RS looks to expand its obsolete device support with tools and infrastructure

November 11, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
Distributor RS Components (RS) has developed a tool that can help OEMs and product developers to manage the problem of obsolescence and is looking at expanding its support infrastructure.

The Obsolescence Manager tool, developed with analysts IHS, helps engineers plan for when the End-of-Life (EOL) notices are placed on parts that will soon cease to be produced, repaired and supported by component vendors.

“Product obsolescence presents a major element of risk for manufacturers for both new and existing designs; and it is one that needs to be managed, especially given the current upheaval in the semiconductor market with many mergers and acquisitions, which also brings the risk of discontinuation for many product lines,” said Lindsley Ruth, Group Chief Executive at Electrocomponents which owns RS.

Other specialist distributors such as Rochester Electronics store obsolete components as packaged parts or die, and this is an area where RS may expand, says Ruth.

“You will see us establish a presence in the US with semiconductors and we have to broaden our portfolio and stocking the full range of products especially new products, and we are looking  at EOL components or the die,” he said. “As long as we can make the margin we can carry the inventory – as we go through this process we will see what the level of activity will be. We will be looking for our engineers to shape the system along with IHS.”

The tool sits alongside the free DesignSpark tools to allow engineers and buyers to proactively monitor and manage the risks caused by obsolescence. Initially the tool will be able to support engineers creating new electronic designs, and may be further expanded to cover the industrial sector including new panel designs and existing production-line machines.

Each year thousands of individual parts and components reach the end of their lifecycle and become obsolete. EOL notices can lead to substantial costs, as it means products often have to be redesigned or reengineered. Significant product delays can also occur, as well as increased inventory sourcing and handling charges. All electronic and automation components will inevitably reach the EOL status,