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Gadget Revival: How Refurbished Electronics Are Redefining Tech

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Gadget Revival: How Refurbished Electronics Are Redefining Tech

The market for refurbished electronics is surging worldwide, partly due to the rising cost of living incentivizing many individuals to seek more affordable alternatives to buying brand-new tech gadgets. Not only can refurbished electronics help save a great deal of your hard-earned money, but they’re also an environmentally friendly option that reduces electronic waste.

Not all refurbished electronics are the same, however. What are the differences between refurbished laptops or refurbished phones, for example, and second-hand or used devices? Is it worth buying refurbished IT equipment or is it better to buy new? Before spending your money on refurbished tech, consider the following points.

What Are Refurbished Electronics?

Refurbished electronics are devices that have been tested, inspected, cleaned, and repaired if necessary, then resold by a refurbisher. They differ from used and second-hand devices because they’ve undergone these processes with a certain standard of quality, whereas used devices may or may not have been subjected to these processes.

While some refurbishers offer guarantees or warranties on their products, not all do. Moreover, not all refurbishers perform refurbishment to the same standard of quality, so it is essential to only purchase refurbished IT equipment from reputable and established refurbishers.

Compared to new devices, refurbished laptops, phones, and other tech gadgets are often substantially cheaper since they are not brand new. Buying the previous generation refurbished iPhone or Galaxy phone, for example, can still provide excellent functionality at a fraction of the price of the latest model.

Benefits of Refurbished Electronics

Why buy refurbished electronics? Here are a few important reasons to consider:

  • Price: Refurbished phones, laptops, tablets, and desktop PCs are often far cheaper than brand new models.
  • Quality: When a product is purchased from a reputable refurbisher, there is a certain assurance that it has been thoroughly tested and certified.
  • Sustainability: Buying refurbished is buying sustainable, as every device purchased prevents it from ending up as e-waste and lowers demand for new products.
  • Warranty: Some refurbished devices come with comprehensive warranties and extended warranty coverage.
  • Practically new: Some refurbished electronics are practically brand new, such as display models or returned products that has never been used.
  • Variety: Whereas many high street shops want to sell the latest models, refurbished devices tend to offer far greater choice, including slightly older models that still work just fine.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are quite a few myths and misconceptions about refurbished electronics, many of them give the term a bad reputation. Firstly, many believe that refurbished means that the device is heavily used or damaged. While a refurbished device may be damaged when returned to the refurbisher, a reputable refurbisher will undertake all practical efforts to repair the device to the best possible standard and make note of any visible (usually cosmetic) signs of damage to any interested customers.

Indeed, most quality refurbished devices are refurbished to an ‘as new’ standard, meaning that the device functions properly as intended when the product was released. This may sometimes involve replacing components (e.g. hard drive, RAM, keyboard) to ensure that the product works properly.

Another big misconception is that refurbished products do not come with any warranty coverage or additional support. This may be the case with used devices that you might find on online marketplaces, but an established refurbisher will almost always offer some sort of guarantee and/or warranty coverage should anything go wrong.

The Refurbishment Process

What makes refurbishment different from simply selling a used device as-is is just that – the refurbishment process itself. Depending on the device and its condition, it will generally be refurbished according to the following processes:

  1. Inspection: the device is inspected for any flaws or defects that require further attention.
  2. Repair: any faulty, damaged, or missing components are repaired or replaced as necessary.
  3. Cleaning: the device is thoroughly cleaned to look and feel as if it’s new.
  4. Testing: the refurbisher runs the device and ensures that it operates as intended, repeating steps 2-4 if any issues are found.
  5. Certification: the device is marked as certified refurbished and placed in a shop or an e-commerce platform for sale.

Sustainability and the Environment

While cheaper devices are a great and obvious benefit to buying refurbished, they’re also far less hazardous to the environment than buying brand-new ones. E-waste is a global problem that is growing year over year, and it’s exacerbated by the constant churn and consumerist mindset of always buying the latest model of phone, tablet, or laptop, for example.

It’s estimated that the total value of e-waste generated globally was $57 billion USD (approx. €53.8 billion) in 2019, greater than the combined GDP of most of the world’s nations. The UN Global E-waste Monitor 2020 reported that e-waste had surged by 21% from 2014-2019, making it the fastest growing waste stream globally and accounting for a total estimated 53.6 Mt (million metric tonnes).

For business e-waste, IT asset disposition companies are often used to minimize e-waste by refurbishing and remarketing IT assets in addition to providing secure data destruction services and recycling e-waste whenever possible. An ITAD company is therefore a great asset for organisations looking to strengthen data protection while simultaneously reducing e-waste.

