Planning for and minimizing EOL costs

Rochester Electronics’ technical sales manager EMEA, Ken Greenwood, steps readers through the process of planning for component end-of-life

The electronic component product lifecycle—or time between market introduction and end-of-life (EOL)—is getting shorter. For manufactured products with lifecycles extending far beyond the active availability of devices, long-term component availability is vital. Manufacturers need to ensure a reliable source is in place, even after components become obsolete. This means planning and managing obsolescence strategically. 

If your equipment has a long qualification, production or in-service life you will face component obsolescence. Best-in-class organizations devote skilled multi-disciplined resources to the task of obsolescence management. Preventative planning by purchasing, component engineering, design and program management can reduce or eliminate the cost and risk.

Regular component monitoring lets a user anticipate problems before they occur. There are excellent component monitoring databases available from Z2Data, IHS and Silicon Expert, which track a component’s life cycle, lead-time and specification changes during its life. Such tools provide a lifecycle prediction and alerts when changes occur. 

Component management databases can provide a PDN notification service. Users are shown all PDN data or can load BoM structures into the database to receive matched PDNs

specifically affecting them. 

Forecasting is not an exact science and unfortunately most forecasts will be wrong. Underestimate needs and you risk prematurely discontinuing a product and losing sales. Overestimate your needs and you will tie-up unnecessary capital in stock, while paying excessive storage costs. Should you plan a redesign in the future to limit your LTB? The design and requalification costs, plus the opportunity costs of using precious engineering resources looking backwards rather than forwards, need to be considered.

There is a common misconception that once the original manufacturer stops producing a component, unauthorized or grey market sources are the only recourse. This is not true. The risk-free option of an authorized after-market supplier, such as Rochester Electronics, should always be the first choice. 

Rochester Electronics is 100 per cent authorized by over 70 leading semiconductor manufacturers. Our factory direct offering negates the need for expensive testing and we are AS6496 compliant. 

As a licensed semiconductor manufacturer, we offer on-going build-to-order (BTO) devices using information and technology transferred directly to us from the OCM. All resulting product is 100 per cent certified, authorized, licensed and guaranteed. Rochester manufactured product is sold with the OCM’s full approval under the original manufacturer’s part number.