It’s not just your imagination. Today’s products that are manufactured are not lasting as long as they used to. This is especially true when it comes to electronic parts. Electronic components are becoming obsolete at a faster rate than ever before. There are a couple reasons why:
- Because of how quickly technology changes and updates, consumer electronics aren’t built to last. They are purposely being created with a shorter lifespan to keep the cost down for consumers and because the assumption is that the consumer will be in the market for bigger and better the minute they own the current technology. So there is no practical need for semiconductors for consumer technology to last longer than a couple years.
For example, that cellphone you are holding? The cellphone companies know there’s a high chance you will jump on the next upgrade that comes out. So there is no reason for a manufacturing company to make a semiconductor for a cellphone that will last 5 or 10 years. The product won’t be around that long.
- Aerospace, military, and medical equipment is built to last, but even long lasting semiconductors cannot keep up to the longevity of the long lasting equipment. And then comes the domino effect. Once one piece of a design is obsolete, the others may become obsolete with it.
- Government policies sometimes cause an electronic component to become obsolete. This happened when the EU banned parts that were not lead-free. This caused obsolescence problems globally, not just in the countries with the ban.
What can you, the OEM, do about obsolete electronic components?
- To prevent a part from becoming obsolete, take initiative to keep your suppliers in the loop with your manufacturing plans. Let them know that you are still planning on a part for the future. That may affect the manufacturer’s decision about whether or not to keep making a particular semiconductor.
- If the part you need is already obsolete, you may need to find a different supplier. Consider USBid, Inc. We are skilled at tracking down obsolete parts. And with our AAA Test Lab, you can be sure that the electronic component will be the genuine part.
- If you have just been notified that a part is going to be obsolete in the near future, consider doing a lifetime buy. Once the manufacturer sends out an end of life notice, try to estimate how many of that part will be needed for the lifetime of the product. This, of course, can be very difficult to estimate. And you may not find out about the EOL in time. But stockpiling can be a great idea in the right circumstances.
- Find a replacement/alternative part to work in its stead. Depending on the complexity of the product, this may not always be possible.
- To protect your design from obsolete parts, include redesigns with your initial idea. Redesigns also help in marketing your product to a new audience.
Take action to mitigate the risks that obsolete parts can become to your product and the overall company. If you are being affected by obsolete electronic parts or semi-conductors, contact our team at USBid, Inc.
September 28, 2017
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