The Future of Refurbished Tech

For many of us, it’s hard to eschew our use of tech gadgets for work, leisure, speaking with loved ones, or just about anything else in the modern world. Refurbished electronics will likely only continue to gain traction and acceptance both for their steep discounts as well as for the increasingly high standards of refurbishment.

Whilst trust in refurbished devices has also increased as more and more major retailers and e-commerce platforms offer certified refurbished products, it will always be essential to do your due diligence and to ensure that you are indeed purchasing a refurbished gadget that delivers quality performance – preferably backed by warranty coverage.


The appeal of refurbished electronics comes at a perfect time. Higher costs of living and a growing global e-waste epidemic are both strong incentives to consider refurbished instead of buying the latest phone with the all-too-familiar fruit logo on the back. Consider refurbished for your next purchase and save money, reduce e-waste, and choose from a great selection of refurbished phones, laptops, tablets, desktop PCs, and much more.

semiconductor manufacturing

Sales of Semiconductor Memory are Boosted by the Strong Demand from the Consumer Electronics Industry’s

The semiconductor memory market is anticipated to be worth US$ 172.0 billion in 2023 and is expected to rise to US$ 354.5 billion by 2033. During the projection period, semiconductor memory sales are anticipated to grow at a strong CAGR of 7.5%.

The market’s expansion is attributed to the surge in demand for memory and storage devices in next-generation connected cars and automotive safety systems.

Electronics frequently employ semiconductor memory. It is a particular class of semiconductor devices that stores digital data. Any piece of equipment with a processor or controller of any kind adopts the semiconductor memory.

Due to the surging data centers being built around the globe and the high storage needs of various enterprises, there may be an increase in demand for semiconductor-based memory devices.

The proliferation of colocation data centers and hyperscale data in industrialized nations is driving up demand for semiconductor memory, which in turn is driving up demand for connectivity, management, and storage of massive amounts of corporate data from mega facilities.

The market for semiconductor memory is expected to grow because of increasing smartphone saturation, technological advancements, increased use of and interest in smart gadgets, and other factors.

The substantial market introduction of mobile computing and solid-state drives (SSD) is projected to support the growth of the business globally. Furthermore, the expansion of businesses is significantly impacted by the growing demand in the electronics industry.

Key Takeaway:

  • Recent years have seen a huge rise in the demand for smartphones, particularly in the Middle East and North America. The GSM Association estimates that 5.1 billion people worldwide, or 67% of the population, were mobile customers in 2018.
  • Consumer electronics commanded the worldwide semiconductor memory market and held close to 35% of the market share based on application. With the increasing use of semiconductor memory in wearable technology, smartphones, and tablets around the world, the segment is predicted to present all market participants engaged in the value chain with enticing growth prospects.
  • The Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) sector, with a revenue share of more than 45%, dominated the market. The rise in demand is related to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in smartphones, smartwatches, and laptops, which necessitates compatible memory products.
  • With a value share of more than 45% in the global semiconductor memory market in 2022, the Asia Pacific region held the top spot. This is indicated by the rising investments in data centers in nations like Singapore, India, and Indonesia, which has led to a significant increase in the demand for semiconductor memory in the region.

Competitive Landscape:

Due to the prominently shifting consumer preferences, there is intense competition among industry competitors in the worldwide semiconductor memory market. Consumer expectations have radically changed as a result of the application of modern technologies in consumer electronics, automotive, IT & telecom, medical, and other sectors, boosting competition among players. To meet the increased customer expectations, market firms are also making huge investments in research and development. In turn, this expands their product line and strengthens their market position.

  • Key market players are concentrating on product releases to increase their market presence. For instance, SK Hynix, Inc. introduced their PCIe SSD, the SK Hynix Gold P31 semiconductor, in August 2020.
  • To acquire a competitive advantage in the market, the leading market players are concentrating on capacity growth. For instance, in May 2020, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Expanded its sixth domestic contract chip production line in South Korea.

Key players operating in the semiconductor memory market include Broadcom, Inc., Intel Corporation, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, Taiwan Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, Toshiba Corporation, Maxim Integrated Products, Inc., Micron Technology, NVIDIA Corporation, NXP Semiconductors N.V. and among others.


Visual Management and it’s Benefits from Active EMS

We are delighted to bring to you a new series that we’ve entitled; “From the Ops Desk.”  By this, we mean that our newest team member, Operations Director, Roger Gaskell, (Six Sigma Lean Practitioner), has put pen to paper to document the common challenges that Electronics Manufacturing Service Providers (EMS) face, and the solutions that experience has taught him.  Roger hopes that by sharing knowledge gained through extensive practice in the electronics industry, others can avoid the pain points that he has learned.

