It has probably happened to you that your favorite product was unexpectedly withdrawn from sale due to a missing or unavailable component. See how we handle similar situations so that you always have your units available in the quality you are used to.
When we design new hardware, we always check the availability of all necessary components for the production. That is why we choose reliable suppliers who have been on the market for a long time. Even so, it may happen that some part is suddenly unavailable. Either due to the lack of material needed for its production, or because the manufacturer decided to stop producing the given component/series.
Since we order large quantities, and we assume this alternative, it won’t happen that we run out of a component overnight. But how can we ensure the long-term availability of units?
We adhere to several principles:
- We develop our products by selecting components for which we have alternative variants in the event of a sudden failure.
- We have long-term estimates for the necessary material in time, which allows us to order sufficient quantities in advance and, thanks to large orders, we can also offer generally lower prices to our customers.
- If an outage already occurs, thanks to the flexibility of the solution, we can find and use an alternative in the redesign solution.
What does such a unit redesign look like?
1. SHORTAGE OF SUPPLY
We find out about the unavailability of the component in the supply chain from our supplier. If it is only a short-term outage, then we can easily deal with it, because we already consider such eventuality when ordering components.
However, if it is a long-term situation, or if the supplier has decided to stop offering the given component altogether, we will start looking for a possible solution. The solution may be another supplier, but we usually find out that the component is unavailable worldwide or is available in limited quantities. And usually at a price that would not allow us to continue to offer you a cost-effective solution.
2. ALTERNATIVE COMPONENT AND HARDWARE MODIFICATION
In such case, we select and purchase alternative components that could serve as a full replacement. This means that they meet the demands we place on our components and are of the corresponding quality.
These new components may require a hardware redesign. However, modified hardware may also require firmware modification. You can read about how we create Firmware in this article.
A device with an alternative component and possibly modified firmware must be tested. We test them both in terms of functionality and long-term stability. By testing long-term stability, we determine, for example, whether:
a. Are units fully compatible and therefore are full replacement for an older model with a component that is no longer available.
b. They withstand temperatures in the appropriate range, which will allow their wide use in your projects. For this, we use, among other things, a temperature chamber, in which we test various conditions and the load of the units.
c. The changes made did not have a negative effect on the units’ operation, i.e., they are stable.
If the units fail the tests, then we go back to finding another alternative component and start the whole process all over. But as soon as the units pass the tests, they are ready for serial production.
We release fully tested, compatible units with an updated and available component into regular production that completely replace the original version.
As with all our units, we steadily monitor and control quality. Therefore, we have an overview of the continuous status of the replaced component.
The advantage of this flexible process is quick adaptation to the market situation in terms of unavailable components and the availability of units in the expected quality.
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