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This is the first of a two-part blog post on managing part obsolescence using Allegro® EDM applications.
In the midst of a periodic bout of decluttering the house, my niece stumbled across some cassettes and looked at them like they were from some prehistoric age. How could I convey the importance of the audio cassette to my niece? She's used to iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and goodness knows what else. I remember cassettes with much nostalgia - the familiar click and whir of a cassette being played in the stereo, patiently winding an unspooled tape with a pencil, mixing up casings as some inevitably cracked, and family gatherings around the record player.
But cassettes had a lifespan, and unlike digital tracks, they decayed and died. Every time I played a cassette, the tape deteriorated, and the sound got progressively worse. Destined for obsolescence, cassettes are now relegated to history.
All devices and components become obsolete after a time but with the dizzying rate of innovation today, electronic parts' obsolescence assumes ever greater importance for manufacturers. Changes in speed, feature size, interconnection and packaging technologies, and voltage are now so frequent that many electronic parts that make up a product have a much shorter lifecycle than the lifecycle of the product itself. As though this isn't difficult enough, add people to the mix – as usual, they want ever-longer warranties for their products.
When crucial system components are no longer available from the original manufacturer with the original specifications, you need to move quickly to find replacements or rework your product designs. This is particularly true of manufacturers of long-lifecycle products in industries such as defense, aerospace, nuclear, railways, and so on. What's more, products in these industries are often subject to stringent regulations making even minor design changes expensive. This makes effective management of part obsolescence crucial.
Because your products rarely have identical technology needs, operating environments, or support requirements, a single obsolescence strategy rarely works. But there are several ways to manage part obsolescence effectively to remain competitive, avoid costly rework and delays, and ease the pain:
The Allegro® EDM component database is a centralized repository of all components in your libraries, maintained at a master (or global) site. Using Allegro® EDM Database Administrator, you can define a library manager.
The library manager creates a lifecycle state (even if the state already exists in a PLM system) and adds a message to the lifecycle state to 'warn' designers about parts they choose to add to a design. To further help designers quickly decide whether they want to add a part to their designs, library managers can also assign a color for each lifecycle state, such as red for EOL parts.
With Allegro® EDM Database Editor, easily assign lifecycle states to parts.
And finally, after you add, delete, or in any way modify your part libraries, you can distribute the latest libraries to all the client sites in your enterprise. That way, parts in the client sites will all be synchronized with the data in the master site.
Part 2 of this blog post describes how designers can use Allegro® EDM applications to quickly search for and access approved and preferred parts and generate reports for specific types of parts.