Case Study

Obsolescence and Component Design Keeps a Product Viable

EASi helps a high-tech company design and develop hardware for obsolete components while mitigating changes to the overall system to keep a product in market.

The client and challenge
The client is a high-technology company that develops photonic and laser systems for microelectronics manufacturers. Several components used in its pulse shaping and dual beam laser processing product were no longer available. This included a microprocessor that performed operations such as filling/reducing air in the airbag, leveling the stag and providing the stage, as well as several modules that controlled the laser position and angles.

The client needed to design and develop hardware for obsolete components while mitigating changes to the overall system to keep this product in market.

The EASi solution
EASi provided a three-phase solution to identify obsolete components in the system and update hardware and software in embedded C and Dynamic C IDE. This included:

  • Phase I: Three weeks to find obsolete parts and provide replacement options
  • Phase II : Eight weeks to find replacement for Single Board Computer (SBC)
  • Phase III: 17 weeks to replace hardware components on five boards
EASi’s responsibilities included design, software development, PCB development, functional testing, integration testing, layout and schematic changes.

We conducted an evaluation of the product bill of material (BOM) on-site with the customer and identified end-of-life parts and components. EASi delivered an obsolescence analysis report and successive fixed-price project plans that were developed from this evaluation to resolve identified obsolescence issues. Successive project plans included redesign costs and project obsolesce dates.

We then identified and evaluated options for a new microprocessor on SBC in the same family. Hardware and software system architecture was developed in conjunction with the customer. EASi designed and procured the necessary hardware. Modified functional hardware boards were provided with schematics, Gerber files and test results.

EASi also compared new software architecture to existing code provided by the customer. We analyzed software, identified changes to be made and implemented changes to code. Updated software with release notes, executables with flashing, test plans and logs, and change/review logs were provided. We integrated hardware and software changes, performed unit and system testing, and developed user manual/reference guides as needed.

The results
EASi achieved the test results with desired quality within given timelines and budget. This included replacement of the obsolete SBC, design/develop of necessary hardware, and analyzing/updating/porting updated software.

EASi’s designs were integrated into the existing system with minimized changes to the overall system. Challenges overcome during project execution included:

  • Unavailability of documents capturing I/O mapping
  • Analyzing different hardware boards to meet the I/O requirement
  • Developing a bridge board to map the signals
  • Mounting new hardware into existing pneumatic box
Our supported enabled the client to increase the longevity of its product, keeping it in market for up to two more years.