On-board electronic products have long life cycles: electronic architectures are replaced every ten years or so. Along the way, however, it will now be necessary to update the circuit board, both to manage obsolescence of certain references and to secure the supply of all components.
ACTIA is committed to this approach to redesigning electronic products, in collaboration with its customers: the Redesign to Deliver (R2D) programme. Drawing on its engineering capability and its expert knowledge of the components market, the group is a preferred partner for manufacturers in order to ensure deliverability of on-board electronic products.
ACTIA’s expertise in board redesign
Updating an electronic product: a complex process
- Updating an electronic product is still a complex process that involves:
- – checking the lifespan and availability of all of the components;
- – checking exposure to risks of failure of stakeholders in the value chain, through multi-sourcing in particular;
- – the complexity of the redesign with regard to the time to market;
- – requalification work for ACTIA and for its customers.
- ACTIA’s R2D programme has been launched on a selected number of products and takes into consideration:
- – the record of all supply issues, since the start of the components crisis;
- – an update of the assessment of risks for the entire bill of materials.
The programme aims to carry out a limited redesign to mitigate the main risks and also to limit time to market and the technical risks. This limited revision is considered an improvement, unlike a complete revision.
ACTIA’s Obsolescence Laboratory
ACTIA has constantly monitored the electronics market for more than 15 years, with a team of 20 people that forms: the Components Observatory.
ACTIA is one of the few players on the market to incorporate a dedicated organization to analyze and manage component obsolescence.
The department provides precise information about the electronic components market so the best decisions can be made. The laboratory manages 150,000 components and 12,000 bills of materials and has enhanced expertise in the market and risks for all of the components. ACTIA also offers this expertise as a service provided to major market players.
Identification of supply risks and design choices
- Risk identification and design choices are driven by:
- – The data collected by the “Components Observatory”;
- – ACTIA’s purchasing strategy defined through a panel of suppliers and manufacturers that identifies all of the strategic partners;
- – Detailed information about the component supply chain;
- – The multi-sourcing strategy;
- – The track record of disruptions and shortages.
Learn more about ACTIA’s supply strategy:
ACTIA PUTS SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIPS AT THE CENTRE OF ITS ELECTRONICS PURCHASING STRATEGY
A dedicated purchasing team: interdisciplinary expertise
At ACTIA, a Purchasing team is dedicated to the product design phase and is an integral part of the product development team. This team conducts the risk analysis throughout the product development phase.
Reasons for board redesigns
To adapt to market developments
At present there is a mismatch between the life cycle of the semiconductor manufacturers’ components catalogue and the life cycle of products dedicated to on board electronics. The gap is growing particularly wide for the vehicle markets in which ACTIA operates: trucks, buses and coaches, off-highway vehicles. These are the group’s established markets, in which electronic architectures and vehicle ranges are replaced every 10 years or so.
In fact, certain components are becoming obsolete, scarce or even unavailable early on in the vehicle’s life cycle. Failing supplies of embedded ECUs means, in general, production shutdowns and associated significant financial losses.
To rectify this supply constraint and to continue producing vehicles, ACTIA offers an intermediate update of electronic boards, replacing the highest risk components with new references, as up to date as possible.
Typically, the redesign may be required five years from the initial development of the product. These more frequent updates to the hardware architecture allow availability of vehicles on the market to be ensured.
To adapt to the components supply.
To increase capacity, manufacturers of semiconductors mainly make investments in the latest technology, at the cost of prior technologies which, by definition, no longer offer the same level of productivity (number of chips per silicon wafer) and hence profitability.
In other words, components suppliers can take advantage of the crisis in the electronic component market to discontinue old products that are a burden on their profitability and production capacity. This will accelerate obsolescence and shortages of certain ranges of components which are doomed to extinction.
To integrate the latest technologies on the market.
A redesign is an effective way to give existing products a new lease of life. Indeed, it is the second most common reason for redesigning a board: improving an existing solution and refining its performance.
ACTIA will take advantage of the redesign to upgrade the technology and enhance the capabilities of the products, as soon as this is practicable
To limit the effects of the electronic component supply crisis.
A crisis with multiple factors
The health crisis took the market by surprise and was accompanied by skyrocketing demand with the first lockdowns, with private individuals equipping themselves with digital communication and entertainment devices in huge numbers, and companies installing servers for remote working. Production capacities were already on a just-in-time basis, Demand is estimated to have increased constantly by 20% each year.
These difficulties were compounded by other factors: virus outbreaks, fires, ower cuts…, which here and there continue to paralyse production lines in Asia.
To further complicate matters, ports in Asia are congested and unable to keep pace with demand. The whole world is ordering shipping containers from China, Taiwan and Vietnam: prices increased ten-fold in a few and they are piling up on docks.
The constant increased global demand for components
Reducing the etching size of electronic components has allowed manufacturers to produce increasingly powerful chips. A processor’s computing power depends on the number of transistors and on the etching size. The more transistors a chip has per mm2, the more logic elements it can contain, the smallest the etching size the higher the frequency can increase while controlling heat dissipation, which increases its computing power. This is the reason why researchers are striving to place more transistors on their chips.
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While the components crisis has accentuated the trend, ACTIA is confident that electronics redesigns will now be necessary throughout the life cycle of all electronic products: not only to mitigate component obsolescence, which is accelerating, but also to ensure reliable and sustainable provision of supplies.