Obsolete Electronic Components in 2013
In the Electronic Industry, part obsolescence turnaround is so high that 377,502 electronic parts went obsolete in 2013 alone. Parts go obsolete for various reasons, including: low demand, materials and/or technology used to make them are no longer available, or better material/technology becomes available.
Problems emerge when there is an overlap between the constant lifecycle changes of a part and the projected lifecycle of the end product because predicting part availability throughout the entire end product’s lifecycle is a crucial task, having a tool that provides lifecycle awareness helps avoid emergency situations such as a product missing a critical component or a costly product re-design.
Since a little over a thousand electronic parts go obsolete daily, it is vital to have some sort of obsolescence management strategy in place to detect, mitigate, and most importantly avoid any emergency situations.
Managing a bill of materials (parts list) is a daunting task. Today, many OEMs manually search for the most current datasheet, product change notices, or set alerts from each manufacturer website to determine lifecycle status and future changes of a particular part.
Manually searching individual manufacturer websites for thousands of parts in a single BOM requires a large quantity of manpower, patience, and tedious data combing to get accurate information. In addition, horizontal searching can be effective, but it does not acquire all the data necessary to forecast end of life of the part.
Many times engineers depend on PCNs from manufacturers’ websites to determine lifecycle statu, when in fact many manufacturers will obsolete parts without a PCN association-SiliconExpert’s database shows that within the last two years 42% of obsoleted parts had no PCNs associated to it. Not only does SiliconExpert factor in PCN changes, but the tool also monitor historical datasheets which is backed by over 350 engineers dedicated to providing the most up to date and accurate information.
In the event of obsolescence, part demand drastically increases and market availability becomes limited; meanwhile, companies scramble to either find a replacement part or make a last time buy.
These options all have their own drawbacks associated to them. Making a last time buy and holding a surplus of parts raises inventory and warehousing costs. Alternatively, those unable to make a last time buy may resort to unauthorized distributors to find inventory.
Some engineers will horizontally search for a substitution for their obsolete part by manually searching on other suppliers’ and distributors’ websites for replacement parts fitting the form, fit, and function of the original obsoleted part. Engineers tasked with finding crosses rely on their own domain expertise, guidance from their distributors or contract manufacturers, websites of competitors of the original component manufacturer or, increasingly, independent component databases that compare parametric data across the product type. In some instances, manufacturers may recommend another replacement part to replace the obsolete one with the same form, fit, and functions with minor upgrades.
SiliconExpert’s Part SearchTM tool automatically search for parametric similarities between parts to find form-fit-function equivalents and dynamically compare deep parametric, dimensional, and electrical characteristics. Having a tool that finds and grades crosses between manufacturers saves engineers countless man hours and costs associated with researching and sourcing alternative components.
The prediction of part obsolescence enables engineers to enhance management of product lifecycle. Managing part data in-house relies on horizontally gathered data, but this data is prone to human error and incomplete due to only partial manufacturer disclosure on their website.
OEMs historically rely on component manufacturers to predict the obsolescence of their respective products. Unfortunately, component manufacturers are not always accurate in their obsolescence predictions and their forecasts are subject to what is posted on their website.
Another strategy is to hold the necessary inventory in a warehouse however; this is a costly that incurs high holding and overhead warehousing costs.
Electronic Component Databases gives you actionable intelligence.
It is impossible to keep track of every electronic part in the market. Even if an engineering department could maintain a comprehensive list of every part in the world, it would require endless dedication and man hours to keep up-to-date.
On the other hand, a third-party electronic component database- like SiliconExpert- can do the legwork from their side, saving companies countless time and effort. SiliconExpert’s Part Search will sift through the data and provide engineers with: intelligent analysis to develop better obsolescence mitigation strategies.
Subscribing to a third-party part management tool like SilliconExpert can help free engineers to focus on what really matters: the reliability and longevity of end products.
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