Every day the electronics industry advises of numerous Product Change Notifications (PCN) and End of Line (EOL) announcements. This can be very problematic for designers, manufacturers and purchasers alike. Individual electronic assemblies require parts sourced from a variety of suppliers and components are often at different stages of their life cycle when designed into parts lists. Market segments such as Medical and Defence are more prone to being effected by obsolescence than most consumer electronics areas.
Electronics technology is always rapidly advancing and developing. Product lines are frequently undergoing rationalisation as new developments and technologies emerge, chips are becoming more advanced and processors faster and the likelihood is that obsolescence issues become unavoidable for manufacturers in today’s market. Medical and Defence designs often fall behind technology movements simply due to the high costs and long timescales involved in product remodels.
Manufacturers and designers can find themselves forced into redesigning entire boards due to a single component reaching End of Life. Even if stocks of the obsolete component can be sourced, this often results in high cost implications to the Bill of Materials (BOM). A complication, which could be more alarming, can come from counterfeit components. Non genuine parts can sometimes more commonly be found in component lines which have been flagged for their End of Life status, making the process of sourcing reliable stock more problematic.
4e often finds that legacy products found in such markets as Medical and Defence can more frequently come up against regular obsolescence issues. Products in such highly regulatory markets cannot simply replace or redesign due to the sheer nature of the market sector and the rigorous approvals required.
4e’s procurement team have an extensive collection of franchised suppliers, and trusted independent suppliers included on our Preferred Suppliers List, whom we have been working closely with for many years. Where required, 4e utilises 3rd party testing and verification of components to ensure non-genuine parts do not enter our supply chain. Full traceability throughout our supply chain is enforced supporting our ISO 13485 quality standards for manufacturing. 4e can help navigate obsolescence issue for your product by:
• Purchasing additional inventory (Life Time Buy, Last Time Buy)
• Locating and advising on suitable alternative components
• Prototyping and validating alternatives
Our case study on a Legacy Navel Defence product is a key example of this service.
Contact 4e to see how we can help manage any obsolescence issues faced by your design and keep your product in the market.