Programmable oscillators save the day

In this article, Dove’s management team explains how programmable oscillators can save the day when dealing with material shortages and extended lead times.

Crystal and oscillator specialist, Dove Electronic Components, offers an extensive range of frequency control products and services. The company’s in-house programming center features four mass production machines with full laser marking and tape and reel capability. 

Most programmable orders start as a customer request for a fixed frequency oscillator. Requests range from a prototype to support of an existing design.  Programmable oscillators have saved the day when dealing with material shortages and extended lead times. Customers faced with line down situations or delivery dates inside current lead times have found programmable oscillators a perfect fit. 

For example, customers looking for a specific oscillator have often exhausted all other stock avenues. Faced with having to wait months, a quick-turn, programmable oscillator offers a potential solution. Assuming the specifications fall within the available footprint, stability, temp range, jitter spec, etc, Dove’s team will offer a programmable oscillator from one of several manufacturers Dove is authorized to perform in-house programming for. 

We’ll send the buyer a formal quote and soft copy of the datasheet to share with their component engineer. Once the customer approves the specification, we can send samples to test (if requested), usually within one to two-days, so the customer can confirm the programmable solution works before committing to a production order. However, the datasheet is often all they need before placing an order. 

Production starts with allocating the blank (unprogrammed) oscillators to the customer’s order. This is electronically transmitted to the in-house Programming Center and automatically scheduled against the customer’s dock date(s). 

Many customers are incorporating programmable options into their products, designs and supply due to their reliability and availability. Dove has revived orders that were facing a >30-week lead time and is ready to help more customers explore this solution.

Dove operates a cohesive process between the sales team and programming department. Strong communication between departments lets the programming manager provide immediate explanations to the salesperson handling a standard or special order.

As inquiries for programmable oscillators come in, the sales team coordinates availability and scheduling with the programming department: first ensuring the specifications can be met, then confirming a firm ship date. Once an order is in place and on the department schedule, Dove’s programming manager prepares the materials and device kit. 

The job is setup on a programmable oscillator automation handler, accounting for package size, laser marking and packing requirements. Setup includes hardware removal and installation, hardware alignment, software setup and packaging preparation.

Using a combination of supplier provided software and proprietary equipment, specifications are entered and the devices are ready for programming. All program results are saved for reference, with precise and accurate device output frequencies logged.

Devices are laser marked per supplier standards, with some customers requesting custom marking which Dove provides at no additional cost. The laser marking system is constantly monitored for accuracy and etching consistency.

A strict traceability program is followed, tracking lot numbers and date codes through the programming process, ensuring programmable oscillator shipments are traceable to the manufacturing date and facility.

The order is then prepared for shipping. Before parts are shipped the order is processed through a series of quality check points with trained warehouse personnel cross checking customer requirements, date codes and lots against prepared paperwork/labels to ensure the order is shipped complete and precise.