Eight capacitor manufacturers have been charged with fixing to increase and maintain high prices, reports EBN.
Earlier this year, I replaced two failed aluminum electrolytic capacitors in a computer monitor power supply. The caps cost $1.07 each at my local electronics store. Yes, I could have acquired the 1,000-µF, 16-V caps for less online, but we're only talking pennies here, and I wanted to get the caps right away.
Apparently, prices for caps are too low.
EBN reported that Nippon Chemi-Con of Japan has pleaded guilty to an indictment that the company conspired with others to raise prices and keep them high. Seven other companies, including Hitachi Chemical, NEC Tokin, Rubycon, Elna, Tomohide Date, and Holy Stone Holdings, have also been charged. According to EBN, the companies "conspired to suppress and eliminate competition for electrolytic capacitors from as early as September 1997 until January 2014."
The indictment said, "The defendant and co-conspirators collected, exchanged, monitored, and discussed information on prices, bids, sales, supply, demand, shipping, and the production of electrolytic capacitors for the purpose of reaching agreements on prices and bids and monitoring and enforcing adherence to the collusive agreements reached."
This case makes me wonder if other component prices are kept artificially high.
Read the EBN report, "Capacitor Pricing Fixing Conspiracy: The Next Chapter," by Hailey Lynne McKeefry.
—Martin Rowe covers test and measurement for EE Times and EDN. Contact him at email@example.com