Have you ever requested additional post-EOL LTBs from your board OEM, only to find you need more boards later on?
Board OEMs care about their customers. If these OEMs could continue to provide the quality products their customers have come to depend on, most would. For the majority of customers, upgrades are a welcome and viable option; however for some, upgrades are not possible.
Board OEMs do what they can. Most offer some kind of lifecycle assurance plan that can extend support for 5-10 years after EOL of the board. Unfortunately, funding and forecasting for unusually long and sometimes indefinite program lifecycles leave these plans out of reach for many customers.
In an effort to support their customers, we have witnessed OEMs perform as many as 4 last-time-builds. Sometimes by the time the board OEM can no longer build the board, it can be more than 10 years beyond the original EOL date.
But the reality is that supporting legacy systems and manufacturing legacy boards requires a completely different approach- an approach which most board OEMs are just not positioned to do profitably.
Alternatives to additional post-EOL LTBs exist for many legacy systems, and these can significantly lower costs and increase availability. However, each additional post-EOL LTB request eats up time, while the opportunity window for more cost-effective solutions closes for programs and applications with especially long lifecycles.
Understanding these options before they go away is critical to ensuring you have your embedded boards when you need them, whenever that is.