“Visual Management is one of those essential elements of our work and home lives, that many of us accept without question, and may not have even noticed. But once you understand what is meant by visual management – and the amount it includes – you’ll be seeing it everywhere”!

So, what is visual management?

 Visual management is a way to visually communicate expectations, performance, standards, or warnings in a way that requires little or no prior training to interpret. You may have heard the term in the context of the workplace, particularly factories, but it’s actually used in all sorts of everyday scenarios. You’ve probably used scores of visual management tools today already without giving them a second thought.

There are six categories of visual management that allow increasing control of standards, performance and quality. It starts out with simple communication of facts and works up to using visual controls to prevent errors from occurring. The categories are:

  1. To share information
  2. To share standards
  3. To build in standards
  4. To warn about abnormalities
  5. To stop abnormalities once they occur
  6. To prevent abnormalities altogether

Let’s investigate these in more detail.

To share information

 The first category of visual management is to share information. This is something you will regularly see in places of work and a common example is a simple notice board.

Examples of visual management you’d find on the notice board include graphs showing monthly performance summaries, the results of customer surveys, key team achievements and perhaps a list of suggestions from the team.

Or in this case, a simple wall showing Training, ESD log, First aiders, fire wardens etc.

Another example, and one you may use at home too, is colour coding. The most common system is the traffic light system where red is a warning, yellow means to be aware and green means everything is ok (Traffic lights, being a prime example). The key thing here is that everyone must understand what information is being communicated by the colors, without having to ask.


All SMT processes are linked to our internal “Andon” Light system giving a clear indication as to the status of the assembly lines.

Definitions must be clear. If you have to ask, it isn’t visual management it’s just decoration.

To share standards

 Next is sharing standards. The idea here is to communicate information, in the same way as above, but where something is done regularly and must meet a certain standard.

 To build in standards


The next logical step to sharing standards is to make it difficult to deviate from those standards. We do that in visual management by building in the standards. Examples at work could include templates that you could use for creating Microsoft Word or PowerPoint documents.

Another common example is a visual scheduling tool, also known as a Heijunka Box, which visually indicates what tasks or jobs should be completed when, by who, and in what order.  The benefit being that there is no confusion as to what the priorities are, and everyone can get on with what they need to.

The example on the right shows clear indication (Yellow highlighted boxes) of where through-hole components are to be fitted.

To warn about abnormalities


Visual management can be used where an error, abnormality or problem has occurred in order to provide a warning and stop the issue from continuing.

They can be manual visual aids, or in this example a power point presentation alerting the assembly operator / inspector to look for a problem encountered in earlier batches. This forms part of the assembly instruction and is animated so is constantly alerting the Operator to the issue. Very difficult to say that “I wasn’t aware!”

This element of visual management often goes hand in hand with other mistake proofing measures.

To prevent abnormalities altogether


The final category of visual management can also be considered as steps for mistake proofing. And some of them are so simple you’ll be surprised you never thought of them. This step seeks to prevent a problem from occurring, rather than just providing information or a warning that a person must act on.

A good example is in aircraft toilets: The light will not come on in the cubicle until the door has been locked, forcing users to lock the door, and preventing other passengers from opening the door while it’s occupied. All by preventing a light from turning on.

And finally, bringing it all together, the Active EMS workstation showing custom made tool station board and assembly instruction display.

About Active EMS

A dedicated Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) company offering bespoke solutions to customers with individual needs.

Strategically located in Manchester, recognised for its industrial prowess, we are an integrated manufacturing provider that enables partners to grow by offering in-house prototyping, Design for Manufacture (DFM), manufacturing, logistics capabilities, resources, and our very own people power.

We work across all industry segments, from automotive to medical to infrastructure, and beyond. Active EMS provides every market with a robust supply chain solution from handheld to massive electromechanical products.

Power Electronics vehicle EV

3 Prominent Trends Influencing the Demand for Power Electronics Market Between 2021-2027

The power electronics market is estimated to witness stellar growth underscored by the rising requirement for electronics modules in smart home appliances and the purchase of advanced consumer electronics. These modules are used extensively in air conditioners, smart TVs, HVAC control systems, robotic vacuums, smart energy meters, and other smart appliances for increasing the power efficiency of devices and to abstain the possibility of electrocutions. Mounting inclination towards IoT and AI technologies in smart homes could create new business prospects for power electronic manufacturers.

