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Embedded Technology

Pioneer in Obsolescence Management and Legacy Sustainment for embedded technology

  • Counterfeit Components Hurt More Than Military Applications

    Counterfeit Components Hurt More Than Military Applications

    When reading the news around counterfeit components, much of the dialogue is driven by the defense industry. When you are dealing with systems that protect our national security and the lives of the people out in the field – you’re not dealing with counterfeits in a bunch of trivial electronics. You’re taking necessary steps to protect the lives of men and women who depend on the systems for their safety. Since 2011 more than 1800 cases of counterfeit components were reported in defense applications, including mission computers operating the THAAD missile system, in the Air Force’s C-27J, in the Navy’s P-8A, and in electromagnetic interference filters on an SH-60B helicopter.

    However, the trouble with counterfeits isn’t limited to the defense industry and the military. They’re just currently the ones driving the conversation and legislation such as the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Sec. 818.

  • A Tale of Two SHIELDS: Marvel Comics, DARPA, and Counterfeiting

    A Tale of Two SHIELDS: Marvel Comics, DARPA, and Counterfeiting

    Marvel Comic’s SHIELD (Strategic help Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and, slick as it is, it is more likely to wind up counterfeited than prevent counterfeiting

    It is a program devised by a secretive government agency. Its purpose is to organize and motivate the top actors in their fields to come together to prevent crimes that threaten not only the economy but our national security. It focuses its attention on producing cutting-edge technologies. It is SHIELD, and it is becoming a reality.

    No . . . no . . . not that SHIELD. That’s Marvel Comic’s SHIELD (Strategic help Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and, slick as it is, it is more likely to wind up counterfeited than prevent counterfeiting. We’re talking about the Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense program being initiated by DARPA, and rather than placing a series of gigantic floating gun platforms in the upper atmosphere, it’s looking to place tiny 100 micron by 100 micron authentication dielets on all the electronic components used in Department of Defense programs.

  • Arrow ACT Masters: An Environment of Innovation

    Arrow ACT Masters: An Environment of Innovation

    GDCA enjoyed the privilege of being a part of this year’s Arrow Electronics ACT Masters 2013 in Denver CO.  Arrow’s technical sales force was trained in a centralized fashion while suppliers got a first glimpse of Arrow’s strategy and technical roadmap.  This year’s theme celebrated the spirit of innovation by acknowledging the expertise of Arrow’s […]

  • COTS: A “reactive” good idea (continued)

    COTS: A “reactive” good idea (continued)

    To answer the question, we need to look at the issues of innovation from a different angle; namely economics and markets. Free markets are a wonderful concept as long as the motivation and incentives are aligned in the right way for all the players in order to achieve the set objective. So let us look […]

  • COTS: A “reactive” good idea

    COTS: A “reactive” good idea

    Following a directive from the US military in the early 1990s, the defense industry made a shift from using custom embedded electronic components made to military specifications to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components.  Since the overall share of the DoD as a consumer was expected to shrink over time, this move to reduce costs took a practical […]

  • Refurbished Boards: What works today may not be reliable tomorrow

    Refurbished Boards: What works today may not be reliable tomorrow

    Saying that something is “good enough for government work” is often meant as a joke and the reference implies “mediocre work.” The irony is that “government work” is often highly sophisticated; systems are designed and engineered to operate in the most extreme environmental conditions for a very long period of time.

    I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with a talented component engineer who has spent much of his career working in the defense industry.  During the course of our discussion I learned that some aviation systems need ICs to operate in temperature extremes ranging from -55°C to 125°C; ground units often travel in harsh environmental conditions (e.g. fighting extreme heat and sand storms in deserts) while being exposed to hostile attacks; satellites traveling through orbit are exposed to protons and heavy ions from solar flares, yet must operate reliably in space.

  • ERAI Executive Conference: Gaining Momentum in the Fight against Counterfeits

    ERAI Executive Conference: Gaining Momentum in the Fight against Counterfeits

    Managing components at-risk of going EOL requires proactive planning, otherwise critical systems become increasingly at-risk for encountering counterfeits

    Managing components at-risk of going EOL requires proactive planning, otherwise critical systems become increasingly at-risk for encountering counterfeits.
    Photo by Sebastian Dooris

    Managing components at risk of going EOL requires proactive planning. If this vital step is not implemented, critical systems run into increased risk of exposure to counterfeits. Two topics that program managers never want to hear about are counterfeit components, and end-of-life (EOL).  While it is possible to come across counterfeit components on active products, this risk can generally be mitigated by implementing smart buying practices, such as purchasing from a franchised distribution line or directly from the original component manufacturer (OCM).  Unfortunately, as components go EOL, yet are still needed in critical systems, they become difficult to find and increasingly more expensive. These facts combined with often careless buying practices, leave the embedded supply chain exposed to counterfeit components. These risks only increase as systems age.

  • DMSMS 2012 – Sustaining an Integrated Supply Chain

    DMSMS 2012 – Sustaining an Integrated Supply Chain

    After our evacuation from New Orleans, we wrote about the part that collaboration played in our experiences. While we focused on how the collaboration mostly focused on safely addressing an incoming hurricane; generally when we talk about collaboration here at GDCA, we’re talking about collaboration in the sense of an integrated supply chain poised to protect the embedded industry from unplanned obsolescence.

    That is why we’re taking a moment to celebrate and announce that DMSMS 2012 is back in the saddle for November 26-29, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.

    We know that in the face of obsolescence no one can afford to be isolated in the supply chain.  That is why we are pleased to announce that in partnership with Curtiss-Write, IHS, and Rochester Electronics we will be presenting on the realities of cross-industry sustainment: Building an Integrated Supply Chain to Support Warfighter Systems.

  • The Human Factor: When losing older workers leads to obsolescence

    The Human Factor: When losing older workers leads to obsolescence

    Ask anyone who drives an older car.  As the system ages, it develops its own quirks.  You have to jiggle the shifter in park to get the keys out of the ignition.  You have to pump the gas twice before it starts up on a cold day.  The AC has to be turned off when going up a steep hill on days over 96 degrees.  A particular brand of brakes work better when driving in California, as opposed to Montana.  You know that you can get away with just 2/3rds of the thread on the bolts, but only for 6 weeks.

    In short, you know that system inside and out: all the bugs, the features, and quirks that impact operation and repair.

    Unless your mechanic is into vintage cars, though, he’s not going to relish working on an older vehicle.    A younger mechanic may tell you the car is “old” and you’re better off just getting a new one – just when the old one was about to become a “classic.”

    Not everyone, however, wants to — or can afford to — just buy a new car. The same goes for trying to sustain a legacy mission-critical system.

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