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seaEE
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CEO
re: Flirting with disaster
seaEE   9/13/2011 5:30:02 AM
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And congratulations to Renesas for their rapid recovery. They have provided the rest of the world with a heartening display of courage and cooperation in the face of adversity.

seaEE
User Rank
CEO
re: Flirting with disaster
seaEE   9/13/2011 5:09:22 AM
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What should the strategy be for handling the temporary loss of a key component? Should one always maintain enough pipelined supply to cover for porting part of the design to a different component?

old account Frank Eory
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Rookie
re: Flirting with disaster
old account Frank Eory   9/12/2011 11:53:39 PM
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As Duane said, for many ICs, 2nd sourcing is impossible. Beyond that, for most fabless IC companies, quickly switching foundries is not so simple either.

Duane Benson
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Blogger
re: Flirting with disaster
Duane Benson   9/12/2011 11:35:18 PM
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2nd sourcing used to be standard practice. At one time a lot of purchasing departments could rule out the use of a component simply due to its being sole-sourced. Getting around those rules might have taken just short of an act of congress. Today, with so many different specialized chips, it is, in many cases, simply impossible to have a second source. If you use Microchip MCUs, you can buy them from Microchip. That's it. Atmel from Atmel. An Allegro motor controller will only come from Allegro. I do, however, think it's possible to prepare for limited disasters. With the Microchip example - say they have a major supply disruption. The supply of the particular MCU you use runs dry. Mnay of their parts maintain a lot of pin compatibility within the same pin-count packages. If your MCU is not available, they might have another close one that could do the job with minimal code changes. Motor control chips, blue tooth and ZigBees might be more of a challenge, but the functionality is fairly standard. PCB real estate might not allow for having two different footprints, but maybe a small daughter card could fit the bill.

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Flirting with disaster
cdhmanning   9/4/2011 8:20:13 AM
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To be fair to Japan, the earthquake had little effect. It was really the tsunami that caused the most damage. While having penalty clauses etc in contracts might give you a certain degree of comfort it does not help you if parts cannot get delivered. Or, put another way, it might give you someone to blame, but it does not give you a solution. I recently had this discussion with some people and we had the idea of designing boards with overlapping footprints for key components like micros. Design for two equivalent parts from 2 vendors with supply chains in different countries. Choose one part as your primary part. If you lose that vendor then hopefully the other will survive ad you can respin your product quickly. I live in Christchurch NZ where we got hammered by earthquakes. Luckily we didn't lose much manufacturing.



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