Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Who are Multicomp?

Today I learned that Multicomp, far from being an electronics manufacturer, are in fact a reseller of other manufacturer's components. Multicomp is owned by SPC Technologies, which in turn is owned by Premier Farnell. Presumably, Multicomp is an abbreviation of "Multiple Companies". Unsurprisingly, Farnell/Element 14/Newark stock Multicomp parts and, confusingly, list the manufacturer as 'Multicomp'.

I can't find any reliable source explaining what exactly Multicomp do, or what efforts they go to to control the quality of the products they resell, but the business probably works by purchasing large volumes of (presumably surplus) components from big manufacturers such as NXP, 3M, Fairchild etc. and then re-branding them as Multicomp parts. Multicomp is then offered as a value brand [1]. This includes re-formatting the datasheet to remove the OEM branding and replacing it with Multicomp/Farnell. Multicomp parts often sell for less than the identical part listed under the manufacturer's name.

I'm not really sure how this affects the decision to choose Multicomp components. On the one hand, Multicomp parts may be easier to source, cheaper and available in smaller MOQs; on the other hand, you don't really know who the manufacturer is or even if it will be the same manufacturer next month. Depending on the application, this might not be important, but I still feel that this arrangement could be better explained on the Farnell website.

Have you had good/bad experience with Multicomp components?


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

When is CE not CE?

Answer: When it's a China Export !

Incredibly, some Chinese manufacturers are in the habit of applying a China Export mark to their electronic products which looks, at first glance, exactly the same as the European Conformity (CE) mark. Can you tell the difference?

The difference is most noticeable when you take your 'CE' marked product to an EMC test house, where you shouldn't be surprised if it fails at least one of the emissions or immunity tests.

This is exactly what happened to a colleague of mine.

China Export on Wikipedia