Internet of Vehicles as an example, with the development of vehicle electrification and driverless technology, vehicle networking will become an enterprise-level potential market. During the interview, several industry insiders told reporters that in fact, some communication network transformers will be used in the in-vehicle network, and the sub-scenarios and volume used in the future may be further improved. develop. When the Internet of Vehicles has not been widely discussed, domestic network transformer manufacturers have also negotiated with German BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and other car company suppliers on the supply of network transformers.

The person in charge of the company told reporters that the network transformers used in the Internet of Vehicles need to consider the performance under motion conditions, so the requirements for various parameters and indicators of network transformers will naturally be more precise. Network transformer companies are in the selection of magnetic materials. More improvements should be made to improve the performance of the network transformer.

In addition, some leading Taiwanese passive component companies have taken a fancy to the future space of this market, and began to merge network transformer manufacturers into the development circle in the form of mergers and acquisitions, and continue to strengthen their development in the fields of automotive electronics, 5G, and the Internet of Things. Market share and attention.

The weaknesses of traditional network transformers appear

The development of network transformers is born out of the development of the Internet. In the 30 years or so since the birth of the Internet, it has formed a small industry of considerable scale with the growing growth of the Internet industry. However, with the development of the times, the development of network transformers It has also reached the edge of having to innovate. At the innovation node, the conventional network transformers that will develop for nearly 30 years are called “traditional network transformers” by industry professionals.

In terms of materials, the materials of traditional network transformers are not static. Some special application fields have more and more stringent requirements. Some terminal manufacturers hope to achieve the quality of 5PPM or even 0PPM, especially for high isolation requirements and high security requirements. Thunder network communication, medical communication, industrial control and other equipment. Mr. Zeng said: “Traditional network transformers are increasingly struggling to cope with higher rates and impedances. Some drawbacks are gradually emerging. Some traditional materials are gradually not suitable for emerging markets.”

In the use of copper wires, some network transformer manufacturers have gradually adopted FIW direct welding enameled wires and industrial-grade wide-temperature magnetic cores. At the same time, it is inevitable to face a substantial increase in material costs. For products that originally require a lot of labor costs, they have no advantage in bargaining space.

This leads to a series of weaknesses of traditional network transformers: large labor volume, high labor cost, poor yield, poor consistency, low production efficiency, and long supply cycle.

Tan Gong said that many magnetic component manufacturers have generally used automated equipment to produce electronic transformers and inductors, but for traditional network transformers, many basically remain in the manual-based production mode. Soldering and alignment all need to be done manually.

The reporter visited a number of traditional network transformer manufacturers that mainly rely on manual labor and saw that production workers also need to use a “magnifying glass” device to manually inspect the small magnetic cores in the network transformers. In fact, this method is prone to mistakes. After all, visual fatigue is unavoidable for human eyes who work for a long time.

It is true that in the case of strong demand in the downstream market, traditional network transformers are very limited in terms of production, and it is obviously difficult to meet the requirements of higher requirements and larger demand.

The advantages of the new network transformer are obvious

Considering these practical problems, domestic and foreign network transformer manufacturers have stepped up self-innovation.

The reporter learned that some foreign magnetic component manufacturers have launched related new network transformers in recent years. There are also several key domestic enterprises promoting the use of this product, which are also called “new chip network transformers”.

The new type of chip network transformer can use automated production methods to free up a lot of manual work, deliver fast shipments, increase production, and meet the needs of urgent orders and large orders in the downstream market. This type of product can improve the degree of automation, greatly reduce labor, and improve the production speed of enterprises. At the same time, it can meet the long-term demand of downstream manufacturers for miniaturization and high consistency of network transformers. In terms of large-scale production and stable quality, it has an absolute advantage.

After a new type of network transformer launched by a magnetic component factory, it has been recognized and adopted by many pen power plants and network communication factories.

Practitioner Mr. Jin believes that to promote new network transformers to replace traditional network transformers, it is necessary to consider whether the performance of new products is consistent with the old production capacity, or even better; whether the price meets the psychological expectations of terminal manufacturers.

Regarding the doubts about the use of the new network transformer, the reporter interviewed the relevant person in charge of the manufacturer of the new chip network transformer in South China. The person in charge said: The new chip network transformer has better performance, better consistency, and lower defect rate. Loss, return loss, and common mode rejection are better; network delay is low, EMI-RE effect is good, and lightning strike resistance is good; price is almost the same as traditional network transformers.

According to a German manufacturer of the product, the new network transformer is a cost-effective, robust and reliable component that is compact and ideal for SMT assembly.

The reporter checked the manufacturers of this new type of network transformer and found that some manufacturers have been relatively mature in the research and development of this product, and have developed two structural styles, the traditional inductive structure and the new capacitive structure, so as to meet the needs of different applications. Make matching applications.

Who are you expecting to “appear”

In the process of exploring the shortage of network transformers, the reporter of “Magnetic Components and Power Supply” heard a lot of people discussing the shortage situation while inquiring about the development and supply of new network transformers in the industry, as well as important representative enterprises in the industry. situation, etc.

The reason for the shortage of network transformers still needs to be followed up in the follow-up, and it is not our original intention to find the reason for the shortage. The network transformer industry has been developing for 30 years. Apart from the prosperity, there are not many true faces that last forever. In the ever-changing era of the Internet of Everything, whoever sings again, who continues to stage, who sees the spring rain of apricot blossoms…

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