According to a report published by Global Market Insights, the power electronics market is projected to surpass USD 30 billion by 2027. This could be possible given to some of the trends mentioned below.

Ramping up sales of electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are steadily replacing conventional gasoline vehicles and are gaining prominence across North America and Asia Pacific. Escalating prices of fuel in APAC has incited consumers to shift towards more affordable transportation solutions like EVs. Over the coming years, it is likely that electric vehicles could become with the preferred mode of transit in view of new technological advancements in longer-lasting and affordable batteries.

This shift could also evidently ramp up the production of power electronics systems, such as MOSFETs, power switches, power modules, IGBTs, and power management integrated circuits (PMICs), as there are heavily integrated into battery management units (BMU), automotive powertrain systems, and motor drives. Government initiatives to encourage sales of EVs as to concerns over emissions and the environment could boost the supply and demand of power electronics in the EV sector.

Installation of EV charging stations across Europe

With production and sales of electric vehicles spiking up across European countries like France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Germany, the requirement for effective charging infrastructure is heightened. According to the Department for Transport, in January 2021, there were 20,775 public electric vehicle charging devices in the UK, of which, 3,880 were fast chargers. These charging infrastructures are integrated with a myriad of power electronic systems. Incremental construction of new EV charging stations across remote locations in Europe may augment the power electronics business outlook across the region. As per a report, the Europe power electronics market was valued at over USD 4 billion in 2020 is anticipated to register 4.5% CAGR between 2021 to 2027.

Technological advancements in power electronics

Companies like NXP Semiconductor N.V., Texas Instruments Incorporated, Fuji Electric Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, STMicroelectronics N.V., ON Semiconductor Corporation, Infineon Technologies AG, TOSHIBA ELECTRONIC DEVICES & STORAGE CORPORATION, among others are holding a significant share in the power electronics sector. All these companies are focusing on taking strategic initiatives like investing in R&D activities for developing technologically advanced products, and mergers & acquisitions.

Highlighting such instances, in May 2019, Infineon Technologies AG announced the launch of HybridPack series of power modules, which has applications in electric vehicles. While in December 2020, Toshiba launched 1,200V silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET, which has applications in DC-DC converters, photovoltaic inverters, and AC-DC converters.


Consumer Electronics Market Revenue to Hit $1500 Bn by 2027

Consumer electronics market size is estimated to exceed USD 1.5 trillion by 2027, according to a new report by Global Market Insights, Inc. Amid the tremendous shifts in the technological domain, consumer electronics companies across the globe are focusing on introducing new and attractive features to the widely used devices like smartphones, laptops, computers, cameras, televisions, speakers, etc. It has become more important than ever for the companies operating in the consumer electronics market to seek new ways to innovate their products to reach a large consumer base.

The industry has embraced disruptive technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning which in turn is impelling the application of consumer electronics. In addition to this, the proliferation of wireless technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi is further supporting product adoption, subsequently leading to industrial growth.

Following pivotal trends:

Innovative product launches by market players

Manufacturers active in the consumer electronics industry are mainly focusing on product innovations in order to gain a competitive edge which itself is paving way for enormous growth opportunities for the market. Quoting an instance, in 2021, Canon revealed its plans to roll out the XF505 video camera later in 2021. According to the company, this camera will be equipped with a variety of features including an integrated zoom lens with 15x zoom, one-inch image sensors, and intelligent battery system BP-A batteries.

The growing popularity of audio and video equipment

With the emergence of multimedia and incorporation of various smart technologies, audio and video equipment such as televisions, digital cameras, speakers, players, remote controls, headsets, etc., are gaining massive traction across the globe. Speaking of television, its technology landscape has enormously transformed in recent years with the advent of smart TVs. These TVs are generally equipped with a wide range of exciting features like browsing the web and social media, online streaming, smartphone connectivity, motion control, voice control, games, and applications. Growing consumer preference for such devices coupled with increased spending capacity is impelling their demand to a great extent.

Increasing demand for household appliances

Significant growth in the residential sector globally, in conjunction with increasing disposable incomes, has strongly influenced the demand for small household appliances such as microwave ovens and mixers. Other kitchen appliances such as dishwashers and smart coffee makers are also witnessing a mounting demand on account of changing lifestyles in urban areas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, exports of household and kitchen appliances in the U.S. increased to USD 603 million in May from USD 602.44 million in April 2021.

