The constant evolution of technology has meant that companies in the technology sector must adapt every day. For this reason, many mechanisms have been created to reduce production costs and increase the productivity and efficiency of their business models. So, we will talk about obsolescence, or end of life of the electronic components we use every day. What options do we have for an electronics component going end of life? Since, as mentioned above, part of the companies' strategies are based on reducing the life cycle of electronic components so that new products can go on sale in the near future, also reducing costs or design efforts, in a nutshell, electronic components or electronic devices have an expiration date that can be between ten and thirty years depending on the sector where these devices are used. Emphasizing that the military and medical products are those that present a greater range of obsolescence being between twenty and thirty years.
It is a great challenge for companies to keep up with the end of life notifications of a product, although the notification margins have increased, the companies that manufacture these components are doing a better job in notifying on time the discontinuation of the product, thus providing an acceptable margin of time to search for other solutions.
Part of the problem is that technology is advancing so fast that semiconductor manufacturers are discontinuing chip production faster than in the past, so companies acquiring such components must have a careful plan to properly mitigate the impact of the end of life products.
Therefore, being able to count on alternative suppliers of a qualified chain is an excellent alternative for when such products reach at EOL, since, not only a discontinued product can finish our production chain, disruptions can occur that could not be provided, such as natural disasters that strike without warning, wiping out the entire company or even sectors of the market.
Fortunately, there are companies that provide this type of service, when a buyer finds wind notifications from its distributor, many electronics companies seek to acquire their products second-hand, parts that maybe not are the original but work as well as if they were, in other words, an acceptable replacement to continue the production of devices that are made. For example, if a component becomes obsolete or ends its life cycle and there are no replacements, then you can take a look at semiconductor replacement part manufacturers such as Lansdale or Rochester Electronics, which acquire the manufacturing rights to the discontinued parts and build them with the same specifications as the original product.
However, there are different ways to know when a product reach at EOL, one of those alternatives is to know the frequency with which a product is being acquired because if that product is not being acquired regularly, it is difficult for manufacturers to continue with their production because it could mean losses in the near future, so it is vital to know the demand for the specified product. When the product is in EOL, the manufacturer issues its respective LTB (last time buy) notice for those components, the company's option is to determine exactly how many parts they will need to place a proper purchase order before this product is no longer available.
Today, new technologies have emerged trying to eradicate these problems, as the application of machine learning algorithms to EOL, which seeks to better understand the life cycles of products, with the focus of notifying their buyers in time, improving communication between the manufacturer and the customers.
Despite all this, and the different alternatives available to mitigate the impact of products on EOL, we can always count with the alternative of the redesign, where we look a replace these products that have been discontinued, taking into account that the redesign should have a life cycle as far as possible. Therefore, every process should have an EOL plan, where:
1. Healthy life cycles are evaluated
2. Not recommended for use in new designs
This information is crucial to being able to accurately plan the production schedules of your boards. If you encounter a component that is not recommended for new designs or that is EOL, it could cause a number of unforeseen consequences. This is why it is recommended planning ahead for EOL with a CM with a staff of qualified component engineers who will identify these issues for you and ensure they don’t delay the production of your board.
So, part obsolescence cannot be avoided, but it can be managed, minimized and mitigated, Today’s rapidly changing supply chain will continue to throw up obsolescence challenges for electronics manufacturing, that is inevitable, but it going to be helpful with partnering with robust suppliers you can minimize risk and have a better cost-effective solution.
OnlineComponents.com keeps abreast of components going end of life and notifies their clients who have bought the part previously. They also can order up to a 5 year supply of the EoL component and you can buy as needed.