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Manufacturing

Pioneer in Obsolescence Management and Legacy Sustainment for embedded technology

  • Legacy and NI Week 2012

    Legacy and NI Week 2012

    When people think of “legacy”, they often think of what is being passed along or left to the future.  We believe a business’ legacy is the lasting mark they make on the industry, impacting future generations of innovators. That is why I look forward to the keynote addresses at NI Week.  Each day demonstrates the […]

  • Obsolescence and why you can’t always just make more.

    Obsolescence and why you can’t always just make more.

    When I first began my work with GDCA one of the questions I had was “Why is dealing with obsolete components not just about making more parts?”

    As I have come to learn, unfortunately, obsolescence management is not just as simple as “making more parts.”

    Imagine you manufacture various components.  In the 1960s, the computers you were making parts for were relatively simple, without many customers who could even afford computers; quantities were low, the manufacturing was relatively easy, and products generally lasted longer.

    Let’s jump forward to today. Over time, and as technology has evolved (Moore’s Law), your fabrication company’s production has also evolved. Now with each product line, you are cranking out hundreds of thousands of parts each day. Customers who need 50 parts are not happy to hear of a 5000 part minimum order quantity (MOQ).  And besides, to some the manufacturers even a 5000 MOQ on an older part can be a distraction.

  • No one wants to be left with EOL overstock

    No one wants to be left with EOL overstock

    On one of the blogs I read, someone commented: “If you’re concerned about counterfeits in obsolete components… don’t worry about to-be-discontinued components — just design them in, and buy what you need to support the product anyway.  Then you won’t have to worry about counterfeits.” On the surface and if you are only worried about […]

  • Does Innovation = Forced Obsolescence?

    Does Innovation = Forced Obsolescence?

    Is there a downside to new technology innovation? We all love and encourage innovation, but what is the hidden cost?

    Critical embedded applications in the Defense and Medical industry are a great example of where this question comes into play. Both these applications have people’s lives relying on them, and both require extended life cycles due to critical verification and certification requirements.

    If an OEM experiences sharp drop in demand for a particular embedded board, it doesn’t make any business sense to continue building more, and the board will likely become obsolete. Everyone understands that an OEM can’t remain competitive if they have to support every product they’ve ever developed… forever. But if that board is still being used in the defense or medical industry, suddenly the systems engineer is faced with diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) and higher risk of exposure to counterfeits if obsolete components must now be sourced.

  • What does Brooks Stevens have to do with “Planned Obsolescence”?

    Creative Commons License by cpence. Some rights reserved. Licensing applicable to image only.

    The original Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, in the Henry Ford Museum

    You may not know about Brooks Stevens, and today is his birthday.

    Clifford Brooks Stevens, born June 7, 1911, was an American industrial designer of home furnishings, appliances, automobiles and motorcycles— as well as a graphic designer and stylist. At the time of his death, he was considered “a major force in industrial design.”

    If Google was to do a custom sketch for his birthday, it would probably be the widely recognized Oscar Mayer “Wienermobile” or the Harley-Davidson motorcycles body he designed in the 60s (production of new bikes are still based on Stevens’ body designs).

    But how many will reference a topic sure to light a fuse in any frugal consumer? Planned Obsolescence.

  • Who says obsolete equipment is junk?

    Sometimes we can get a little carried away with our work here at GDCA.  From embedded boards to trains, we love talking about all things legacy and EOL; and we know that no matter which industry we pick, there is a lot riding on keeping “obsolete” boards and systems running smoothly. Through the past 25 […]

  • Does the prospect of overstocking kill your critical embedded systems?

    With last-time-buy solutions, customers find themselves faced with either over-stocking so-called “obsolete” components, and phasing out older systems.

    2011 wasn’t an easy year for DRAM manufacturers. The move from notebooks towards tablets and technology using NAND flash did nothing to bolster a struggling semiconductor industry. In this type of scenario it becomes common for manufacturers to shift their focus from older technology to newer ones.  This process often leads to End-of-Life (EOL) decisions and component manufacturers sending out Last-Time-Buy (LTB) notices.

    In addition to the immediate challenge of feasibly supporting products with obsolete components, embedded OEMs must focus on latest-and-greatest solutions, developing new solutions to satisfy their customers’ evolving demands.  As the embedded industry shifts from older technology like DRAM to newer and more popular applications like NAND, customers can find themselves faced with a choice between over-stocking of so-called “obsolete” components, and phasing out older and less popular systems.

    So where does this leave older products that don’t have a lot of sales, but are still used by valued customers?

  • Medical Design & Manufacturing West: The conference that was bigger than I even imagined

    Diagnostic equipment needs to pass a raft of certifications to operate in modern hospitals.  If an old board goes end-of-life, without a legacy solution, re-certification can be both time-consuming and cost prohibitive.

    As any business owner knows, you are always going to find new conferences, events, or trade shows you didn’t know about, and are really glad you discovered.

    Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2012 (affectionately known as MD&M West, or #MDMwest in twitter parlance) took place this past week in Southern California’s Anaheim Convention Center. The conference brought together an extensive variety of speakers, exhibitors, and manufacturers of medical diagnostic equipment, and medical devices.  Subjects being discussed included everything from the latest in technology, to how to extend the life-cycle of life-saving equipment, without having to re-certify every single piece of the puzzle.

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