A strong presence of major technology companies in North America

The outlook of the consumer electronics industry in North America has been bolstered by the heightened demand for smart household appliances and mainly by the strong presence of major technology companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and General Electric. These companies are involved in rigorous R&D and are making hefty investments for the same. To illustrate, credible sources have reported that tech giant Apple Inc is working on a new product line that combines Apple TV set-top box and a HomePod speaker as well as a camera for video conferencing. This product is expected to be one of the most powerful smart home devices by the company.

Source: Global Market Insights, Inc


Trends Shaping the Future of Electronics Manufacturing

The electronic manufacturing industry is one of the fastest-growing industries globally and has brought about changes in both businesses and personal life. It is estimated that the industry grew in revenue to about $2.4 trillion in the year 2020.

However, the growth is about to experience a new shift with the introduction of emerging and barrier-breaking trends that will shift the running of businesses, homesteads, and how electronic manufacturing is run. Although some trends and practices have been in the industry for years with emerging modern improvements and growth in the technology world, so has electronic manufacturing. Some of these trends take this industry to a new level.

Take a look at some future trends to watch out for in the electronic manufacturing industry and better understand how these trends manage to take top spots in shaping and directing the growth of the electronic industry.

Trends shaping the future of electronic manufacturing include:

1. Internet of Things

This is the connection of everyday devices through the internet, allowing easy sharing and receiving information through electronic devices. Internet of Things (IoT) has increasingly been embraced in electronic manufacturing with more companies, leveraging the benefits from IoT to increase device efficiency, improve consumer safety and cut costs.

2. Use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

By using virtual reality and augmented reality, manufacturers can design consumer-friendly products. Computer-aided designs have helped designers and manufacturers make accurate and timely changes to the products. Also, the use of VR and AR helps in designing and eliminates error and reduces inspection time as workers are better able to identify errors.

3. Use of 3-D Printing

A report by Smithers estimates an annual growth of 23% in the next decade in 3-D revenue. The report also shows the 3-D printing revenue growth is estimated to grow from $5.8 billion to about $55.8 billion by 2027.

The 3-D printing marketplace has a vast share around Western Europe and North America, where cutting-edge technology developers are pushing for increased mainstream use of 3D printing among technology companies.

Electronic manufacturing companies are capitalizing on their technological abilities and emerging trends. To ensure they remain competitive, it is important to work closely with equally fast emerging trends such as 3-D printing. 3-D printing developments are not only focused on the physical aspects but are also working on the design, the application, and the overall satisfaction of the end-user.

4. Big Data

Corporations worldwide have been exclusively using big data. Much of this was because it was expensive to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, advancements in IoT and other cutting-edge technologies have turned the tables. Now, businesses of all sizes can draw information from multiple sources. This has made big data more valuable than it was.

Consequently, electronic manufacturers are applying the information they receive from big data in various productive ways. For example, they apply it to minimize production costs while raising profit margins and market share. This is guided by the willingness of managers to gain more understanding of their businesses. This helps them to overcome various issues while projecting and preventing future challenges.

5. Use of Industrial Robotics

For years, the automotive industry was the leading driver in the growth of industrial robotics. However, this has changed, and industrial robotics have been used in electronic manufacturing to perform several tasks in recent years.

The widespread use of industrial robots in the electronic industries led to substantial growth in industrial robotics use in 2016, where global sales increased by about 16%. This number is estimated to grow over the years, leading to an increase in the global market.

The use of robots in electronic manufacturing has allowed miniaturization and reshoring. Moving forward in innovations, design, and the business running, manufacturers across the board are looking for ways to increase efficiency. The use of robots has proven an essential tool.

Besides future technological trends, manufacturing companies also need to look at some of the business trends that will influence the success and running of their business. Some of the future business trends to look out for include:

6. Use of ERP Systems

To keep a company competitive, companies need to enforce enterprise resource planning (ERP). Though this trend has been in use for some years, some worthy mention benefits of embracing this trend when looking to expand the electronic manufacturing industry include:

With the use of the internet in all operations, it is now more critical for a business to use real-time information; enterprise resource planning helps companies optimize and automate new information fast and in real-time.

Owing to fast access to real-time information, companies can act fast and make accurate and quick decisions. The enterprise resource planning has been through growth stages that have allowed its efficiency. However, with the growth of the electronic industry, the same is expected with the enterprise resources system with technological advancements working towards increasing reliability and ease in running the business.

7. Shift from B2B to B2B2C

For many years electronic manufacturing companies operated using the business-to-business (B2B) approach. But with more manufacturing companies looking for ways to cut costs. Companies are now turning to the business-to-business-to-consumer approach (B2B2C).

