Rochester Electroincs is one of the most admirable supplier. I have used them in late 80s for Taylor Isntruments, Rochester and in 90s for ABB Instruments. In recent past, we also procurred few hi-rel parts for Canadian space program too. Mitigating risk for Defence and space program is art and lots of effort. I wish Rochester work more in this area of need.
I'll stand by what I said. Every product line and every vendor has a different timeline for when they go EOL/LTB. No one number apllies across all product lines at a semiconductor supllier. That was my point. Saying that COTS is good for risk mitigation didn't make sense at the component level.
Sounds like you solved a difficult problem when it was foisted upon you regarding Virtex II Pro. Functionality for the Virtex II Pro in an ASIC is something people can do. Precise IO edge-rate matching (not just delay) and power matching is something else entirely and the number of people who can do that (or do that routinely) is much more limited. We do that and more at Rochester when we recreate a part. More people need to view all the parameters when it comes to "pin replaceable" claims.
I like to differ you from your opinion. I have dealt with Xilinx, TI and many more vendors. It takes time get reply from them, however, they do confirm in writing from VP Marketing the life of device to supported (They also highlight their past and current history to backup their claims) I got those email for both VirtexII PRo VP40 and its configuration PROM. TI is the most reupted organization and they do supply part for much longer then 15 years. This is also true for many other vendors.
It is lots of research work for this type of work. It is not work for sales person. They do not know most of thing. Do you know you can get pin replaceble ASIC for Xilinx VII Pro? Take this exrcise and find out from where? This is type of work good design engineers do. In my project, we were able optimize design with only two parts without dual vendor. This is the requirement from US DoD and we did it.
"risk can be mitigated with employing COTS parts.""...long life cycle."
Really? Where's the proof in that?
The answer from any supplier regarding life cycle could be any number they wanted and who could blame them? In reality it is how long the market pays to their justification threshold with each supplier and each product line being different. No number is generically applicable to an entire supplier and all their product lines. That is a very poor assumption to be made.
Going forward, fewer and fewer products will have generic part definitions and be F3I replacement-capable. Take a look at new semiconductor active product (as opposed to passives) and see how few parts will be QPL with just dual vendors. It's not a good long-term strategy.
When you are asking your semiconductor supplier their life cycle plans while promising them low-volume opportunities, aren't you talking to a sales person with a vested interest in selling the latest and at the very least keeping an existing socket? Who you are talking to at the semiconductor supplier and who is doing the talking makes every bit of difference in the outcome. A solid relationship with an authorized long-term supplier provides the best risk mitigation for mil-aero parts.
There is associated risk in selecting mil-aero parts. This risk can mitigated with employing COTS parts. They are lower in cost, multiple vendor parts and has long life cycle. Next choice should be QPL parts with dual vendor or generic part definition. For more dedicate parts like FPGA etc., one can also ask supplier for product life cycle time. e.g. Xilinx has that for 15 years and TI much longer. If one is empying ASIC or hybrids, they must try to secure IP for it for future product or revrse engineering. This is also true for FPGA IP cores. The xet best soltion for obsolete part is F3I replacement.
Not all distributors are the same when it comes to keeping long life-cycle parts in inventory, especially when it comes to parts with low turns like the mil/aero market. Rochester Electronics is just that kind of specialist and arguably the largest authorized long life-cycle supplier in the world.
So it looks like the real issue is with the distributors who do not want to keep such long life cycle items in their inventory for long because of the costs involved in maintaining those stocks. And especially if there are no guarantess from Military customers on the off-take quanties of such components.
The manufacturers obviously will move to newer technology to keep up with the world and especially in electronics this pace is too fast.
The best way for the military customers is to buy the required spares along with the initial buy and keep them in their captive stock.
But for some components whose shelf life may be shorter than their operating life , keeping them in stock for long will degrade their performance. The military customers have to identify such parts and plan scheduled replacement of such parts by the new design parts (e.g capacitors )
The problems around Mil/Aero supply, when it comes to maintaining technology, has a couple of facets; Moore's Law, and economy.
Depending on the industry we're talking about (I can only speak from the embedded systems side of thing), as technology has advanced, it has given Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) the ability to make their parts smaller, faster, and cheaper. We no longer need a whole room for our computers, now we have more advanced technology in our "smart phones" than we did in the original lunar landing. You'll see a lot about this in writings around Moore's Law.
Because innovation, has rapidly driven the market towards smaller, more inexpensive, faster, cutting edge technology, manufacturers are needing to stay on top of R&D to stay competitive. Yes, there has been an industry cloud around the ideas of planned obsolescence, and competitive obsolescence (one is driven by the provider, the other driven by the consumer upgrades).
Here's where Mil/Aero splits from "consumer" capital equipment - in theory, a private buyer of capital equipment can reinvest in upgrading their systems, faster than the government can. Mil/Aero are still using systems that are 30+ years old. At one point, when there was money to spare for things like Last Time Buys (LTBs), the buyer could purchase and stock the amount they would need to repair, replace, and maintain a mission-critical system.
So the Mil/Aero niche is smaller than the private industry, and needs to last longer than the private sector has (generally) demanded... and OEMs are pressed to stay cutting-edge and innovative, to prevent their own obsolescence.
Now, there are companies like the one I work with, that will handle most of the obsolescence-prevention, and legacy technology management for our clients. We also partner with OEMs to help maintain their customer-loyalty by providing all the ongoing support, repair and manufacturing for specific systems. Through doing this, our Mil/Aero clients know that if the need RoHS re-design, we can do that, but otherwise what they're getting is the exact certified, non-counterfeit parts they need, for as long as they need them.
...but it's a niche.. not something that would work for most OEMs in a general sense, and is an added value to their customers and clients.
Lets only look at Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors. More and more capacitors are being produce off shore. The larger company's have move commerical manufacturing off shore and these capacitors are the small SMT style. The Military capacitors reqiure different electrode system and usually must meet various TC/VTC and electrical requirements. Maintaining these manufacturing system is not profitale in the US, thanks to the off shore manufacturing and RoHS compliant chips. RoHs Compliant and Military chips require two different manufacturing systems.
I think I would emphasize how much more the semiconductor suppliers are focussed on the commercial businesses. At this point, for almost all semiconductor OCMs, military business is more of a by-product of the commercial space that has to come without new silicon products (at the die level) or not at all. The testing, packaging, documentation, and certainly performance ranges all change.
I would add that many semiconductor OCM's are hesitant to work with SLiM's because of the fear their own engineering will be tapped in any way. Every leading-edge semiconductor OCM has a horror story they bring out at a time when they just don't want to deal with a lower volume market like Mil/Aero. This fear can be overcome and has been overcome with some, but not most. Both our companies aim to improve those odds and it is getting better all the time.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.