Smith was featured in the latest issue of Electronics Sourcing North America in an article that discusses key purchasing strategies for thermal management products and best practices that help us to support industrial and medical customers’ stringent requirements. The article quotes Smith’s Vice President of Business Development, Todd Burke, who describes the different types of thermal management products and important factors to consider when sourcing.
Thermal management products play a vital role in many intensive and specialized applications in industries subject to extremely high temperatures. We asked Smith’s Vice President of Business Development, Todd Burke, how purchasing is affected.
Q: What should be on a purchaser’s shopping list when sourcing thermal management products?
First, purchasing professionals need to have the full part number, product description, quantity, and target price for the specific product being sourced. Secondly, identify any lead time requirements and request a copy of the manufacturer’s product specification sheet. Finally, to ensure the right product is sourced, purchasers will benefit greatly from a thorough understanding of the thermal management product’s intended application.
Q: What different thermal management products are available and in what kind of applications are they used?
Heatsinks, fans, and blowers are the most common thermal management products in the supply chain. Customers across the electronics industry also require thermal materials such as coatings and plastics. From aerospace and defense to medical industry applications, thermal products play a vital role in many intensive and highly specialized sectors. The automotive and oil and gas industries, for example, utilize thermal management products in applications that must withstand extreme temperatures, often ranging from -40 to 200°C.
Q: What are lead times like for thermal products in the Americas?
Thermal product lead times depend on the lifecycle of the product and the quantity needed. If a customer is open to cross-matching thermal management part numbers and the part is in stock, lead times are running at about one to two weeks for products like blowers and heatsinks. If the part is not in stock and there is not much flexibility, lead times in the Americas are ranging from eight to ten weeks.
Q: How have thermal products advanced over the last few years?
With computers and mobile computing devices becoming smaller and thinner over the years, the need to dissipate heat has become more urgent. Chip technology has also advanced in these types of products, so thermal management solutions have adapted. Fans and their packaging have become significantly smaller than a few years ago to be more cooling efficient.
Q: What are the most popular thermal products distributed by Smith?
Smith sources a wide variety of thermal management products. Our worldwide headquarters in Houston is located near the Gulf of Mexico. This region is a hotspot for oil and gas customers who need products that can operate under extreme conditions. Heatsinks, fans, and blowers are the most popular thermal products that Smith distributes. We’ve been distributing these product types since our founding in 1984, and they are still popular in thermal management today.
Q: What can we expect from thermal management technology in the future and what benefits will this provide?
We expect thermal management products and technology to keep up with the ‘smaller is better’ trend. Smaller, more efficient thermal products will replace older, larger ones, and inevitably, purchasers will need to source new parts.
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