Stefano Coluccini Sees 2022 as a Challenging Year for Production
The chip shortage has made an impact, not only in Italy, but on a global scale. Stefano Coluccini, General Manager at CAEN RFID explains the challenges of 2022 in terms of production in an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global.
How has the chip shortage made an impact on product development at CAEN RFID?
Compared to 2021, the chip shortage has become worse for us this year. To give an example of how dire the situation is, we are actually still waiting for a component – a microcontroller – which is typically widely available. The initial delivery of the order was scheduled for January 2022. However, we soon received notice that it would be delayed to February and now the delivery has been pushed back even further, to November. For us, as a manufacturer of RFID hardware and devices, it was not possible to delay the launch of a product for 9 months because of the unavailability of microcontrollers. We have therefore had to redesign our products around a new microcontroller which is something that involves a lot of effort in terms of research and development.
The situation has become quite complicated and we do see many challenges ahead of us in 2022, as the delivery of some components that we require are being pushed back by nine to 12 months. I expect that these challenges will stay with us all year, and some experts predict that the shortage will persist into the first quarter of 2023.
How has the chip shortage affected the cost of IC components?
Prices for IC components are increasing. With the current shortage, chip manufacturers are increasing the prices of chips and components to try and cope with the situation. You can even find brokers that are selling quantities of chips for extreme prices that are 10 or 20 times more than the original price.
We find ourselves in critical times. In fact, we were forced to publish a new price list at the beginning of the year which takes the drastic increases in prices for manufacturing into account. This was not something that we wanted to do, but something we had to do in order to recover the cost of manufacturing and to maintain sustainable production. To my knowledge, virtually all hardware manufacturers have been forced to increase their prices. This is the main challenge for 2022.
How will CAEN RFID cope with the chips shortage in 2022?
Although we’ve had to put new projects on hold due to the unavailability of components, we are still pushing forward with production and product development. We still plan to announce and launch new products in 2022. One of these new product launches includes the RFID Smart Tray Reader trID. However, due to the shortage we expect the number of launches to be less than what we originally planned for 2022. A lot of the effort this year will go into the redesigning of products that we already have.