Obsolescence can be managed in the most effective way when the consideration is made right at the beginning stages of any product development, i.e., the designing phase. In spite of this, solutions always exist at every single level that can help in saving a project, application, or any program from being redesigned forcefully through any obsolete components. Some of the key factors definitely include lacking of visibility in greater complicated tech-development, costly and lengthy redesign cycles, as well as fragmented communication channels.
It must be kept in mind that obsolescence is definitely one of the major considerations in case of overall systems design and associated components. It is also important to be aware of the fact that components as well the associated materials are very critical in case of product designing & development for aerospace & defense industries where aircraft, guidance, communications, & radar systems do require prolonged upgradability and reliability.
There are basically two types of Obsolescence Management techniques. These are categorized as:
- Production Engineering Based Techniques
- Design Based Techniques
The Production Engineering Based Techniques basically attempts to control any type of existing scenarios.
The Design Based Techniques attempts to minimize all those problems that appear at the initial stages. Although there are not much of easy solutions available, but the above mentioned techniques can help in minimizing the problems faced during the long life-cycle programs.
It is very important to mitigate and anticipate the following factors:
- Lack of visibility in increasingly complex technology development
- Lengthy and costly redesign cycles
- Fragmented communication channels
The importance of Visibility
Always keep in mind that defense manufacturers are extremely tiny fishes in the vast ocean of semiconductor world. Remember, the defense market is no more than 0.5% of the semiconductor industry & gains very little attention or influence over semiconductor suppliers. The defense budget increases mere by 1 – 2 percent annually. It will never be significant enough to change the visibility level when compared to the commercial industry. Yes, it is definitely true that the COTS initiative was introduced to save some quality financial investment, but it actually adds to the overall expenses of a program because of natural procurement focus on unit price. There are a whole lot of solutions available that ultimately end up tied to the commodity-driven parts with frequent changing of the design cycles that drive the fast obsolescence cycles. The situations worsen when IC suppliers rarely provide change notifications to defense contractors or their suppliers. As a result, unforeseen obsolescence management challenges are introduced while a problem starts rippling through military programs.
There are several types of military programs like weapons systems that can be highly affected than any other program types due to lack in visibility. Obsolescence can cause very serious negative impact on weapons systems’ life-cycle costs and supportability. It can result in costing millions of dollar to redesign, replace or even re-equalify a product; after all, some $30 parts just got obsolete!
Minimizing the redesign cycles
Obsolescence to microelectronics is often considered to be the result of basic economics; when there are no demand left for certain products, the manufacturers then stop producing those. The inclusion of design-based techniques can easily help in alleviating the http://www.throughlifesupport.co.uk management challenges. Basically it’s a matter of changing the overall perspective for saving the design. Through replacement of old technologies with new ones, there happens to be some quality freeing up of board space that at times, helps in utilizing the programmable devices in achieving greater life expectancy to products. Although the outlook may be slightly different, the overall functional block will remain the same. The components can be changed or consolidated into entirely new functional block without even changing the overall function, fit, and form, while essentially keeping the design.