Proceedings of the ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences &
Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Chicago, IL, USA, August 12-15, 2012

Design Refresh Planning Models for Managing Obsolescence

Liyu Zheng, Janis Terpenny a, Peter Sandborn, Raymond Nelson III b
aDepartment of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011
bCALCE Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, United States


Fast moving technologies have caused high-tech components to have shortened life cycles, rendering them obsolete quickly. Obsolescence is a significant problem for systems with operational and support life that are much longer than the procurement lifetimes of their constituent components. Design refresh planning is a strategic way of managing obsolescence. Mathematical models are presented herein to determine the design refresh plan that minimizes total cost. The plan includes guidance on when to execute design refreshes (dates) and what obsolete/non-obsolete system components should be replaced at a specific design refresh. When data uncertainty is considered and obsolescence dates of the components are assumed to follow specific probability distributions, different solutions for executing design refreshes and the probabilities of adopting these solutions can be obtained. The final optimal cost becomes an expected value. An example of an electronic engine control unit (ECU) is included for demonstration of the developed models.

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