Considering quality, capability and flexibility

Pektron’s head of European sales, Scott Quirie, highlights key considerations when sourcing electronic components or services for harsh environments

When sourcing components for harsh environments it is essential that the end product’s performance characteristics are clear from the outset. Likewise, time should be devoted to finding a supplier who can deliver overall value for money as this pays long-term dividends.  

Quality is critical. Find a supplier with outstanding credentials, quality standards and a proven track-record. Whether electronics face -40°C in a Siberian wasteland, the relentless 57°C heat and dust of the Saharan desert or the vibrations of agricultural machines, component failures are not acceptable.  

Check the strength of the supplier’s supply chain relationships. On-going global semi-conductor shortages will have stress-tested these, so ask how they performed and discover what relationships they have with major global component suppliers and distributors—useful when times are tough.   

Capability is key. Is a supplier required who can design, develop, manufacture and test products in-house?  A supplier with these skills can bring significant advantages in delivering on-time and within budget. Alternatively, is a design-for-manufacturing partner required to bring a product to life?  Check references, as finding the right partner offers lasting benefits. 

Flexibility is another consideration. Can the supplier modify a product’s base version to create new versions quickly and cost-effectively? This is important to maximise initial development investment and helps with handling challenges like component shortages and obsolescence.