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Obsolescence


SEMICONDUCTOR OBSOLESCENCE: A PERSPECTIVE VIEW


End­of­life declarations for semiconductors can cause many problems. Jeffrey Simon, CEO of America Semiconductor, explains that some sectors are affected less than others


Chief executive officer of America Semiconductor, Jeffrey Simon, and co-founder, Bruce Wilpon


As semiconductor technology continues to advance, the number of semiconductor product families declared end of life (EOL) by the manufacturer is increasing at an unprecedented rate. An


original semiconductor manufacturer’s EOL schedule does not always support the continuing needs of customers, especially those with applications involving long system lifecycles or whose products do not require technology beyond the current version. For industries that require extended product support, such as industrial, transportation, military, aerospace and medical (to name a few), there will continue to be an expanding need for EOL and obsolete devices.


Finding the right solution during a semiconductor end­of­life


event is no easy task for purchasing and procurement management. The primary objective of any procurement professional is to ensure that an uninterrupted supply of parts is available for projected manufacturing schedules as well as for in­ field maintenance and repair services. Interruptions in either manufacturing or maintenance can cause significant loss of revenue. Based on current trends, OEMs serving industries with long­term support obligations will be left in a difficult position fulfilling long­term commitments for vital semiconductor devices, and could even find that the device will become obsolete long before they expected.


It is imperative that the procurement of critical semiconductor


devices is accomplished while maintaining the integrity of the supply chain. When in need of hard­to­find mature or EOL semiconductors, what sourcing options do OEMs have to ensure a continuous supply of authentic critical devices? Start with the original semiconductor manufacturer and its authorized list of


20 | February 2014


distributors. The most comprehensive source for finding all the authorized distributors for active and EOL semiconductors is the authorizeddirectory.com. This site provides a comprehensive database of over 225 semiconductor manufacturers and their current global lists of authorized distributors by country. Visitors can even type in the product number they are searching for and find only the authorized distributors who have the device in stock. This is good to know amidst growing procurement trends to buy products anywhere at the lowest price.


Now for more good news: It seems that very few of the above


scenarios apply to power semiconductors, primarily due to the fact that package types and sizes have not changed very much during the past 30 years.


Today, we see increased voltage and amperage, with higher


peak voltages, all in the same package size. A 1600V standard rectifier can now handle 2200V in the same package. No redesigns are necessary because power semiconductor packages never go out of style. They are form, fit and functional devices that drop into newer tougher applications including oil and gas, welding, power supplies, HVAC, railroad and alternative energy.


Power semiconductors have been around a long time, and yet


somehow never quite seem to reach obsolescence. Despite a decreasing number of quality power semiconductor manufacturers, there are still plenty of options to search, specify and buy the power semiconductors of the past and present through authorized distributors. America Semiconductor has built a business model on manufacturing legacy and current power devices to ensure they are made to the original specifications and are always available through a secure, authorized distributor network. This is one less problem procurement professionals have to worry about when trying to plan for semiconductor obsolescence.


www.americasemi.com www.electronics-sourcing.com


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