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Is the ESD Industry Finished?

By Steve Fowler

The ESD Industry as a separate entity may be finished. Our reports of the business for the true ESD suppliers is dismal. We hear numbers of up to 80% off last years sales. We have seen some of our more active members go Chapter 7 in a period of a few weeks from a record January sales month. (UTP Out of Business,Julie Adds UTP Assets). We have not heard from all companies but the general response to the business situation is down - down - down!

Distributors seem to have been the most hard hit. Small Manufacturers are struggling to keep the doors open. Only those businesses who have diversity are even for the year or are up somewhat. Julie Industries and Botron seem to have weathered the storm so far with sales over last year's. Testing Labs have also been hard hit. Most report the amount of work over the past two to three months is down to near zero. From our perspective at Fowler Associates, we have less and less ESD type testing. Our overall total sales this year to date are up 13% but the ESD portion is down approximately 50%. If we did not have the diversity of training, consulting and testing in other areas such as Radiation, our business would be in the dumps also. Companies which use ESD products have been laying off their ESD experts.

This leads back to original thought of this article: Is the ESD Industry finished?

I believe it is. This does not mean the need for ESD products and services no longer exists. It means the era of the separate industry dedicated solely to the ESD industry is over. In other words, the industry has matured into a known commodity. The products and services will be supplied in the near future by diversified companies who service the broad fields of Munitions, Electronics, Plastic Manufacturing, etc.

If any company is to survive this "depression", it is clear that diversity is the key. How we in the industry respond to these indicators of change will determine our individual survival.

Good Luck.

Send us your comments on the outlook for business for our industry. We will post them as they are received.

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