Although Electronica is largely dedicated to new technology, obsolescence is a growing problem in the supply chain. So this year, Electronica is spending some time on lifecycle management.
The Components Obsolescence Group (COG) started in the UK in 1997 when equipment manufacturers recognized that there was a growing problem with component obsolescence, specifically with semiconductors. COG created a forum where equipment manufacturers, users, and solution providers could share information on obsolescence solutions. By 2000, COG UK had grown to more than 150 company members, holding quarterly members' meetings and a bi-annual international conference. The organization includes a wide range of companies, including members from outside the UK, one of which is founding member Rochester Electronics.
As the ranks of membership grew with companies outside the UK, the COG international board was created with a view to forming COG organizations in other countries. This led to the formation of COG Deutschland. Today, membership in the German COG group exceeds 90 companies that include a large number of semiconductor manufacturers. Rochester Electronics is one of these members and is the only semiconductor manufacturer participant from the United States.
The German COG includes a balance of industry companies that are looking for obsolescence solutions and technology companies that have developed the solutions. Industry companies come from traditional German areas like railway, aviation, and other broadly diverse areas.
On Wednesday, November 14, COG Germany organized the Component Obsolescence Group awareness day. The effort was supported by several trade publication articles leading up to Electronica. Rochester and more than a dozen other companies exhibiting at the show participated as information providers.
As members of COG Germany, companies welcomed visitors seeking information about obsolescence solutions. We had a nice talk with Ulrich Ermel, the Chairman of COG Deutschland. He told us that "These visitors can be assured that they will learn about how they can confront their individual obsolescence issue and not be given the hard sell by our participating members." Ermel continued by saying that: "COG is community and members are encouraged to participate in the community. Sharing knowledge and helping each other. The balance of type of company is important to COG. There needs to be an equal number of those seeking a solution and those that can provide the solutions."
COG is guided by the quality of its membership. Obsolescence is an issue for many companies, but, equally, there are many that can provide relief from these issues. Electronica 2012 COG Obsolescence Day is one way to put the two together.