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?



Gavin said...

It would be good if it was better explained, though if more people knew about it then it might be against the interests of multicomp.

Many companies use a "best source" approach to parts and so they do vary anyway - knowing that Multicomp basically do that for you could be a lot easier :)

Christian said...

Thanks for the note. I was confused about Multicomp...

I placed a request at Farnell to declare what Multicomp does so everyone gets the chance to decide on who he wants to buy from.

Ned said...

I don't know if this is a new development but I think they have gone a certain distance in declaring what they do, apparently they're part of the Farnell "Value Brand". It would be nice to know where the components I'm buying are coming from exactly though.

Didier said...

I am suspect that real manufacturer of Multicomp component are asian companies. Farnell buy these and sell it as Multicomp. If it is low cost there is always a reason. Anyway I use them and had never any issue. But for critical application (like main voltage or safety application) I will not use Multicomp parts.

Ranadium said...

I like their tinned stripboard

Anonymous said...

Multicomp is Multiple companies, parts are sourced from around the globe and listed as Multicomp. There are Premier Farnell own brand just like Tenma, Pro Power & Pro Elec, UK Multicomp is sold by Farnell and CPC. America it is sold by Newark and far east it is Element 14

Anonymous said...

I started developing a board with one of their switch, a year later this switch was substituted by another one almost equal, almost, meaning that the sacing of the pins was reduced by 2mm, this woudn't be so much of a problem, if we haven't aready started mass producing the boards with the "old" measurements...


Paul said...

We originally used Farnell part No 882-793 a 5mm Panel mounted Green LED. This was changed by Farnell to Part No 110-5256. The LED was functional but did not work in our application. We now use 121-5789 and found that 113-9521 also works.

Anonymous said...

I am the component engineer for high value/low volume hi-tech equipment.
As it is not possible to verify the history/Manufacturer/place of manufacture of these components, I have divested our whole stock of this Brand and now only purchase from reliable sources.

Anonymous said...

The parts are of OK quality, they could be physically sturdier, but they are electrically fine. What bugs me most is the excessive shipping charges from the various Farnell companies. It is already questionable to have the same business operate under different names, but even for small items that require a buck or two to ship the full freight amount is applied.
Sadly, there are no alternatives as far as I can tell in order to get these parts. That's a different discussion.

Anonymous said...

I'm working for a company which develop electronics for aviation. We decided to ban all Multicomp components from our electronics one year ago. For us a reliable qualified manufacturer is more important than the price.

Unknown said...

ما تهتم به شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض هو البحث عن كيفة علاج مشاكل تسريبات المياه التي تطرأ علي المكان فجأة بواسطة اجهزة الكشف الحدية التي تستخدمها شركة كشف تسربات بالرياض والتي تسعي للوصول الي افضل النتائج المثالية القادرة علي حل هذه المشكلة بدون تدمير فالاعتماد علي الاساليب الحديثة يساعدكم في الحصول علي نتيجة مثالية في مصلحة العميل فنحن لا نكتفي بتقديم هذه الاعمال في مدينة الرياض فقط بلا لدينا الفنين المتميزة الذي يقدمون شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام التي تعمل علي حل مشكلة البيت بدون الاعتماد علي ا اساليب تقليدية التي تستخدما بعض مقدمي خدمة شركة كشف تسربات بالدمام فلا تتكايل بشأن هذا العمل بالذات لانه يحل لك الكثير من المشاكل

Unknown said...

I only allow our design engineers to use branded components.
There is no provenance with multicomp parts

Anonymous said...

This is a free market for all entrants to the global marketplace. Branded components also manufacture their component parts out of china manufacturers and print their logos on to sell at 300% margin to the general market and manufacturing plants around the world. How you define qualified manufacturer ? Does their product guarantees 100% performance ? Have Multicomp components failed your qualification testing or you ever even tried ?
It is amusing to see comments that slam down hard on OEM brands in the market.

As far as I know, Multicomp have passed all relevant International standards and there has been great receptivity in the quality it provides at competitive price levels.

The difference in prices is purely in product branding and MOQ only.
It is possible to verify the sources and accreditations to Multicomp readily if you care to send an email to ask Premier Farnell / Newark / Element14.

a_q said...

I have just fallen foul of this. As anonymous says they may have passed all international standards, but if you ask Farnell for proof of this they cannot provide it. Nor can they put you in direct contact with the supplier "for commercial reasons".

We had selected an external Multicomp connector with IP67 rating and when it came to approvals/safety testing, Farnell could not supply any flammability or UV degradation approvals data. So we were up shit creek without a paddle - lesson learnt - do not use this stuff for critical components.

Unknown said...

How might one obtain s-params for a given Multicomp Inductor component?

Mike said...

I've used their electrolytic capacitors in some of my transistor radios. They seem fine for general purpose use. My only complaint is sometimes the measured capacitance is too low. The esr seems good. Overall they seem fine as long as you get a good batch. Price is very reasonable.

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