Microelectronics International, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp 32-36, 2006

Uprating of Electronic Parts to Address Obsolescence

M. Pecht
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

D. Humphrey
Honeywell International Inc.,
Tucson, Arizona


Purpose - The paper presents an alternative solution to address part obsolescence. This paper discusses approaches to solve part obsolescence including an uprating approach. This paper also describes the methods to uprate parts, and demonstrates the practical application of the uprating approach in the form of a case study.
Design/methodology/approach - This paper has been written to provide an understanding of the uprating approach to mitigate the problems caused by part obsolescence. The paper discusses the challenge faced due to part obsolescence, the temperature ratings for electronic parts, the uprating methods and finally explains the use of uprating to mitigate part obsolescence in the form of a case study. The part being uprated is a microcontroller unit used in many avionics applications. The case study describes a particular use of uprating and the return on investment.
Findings - Based on the uprating approach, it was discovered that for the particular application, the commercially available plastic quad flat pack microcontroller could be used as a substitute for the "military" ceramic BGA version, which was discontinued by the manufacturer. It was discovered that there would be no problem with the commercial part's quality or reliability for the particular application. Parametric tests showed no evidence of instability of electrical characteristics over the uprated temperature range. There was substantial return on investment due to the use of uprated parts.
Practical implications - This paper can help electronics manufactures deal with part obsolescence. This paper demonstrates the practicality of uprating parts. Uprating can save companies money by reducing the need for life-time buys, substitution of parts and even redesign.
Originality/value - The paper provides an alternative approach to address the problem of part obsolescence. This paper shows that proper uprating leads to cost saving while continuing to provide reliable service.

Complete article is available to CALCE Consortium Members.


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