Whether you are involved in mechanical engineering or firmware development, a testing “laboratory” is an important part of project management. Depending on the system design, you will need to consider such things as humidity, vibration, and electromagnetic and temperature effects. We at Enventure Technologies are experts in design testing, using specialized tools like CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and thermal analysis software.
A comprehensive engineering BOM (bill of materials) is at the heart of system development. Naturally, this will undergo many changes as testing continues. If your company employs cost reduction analysts, they must be aware of the importance of obsolescence to BOM management. It’s very short-sighted to build a BOM based on good thermal analysis results and low component costs alone.
Any testing software you use should probe for the best components to match your needs. However, this is no use unless your enterprise data management system is up-to-date on areas like component availability and reliable second sources. This is the crux of obsolescence management – ensuring components are available throughout the entire product lifecycle, and are easy to track down. Rare, hard-to-find electronic components are fine for one-off hardware designs in scientific research, but they rarely work in the commercial field.
If you work in an area where long lifecycles are the norm – for example the aerospace industry – then it’s possible to find distributors specializing in obsolete components. However, it’s critical the components can be trusted, and haven’t simply been recycled from defunct equipment. Repackaged, these are hard to tell from new components, but may fail in use due to faults like “tin whisker” development. Importantly, obsolete semiconductors may not pass RoHS/WEEE regulations.