The Three Most Important Attributes Of Component Research
There are a lot of factors to consider when placing the correct part in your design. Having a component that is capable of meeting functional requirements is a chief concern, but there are several elements that can subvert an otherwise functional design. One such attribute that we’ve all become accustomed to over the past couple of years is availability. The best designs are those which are flexible enough to replace parts with alternatives in the event of a shortage.
Supply chain disruptions that started with limited human resources due to a global pandemic have been exacerbated by changes in demand. People moved from needing more automobiles to needing more in-home exercise equipment. Manufacturing has changed to meet changing demand and the flaws of just-in-time manufacturing have been illuminated.
Ever-changing environmental regulations present a moving target that forces us to revisit components that were once seen as compliant. Different parts of the world have different rules with varying consequences. The REACH SVHC list has grown from 15 in 2008 to 211 in 2021.
Researching the components to include in your design has never been so complex. We may have more research resources to inspect, but we’ve never needed them more. When researching component information there are three considerations that should be prioritized over others.
This may sound obvious, but accuracy is important. It’s not so much that the information you find is wrong as it may be outdated. Just like you should check the date on a gallon of milk before drinking a glass, you should check the date on component information before adding it to your design. The source of the information is important as the date. You may have a datasheet that originated from the manufacturer, but where did you get it? If it sourced from a third party, how confident are you that they are updating it when necessary?
Crosses / Alternatives
If your part is not available or it is no longer compliant, you’ll need a backup plan. Finding pin to pin replacements with the exact electrical features is preferred, but you may need to make tolerable concessions for some parametric attributes. Another attribute to consider is geography. Sourcing all your components from a single manufacturer or region of the world introduces risk that can be avoided by taking those attributes into account during the design phase.
The third thing to consider is how quickly you can get accurate information about multiple parts that meet your needs. The amount of time spent researching components increases along with the number of parts on your list. Nobody wants to spend more time researching parts than designing products. Having one source to manage your part list(s) that you trust to be accurate greatly reduces the amount of time spent on component research. If that source is also able to provide cross-references, you have the three most important attributes of component research covered.
Cover your Bases
SiliconExpert P5 offers a robust platform for handling all your component research needs in one place. Through our Part Search & BOM Manager tools, users can search through over a billion electronic and mechanical parts for alternatives, check for compliance updates, and run risk assessments.
Click the link below to learn more about our Universal Part Search.
By Dwight Morse, March 15, 2022
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