Component obsolescence management is a strategic practice that also mitigates the risk of counterfeit parts. Left unchecked, obsolescence issues increase support, development and production costs. So, planning ahead is critical. For companies that do proactively manage component availability and obsolescence, the effect of long-term storage on manufacturability and reliability is the area of major concern. Many issues can arise depending on the component technology and storage environment. Reliability concerns to consider include solderability, stress driven diffusive voiding, moisture, Kirkendall voiding, intermetallics/oxidation and tin whiskering.
When component obsolescence isn’t planned for, the secondary market is often the supply chain of last recourse. While it is possible to get high quality, genuine parts, it is also possible to get nonconforming, reworked, or counterfeit components. And, it is increasingly difficult to differentiate genuine parts from their counterfeit equivalents. Historically, the secondary market provided a mechanism for finding parts in short supply or at reduced cost. Today, high-reliability system manufacturers are less willing to risk contamination of their supply chain with potentially substandard parts in order to save a few dollars on the cost of a part.
This paper will cover obsolescence management strategies, relevant industry standards, use of managed supply programs (MSP) and contract pooled options, plus long term storage recommendations and practices.