With the use of the B2B2C approach, companies are now working towards eliminating intermediaries, which helps them reach the clients directly; as a result, it increases company profits and, in turn, reduces purchase costs. Additionally, the B2B2C approach enables the manufacturers to collect accurate customer data, improving customer satisfaction.

Why these Trends

While these trends may seem like ordinary technological advancements, they have several things in common that make them unique. In a world full of innovations, new designs, and a desire to be effective, it is essential to have the following attributes in mind.

Working on cost reduction, most of the resources and trends making waves and promising success, reduces costs. Cost reduction will be beneficial to the manufacturing companies and cut the cost to the consumers.

Product efficiency, electronic devices are part of the world and the introduction and use of the internet across the globe. It is essential for manufacturing companies to not only provide functional products but increase efficiency. For instance, with the use of the internet, everything in electronic manufacturing, people can now have smart homes and have actual time footage on their homes or even offices. This is possible due to the electronic manufacturing innovations.

These trends have proven to help manufacturing companies achieve product precision, which improves quality and reduces costs and error.

Waste reduction, amid the technological innovations and significant electronic developments, is essential for companies to also focus on. This is not only a great way to cut company costs but is also an excellent way for these companies to preserve the environment.

Bottom Line

More people embracing electronic devices in their homes, places of work, and running businesses. Manufacturing companies have a massive task in ensuring consumer satisfaction by focusing on high-end innovation and working closely with other technology sectors to ensure they are competitive and efficient.


Linda Liu is the overseas marketing manager for MKTPCB, a leading PCB manufacturer that offers high-quality PCB products and services. Since 2012, she has established “first-of-its-kind” industry-changing and transformational businesses initiatives that increased revenue growth, brand exposure and market expansion for MKTPCB. Linda graduated from Western University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

surface coatings

Production of Powder Urethane Surface Coatings to Rise at a Robust Pace in the Coming Years

Urethane surface coatings are witnessing higher adoption across several industrial verticals considering their outstanding tensile and tear strength attributes. Due to their versatile properties and ability to retain durability in extreme temperature ranges, they are well-suited for construction, textile, and transportation applications. In addition, the coatings show resistance to water, oil, oxidation as well as abrasion. They are also utilized in plastics, dyes, as well as explosives and assist in protecting valuable equipment from harsh industrial environments.

The urethane surface coatings are incorporated to seal marine hulls from coastal elements, corrosion, and harsh weather. They can be applied to all categories of boats as well as ships and find utility in protecting gas and oil pipelines. However, the coatings bear a significantly higher cost and give rise to odor and smoke during the curing processes. Their chronic exposure can also lead to extreme toxicity and neurological disorders when absorbed by the human skin.

It has been suggested that the global urethane surface coatings market size will grow at a significant rate through 2027.

The preference for powder urethane surface coatings is likely to stir in the near future considering their excessive requirement across exterior functional applications. They help to counter chemical exposure as they possess optimum corrosion and chemical resistance, flexibility as well as hardness. Furthermore, these coatings are increasingly favored over epoxy powders as they impart superior exterior durability and overbake stability.

The demand for urethane surface coating technology across the automotive industry will reach substantial traction due to their increasing penetration in the manufacturing of various car parts. Bumpers adhered with urethane surface coatings are more resistant to impact in comparison to traditional steel components. The automotive ceilings and windows also make use of these materials to maintain intactness for proper functioning. Besides, the aerospace industry is witnessing a greater need for urethane surface coatings to protect aircraft and enhance their fuel efficiency.

The electrical and electronic applications are expected to record a higher consumption of urethane surface coatings in order to manufacture numerous significant components. They are widely employed in protective smartphone cases and various parts of printed circuit boards. The coatings are also making their place in microelectronics to offer protection from an optimum number of environmental hazards. They are utilized in refrigerator components like the rack of dishwashers to keep the appliance quiet. Furthermore, the underwater cables also make use of urethane surface coatings to refrain the internal wires from water damages.

Leading suppliers of urethane surface coatings and technology are constantly focused on strategies such as acquisitions, partnerships, and capacity expansions to enhance their production capacities and strengthen their customer base. These firms are also coming up with innovative launches to sustain the increasing competition in the current COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, in March 2021, PPG introduced Pitthane Ultra Ls, a high-performance urethane coating line for corrosive applications that need low sheen to reduce glare and hide surface imperfections.


The European Domestic Appliance Market Expands Rapidly, Adapting to New Energy Efficiency Requirements

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Domestic Appliances – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The second half of 2020 saw an unprecedented increase in demand for household appliances, as during the lockdown people started to use domestic equipment more intensively. While enjoying buoyant growth, producers are to adjust to higher standards in terms of energy efficiency and reducing waste.

