BECdiscusses the supply issues associated with discontinued EoL components and how best to manage long lead times often found with current resistor manufacturers and the need for strong partnerships


ypically, large resistor manufacturers discontinue product lines after 5-10

years. This can have a potentially disastrous impact on customers whose products have longer expected lifetime eg. aerospace, medical, surveillance or defence industry equipment. Issues with End-of-Life (EoL) component availability are not the only problems facing electronic engineers and buyers – long lead times on current components are becoming an issue.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE Single sourcing of resistor components carries risks, for example lead-time slippages and quality issues. It makes sense to have second source supply of resistors, not simply from a cost point- of-view, but to have a plan for mid-life and End-of-Life component shortages. Engineers and buyers, like the rest of us, don’t have a crystal ball and we can’t predict future issues eg. the repercussions of manufacturer mergers; discontinued lines; reduced production volumes for low-margin components and so on. Ongoing support from a trusted

distribution partner is the best way forward, so that engineers and buyers alike can plan ahead, right from the beginning, when components are first used or when they are designed-in, ensuring that EoL does not necessarily mean end of supply or support. Ideally that distribution partner will not only have quality pin-for-pin component replacements available, which will far exceed 10 years, but they will also be able to avert any mid-term lead-time delivery issues with quality replacements.

CHOOSING A DISTRIBUTION PARTNER Sourcing EoL components without proper assessment and technical due diligence could involve potential risks to performance or quality of final products. Engineers and buyers need to carefully consider from whom to source EoL components. One of the most important things to look for is their technical sourcing ability and proven experience in the market, together with guarantees that the alternatives fully match the original specifications. The distribution partner should be able to help “design-out” substandard


components and replace them with newer, improved alternatives. As a result, buyers and designers should find a distribution partner that can offer a wider choice and expertise to help them with these challenges. In addition to technical support, a free sample service is an essential part of the partnership. Ideally, the partner will perform a ‘scrub’ service flagging EoLs, recommend alternatives and collate other information for buyers to update their ERP systems. When customers have ‘nearly’ consumed their scheduled ordered parts or have bids on their active bills of materials, proactive discussions will be started, about what actions can be taken, including offering alternate suppliers or substitute parts, redesigning a board or suggesting a long-term stocking solution.

The company has announced the

availability of just such a “partner” service, which includes the ATE Electronics range of high-quality, pin- for-pin second source alternatives for ARCOL/Ohmite aluminium-housed resistors. ATE is a global manufacturer of power resistors, with its production facility based in Italy. Founded in 1980, ATE specialises in aluminium-housed resistors. In addition, BEC Distribution offers

Metallux pin-for-pin alternatives for ARCOL/Ohmite aluminium profile wire resistors. Metallux is a German manufacturer of electronic components, and has produced high-quality power resistors since its formation in 1986. Quality resistor alternatives can also offer much shorter leads times and lower pricing. BEC Distribution’s EoL component

POST BREXIT WOES Who knows what effect Brexit and the ongoing tariff wars will have on the continuity of supplies? One thing is for sure though, forecasting will remain a challenge. Second sourcing of resistor alternatives is a prudent strategy. A flexible approach would be to specify

a performance description rather than specific manufacturer part numbers. Although more time-consuming, this strategy opens procurement to any manufacturer who produces components to that specification now or in the future. Buyers faced with price pressure or EoL issues could source alternatives without having to go back to engineering. BEC Distribution has introduced several

ranges of high-quality, pin-for-pin second source resistor alternatives

Figure 1: BEC resistor alternatives

supplies will be a lifeline to R&D engineers and buyers, where components have been designed into their product lines. With franchised distribution agreements with quality alternative component manufacturers, BEC can provide high quality, pin-for- pin direct replacement or alternatives. If the required components are not in stock, then BEC will track down and source matching alternatives, ensuring that EoL issues will not hinder customers’ projects. In addition to the ATE and Metallux resistor alternatives, BEC Distribution offers a huge stock of inductors, both EoL and current, originals and alternatives. BEC offers flat, round and wire-

wound resistors over aluminium housed compact brake resistors and steel grid brake resistors or modules constructed of water-cooled break resistors. Product applications include voltage dividers; de-charge resistors and start or charging resistors. Other industrial applications include frequency converters for motor control using built-in or stand-alone units. Green energy applications include heating elements for high power solutions or where brake energy can be re-used as heating energy.

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