International supply chains continue to face severe disruptions and strains, despite initial hopes that the situation would improve in 2021. The ongoing Covid crisis in China and the war in Ukraine have only worsened the situation, making it even more challenging for industrial production to return to normal.
How does the supply chain disruption impact?
Our customers and partners provide valuable insights into the current situation of sourcing single board computers, gateways, and other industrial controllers. Unfortunately, lead times for these components can vary greatly, depending on the volume required, and can extend up to six months or more. In some cases, distributors are unable to provide any lead time estimates, making it extremely challenging to plan IoT and digital transformation projects. Given that the hardware is often the central component that drives the design process, this introduces significant complexity, delays, and uncertainty to the project timeline.
What are the key limitations?
When it comes to industrial projects, it’s common to select a suitable single board computer, controller, or gateway first, and then proceed with software development and hardware integration. Fortunately, if you’re using standard interfaces like Modbus, digital I/O ports, or 0-10V/4-20mA interfaces, they are generally compatible across devices. Similarly, if your application software is designed to run on any standard Linux distribution, it will also be quite compatible. It’s worth noting that many projects begin on a standard Raspberry Pi before moving to more industrial-grade components, which is surprising but effective.
How can you design around a supply chain disruption?
Remote access and device management solutions can often be the main blocking component in industrial projects. Many of these solutions are closely tied to a specific Linux distribution or hardware platform, which can create dependencies and limit flexibility. However, qbee.io can help you to abstract away these dependencies and gain more control over your project. Our device management software is designed to run on virtually any Linux distribution, allowing you to operate different hardware brands in parallel or switch devices between generations.
By freeing you from making early decisions on final hardware devices, we give you the flexibility to find devices with the best price/performance ratio or protect you from vendor lock-in. This is particularly valuable in times of uncertainty when lead times and availability are unpredictable. With qbee.io, you can select your final hardware according to lead time and availability, and migrate your entire device management and application stack to the new device in less than a day. This ensures timely delivery to your customers and reduces your dependence on specific hardware.