When a critical component is declared end-of-life (EOL) by a manufacturer, a ripple effect begins. Like a stone being thrown into a pond, the immediate impact of EOL seems small; then the ripples spread out and cover the entire surface of the pond.
Prior to the adoption of the EU’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), EOL largely meant securing a long-term supply of a component or finding a partner to continue its manufacture. (That’s one ripple.) In this post-RoHS age, finding a drop-in device for long-lifecycle equipment has become significantly more difficult. Re-manufacturing the part in an environmentally-friendly manner has also become a challenge. (Ripples two and three.)
Electronics equipment manufactured prior to RoHS could contain substances such as lead which is used in solders; and components compatible with lead-based solders provide the best performance and quality. Even after RoHS was enacted, exceptions to the mandate are granted and demand continues for leaded devices. However, many component makers have discontinued their leaded parts in favor of non-leaded solutions, and that has increased the scarcity and cost of the leaded devices still available.
An alternative to securing finished EOL parts is to find someone who will re-manufacture a device based on the supplier’s specs. In this post-RoHS environment, the manufacturer of those devices faces a dilemma: the very process of re-manufacturing may have an impact on the environment. Lead may still be preferable for older parts; and certain manufacturing processes and solvents may not be as environmental-friendly as newer solutions. Overall, the electronics supply chain as a whole is trying to reduce its carbon footprint. (The ripples continue to spread.) It is imperative upon a re-manufacturer to have the least possible impact on the environment.
Rochester Electronics has developed re-manufacturing solutions that provide the best lead-free and green products possible. When Rochester continues to manufacture a device that is no longer produced by the original manufacturer, the part can be made lead-free/green compliant. For devices that were discontinued prior to the RoHS initiative, Rochester can draw from its wafer bank of more than 10 billion die, and continue to manufacture the device as fully lead-free/green. Depending on customer demand, these may be available in stock or made to order.
Rochester also partners with foundries that meet our supplier and customer expectations in quality and sustainability. A team of Rochester quality and technology engineers performs an onsite, multiple-day audit of wafer fab foundries and we work with each fab to evaluate each facility’s environmental-, process- and quality-control. The audits combine the requirements of ISO, TS, AS, and Mil standards. In cases where a DSCC product is involved, the audit is coordinated with a DSCC audit team as well.
The audits cover the facility’s control of inventory, mask storage, documents, de-ionized water and the environment. They also assess wafer parametric probe, epitaxial growth, diffusion/oxidation, photomasking, etch, metal deposition, dielectric deposition, chemical mechanical planarization, glassivation/passivation, ion implant, control of non-conforming product, control of rework, back lap/grind, the fab’s quality self-audit program, training system, incoming inspection, calibration, and SPC system/ and associated controls. Finally, Rochester performs stringent tests on the performance of all re-manufactured items.
The sourcing of EOL and obsolete components was a challenge even before many environmental initiatives were enacted. Now, the process is even more complex. As the electronics supply chain strives toward sustainability, selecting partners that align with those efforts becomes crucial. Rochester has positioned itself to become one of those partners when the re-manufacturing a device becomes a necessity.
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