- Posted by Susana Galdeano
- On February 3, 2021
A new approach to EEE parts procurement management for the use of Commercial Off the Shelf Components (COTS) for space use is on increasing demand. Based on the emerging needs of:
- Components supporting more advanced technical capabilities.
- Unavailability of some functions/higher performance in high-reliability grade parts.
- Reducing size, weight, and power of systems.
- Products with lower prices that still maintain the overall reliability figures.
- Very large quantities for constellations.
Commercial Off the Shelf Components (COTS) presents the following main characteristics:
- The manufacturer solely defines the specifications for performance, configuration, and reliability without additional requirements imposed by users and external organizations.
- There are no third-party controls to build in defined quality levels as required for military/space application.
- Neither specification system nor specific quality controls are imposed on the manufacturer by third parties.
This can lead to significant variation in the risk associated with the procurement of parts from different manufacturers, different part types and different lots from the same manufacturer. Therefore, it must be assumed that EEE COTS parts procurement management must be handled in a way that risks are minimized. For this reason, it is very important to select parts, manufacturers and procurement channels carefully in order to establish a basis for the quality and reliability of the EEE parts used before assembling them into critical applications.
In addition, the assurance processes of EEE COTS parts procurement management should include inspections and evaluations intended to identify defects. These inspection and tests increase the “Component Ownership Cost”, which is the sum of the following:
The objective of the EEE COTS parts procurement management is to assure the correct selection, control, procurement and usage conditions so that the EEE part meets its mission requirements. The goal is not easy, but it can be approached by putting in place different actions: data collection, risk assessment, specific testing/validation, lot traceability, anti-counterfeit measurements, lead material identification, and many more…
In addition, the following assumptions represent the basis of a confident EEE COTS procurement management:
- A large volume of production levels of EEE components leads to an increased reliability thanks to the Manufacturer Process Control (SPC)
- Risk Management, considering that a certain grade of risk must be assumed even after the most strict measures have been considered
- Any extra handling or testing of the parts (outside the established manufacturer’s inline testing and handling) results in unnecessary risk of component damage.
The conservative procurement methodology based on 100% testing often implies a higher ownership cost (in terms of time and money) than procuring the equivalent space component. Therefore, the optimization by reducing/waiving some activities without added value is becoming evident and necessary in the current high competition market.
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