U.S. Department of Commerce says stocks of semiconductors have ‘plunged’
Manufacturers in the United States have seen their stocks of the chips decline amid the global shortage. Sales of the components rose sharply during the pandemic, leaving chip producers struggling to satisfy the demand, resulting in major disruptions for many, including manufacturers of smartphones, electrical items and vehicles.
A survey found that demand for semiconductors was as much as 17% higher in 2021 than it was in 2019. Gina Raimondo, U.S. secretary of commerce said that “with sky-rocketing demand and full utilization of existing manufacturing facilities, it’s clear the only solution to solve this crisis in the long-term is to rebuild our domestic manufacturing capabilities.”
The U.S. Government recently unveiled legislation and plans for an investment of $52bn to go towards the production and research of chips. This funding was accepted by the Senate in 2021 in an effort to reduce the country’s dependency on China, a main producer of the components, during the ongoing supply chain bottlenecks.
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Tesla forecasts huge growth in 2022 despite supply chain challenges
Tesla Inc has said that vehicle deliveries would comfortably grow by more than 50% year-over-year in 2022, despite the ongoing supply chain challenges which are expected to be eased next year. The outlook from CEO Elon Musk came after the company reported record quarterly revenue of $17.72 billion, which exceeded all expectations.
With this announcement, Tesla are expecting to deliver over 1.4 million vehicles this year. The company hope to achieve this goal by using current factories at Fremont, California, and Shanghai. The automaker has weathered supply chain issues better than most others in the industry, as it uses less scarce chips and has the ability to quickly re-write software. In the fourth quarter, it was able to deliver a record number of vehicles, despite the challenges.
In a conference call, Musk said that “we still expect to be partly or primarily chip limited this year,” suggesting that the shortages will only start to ease in 2023. To match their forecasted growth, Tesla expects its vehicles to achieve full self-driving capability in 2022, with Musk saying “I would be shocked if we do not achieve full self-driving, safer-than-human this year.”
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DHL Supply Chain is expanding with fleet of mobile warehouse robots
Logistics giant DHL Supply Chain announced that it will be spending $15 million on a set of mobile robots, which are being developed by Boston Dynamics. A three-year agreement has been drawn up, with the supplier set to begin deploying the devices, named Stretch robots, this spring. Most of the robots will be delivered to DHL’s Supply Chain facilities in North America.
The German transport and logistics form Deutsche Post DHL will be the first commercial user of the Stretch robot. According to a spokesperson from Westerville, Ohio DHL Supply Chain, the companies have been collaborating on the project for several years. The robots are equipped with an omnidirectional mobile base, a lightweight arm and a gripper, all features that can handle a variety of box shapes and sizes.
The new technology will be used to help unload truck trailers initially, according to DHL Supply Chain. The investment for the robots is part of the company’s plan to invest $2 billion in the digitization of supply chains by the end of 2030, DHL said. The logistics provider was named the seventh-largest provider in the U.S. alone in 2020, with this investment set to improve this.
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