Key Trends and Insights

In April 2020, Eurostat data indicates the EU manufacture of electric domestic appliances fell by 55.3% against the same period of 2019. In the second half of 2020, however, the production accelerated, enabling the total 2020’s result to remain near $40B (IndexBox’s estimate in wholesale price). During the lockdown, people started to use domestic equipment more intensively, focusing on the improvement and hygiene of their environment.

Since 2020, e-commerce emerged among key domestic appliance sales channels. Against Covid restrictions and heightened demand, it even led to delays in deliveries in some cases, until sellers adapted to new delivery conditions.

Following the European Green Deal, the energy efficiency of domestic appliances is seeing continuous improvement. Over the last two years, there have been notable advances in terms of fridge, TV and domestic fan appliances. Energy-efficient LED lamps and solar panels are increasingly being used in domestic appliance manufacture. As of March 2021, the EU introduced new energy efficiency labelling standards. The new labelling scale is now much stricter than its previous counterpart and has been designed so that very few appliances can be awarded the ‘A’ efficiency standard mark. That increases the scope for more energy-efficient products to be included under this standard in the future.

Manufacturers are now obliged under the EU standards to provide a 10-year warranty for equipment. This is to benefit users with increasing equipment reliability and reduced waste. On the other hand, it may lead to rising prices for appliances in the future, as manufacturers will incorporate the cost of maintaining the stock of appliance spare parts for 10 years into the selling price.

Germany, the UK and Italy to Remain the Main Consuming Countries

The countries with the highest volumes of domestic appliances consumption in 2019 were the UK (226M units), Germany (207M units) and Italy (185M units), together comprising 43% of total consumption. France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 45% (IndexBox estimates).

From 2012 to 2019, the biggest increases were in the Czech Republic, while domestic appliance consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Germany ($8B), the UK ($6.1B) and France ($6B) were the countries with the highest levels of market value in 2019, with a combined 44% share of the total market. Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 41%.

The countries with the highest levels of domestic appliances per capita consumption in 2019 were the Netherlands (4.81 units per person), the Czech Republic (4.34 units per person) and Belgium (4.34 units per person).

In 2019, Germany (313M units), distantly followed by the UK (189M units), France (168M units), the Netherlands (132M units), Italy (105M units) and Spain (74M units) were the largest importers of domestic appliances, together achieving 69% of total imports. Poland (62M units), Belgium (54M units), Hungary (41M units), Sweden (37M units), Romania (35M units), the Czech Republic (32M units) and Austria (30M units) held a minor share of total imports.

From 2012 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of purchases, amongst the leading importing countries, was attained by Romania, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Germany ($9.8B), France ($6.5B) and the UK ($5.6B) constituted the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2019, with a combined 44% share of total imports. These countries were followed by Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, which together accounted for a further 43% (IndexBox estimates).

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

wire and cable

Electronic Appliance Demand to Influence North America Wire and Cable Market Forecast

The consistent need for high-speed internet services will enhance North America’s wire and cable market forecast, along with the higher adoption of IoT and smart devices. There has been a surge in the use of internet and telecommunication services as well as the incorporation of renewable energy sources with the expansion of the industrial sector.

Increasing demand for power supply from residential and commercial buildings and soaring investments in the implementation of smart grid infrastructure will boost the consumption of various types of electrical components in the coming years. Estimates suggest that the North American wire and cable market size will reach a yearly estimation of more than USD 40 billion by 2026.

High voltage networks will witness considerable deployment across the manufacturing sector owing to the rising need for bulk electricity transmission over long distances. The steady incline in developmental investments for various clean energy generation projects and augmenting demand for HVDC systems will stimulate the development of high voltage wire and cables in the U.S.

Furthermore, the rising production of power cables can be attributed to the intensifying governmental focus on generation as well as the transmission capacity of the cable components. Annual revenue from coaxial wire and cable technology in the North American market is anticipated to reach a significant share through the coming years owing to their high durability and ease of installation. Coaxial wire and cables ensure the transmission of large volumes of data at significant speeds and are extensively accessed by the internet and service providers in the region to effectively transmit video and audio data.

Consumer electronic applications are likely to gain traction in the overall industry over the coming years owing to the jump in household incomes and the decrease in electronic product costs. There has been a significant deployment of smart systems across the region. Consistent developments in the electronics sector have pushed the demand for multiple low-voltage components for products like smartphones, earphones, and Bluetooth speakers.

Wire and cable manufacturers in the North American geography are focused on new product launches, mergers, and acquisitions to gain a competitive edge over other participants while expanding their global presence. For instance, Belden, a leading wire and cable distributor, introduced the 10GXW Cable, a new CAT 6A cable that works on multi-gigabit connectivity and offers reliable connectivity infrastructure solutions that can be optimized for smart buildings.

The ongoing COVID-19 could have considerably influenced the regional trends owing to the excessive demand for high-speed internet with the regulation of work from home policies. Educational, healthcare, and services industries have brought in significant demand for reliable connectivity, putting a focus on strong cable infrastructure. Cablel Hellenic Cables Group, LAPP North America, Polycab, and Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd., are some of the major firms producing and supplying robust wires and cables across America.



Refocusing the ITC to Protect the US Economy

International trade is always transforming, often in exciting ways. However, a little-noticed trend in litigation at the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) portends serious market disruption and harm to US consumers and businesses.

Since 1916, the ITC has been tasked with protecting domestic industries from unfair imports. Under Section 337 of U.S. trade law, the ITC investigates imports claimed to be competing unfairly and affecting U.S. industries, including by infringing intellectual property (IP) rights. In these cases, the ITC can issue an exclusion order to ban all imports of the infringing product from the U.S. but is to refrain from a ban, if the public interest dictates it should not act.

During my tenure as ITC Chairman, the agency took great care to respect the balance of interests in the cases before us; our goal was to strengthen and support the US economy. Time and again, Congress made it clear that the mission of the ITC is to protect domestic industry – meaning US productive capacity and jobs. It is not simply an expedient alternative forum for enforcement of IP claims that could be heard by courts. Congress made it equally clear that focus on the broader public interest was paramount to striking the right balance. If the harm to consumers or healthy market competition outweighed any gains from protecting the patentholder, no import ban should issue.


Unfortunately, in subsequent years, the ITC in 337 cases has forgotten its history and the critical balance of interests that its decision-making requires. The ITC now elevates the protection of one claimant’s IP right over damage to the US economy writ large. It regularly dismisses evidence of future public harm as speculative – because the damage has not yet occurred. This is at odds with logic, law, and economics, including the ITC’s own expert analyses.

The whole point of an ITC exclusion order is to change which goods can enter the U.S. in the future, so of course, the ITC must consider how its actions will affect the public going forward. It requires the same kind of forward-looking analyses the ITC regularly does when, for example, it evaluates the projected impact of a planned trade agreement on the US economy.

The ITC’s analytic missteps have created a monster. We are seeing an increased 337 cases against complex products involving hundreds, if not thousands of patents, like cars and smartphones. Petitioners know that asserting even one minor patent for one minor component threatens the exclusion of an entire category of downstream products. That creates distorted incentives; even US companies steadfastly denying patent infringement pay outsize settlements to avoid the prospect of losing the U.S. market. Worse still, in many of these cases, petitioners are not U.S. companies and have threadbare connections to the domestic economy. They are instead patent-holding entities – often called patent trolls or “nonpracticing entities” (NPEs) – created and backed by financial firms with the sole purpose of litigating to extract big money.

A double case in point: A newly formed Ireland firm, Neodron Ltd., filed two ITC cases accusing the major smart device innovators, including Amazon, Apple, Dell, LG, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony, of infringing patents related to touchscreens on smart devices. If the ITC determines even one claim of one patent was infringed, more than 90% of tablets, smartphones, and touchscreen computers could be prohibited from entering the country.

Exclusion would devastate American consumers and these companies. Americans rely more heavily than ever on their smart devices during the COVID-19 pandemic to work from home, learn remotely, consult with their doctors, and stay connected to family and friends.

It might be one thing if an import ban on these crucial devices would strengthen the US economy by protecting some domestic industries from unfair trade. But Neodron produces nothing, and the company it licenses its patents to does not make products that compete with (let alone replace) the smart devices that would be excluded. Neodron, and only Neodron, would benefit; the public and the U.S. economy would suffer. It is exactly the type of exclusion order Congress warned against.

Neodron and other NPEs can pursue their patent claims through the courts if they are legitimate. But claims like theirs do not belong in the ITC–an agency whose purpose is protecting trade. The ITC needs to focus on combatting the insidious and growing economic costs of letting NPEs press this kind of exploitive litigation. It should not conflate NPEs’ narrow interest in monetizing their patents with the actual public interest, which Congress has required it to analyze seriously before excluding products from the market. The ITC’s return to its mandate and mission is an urgent priority.