Growing through obsolescence

November 18, 2014 // By Julien Happich
Rochester Electronics' booth at electronica made you feel like you were entering a classic American diner, with plenty of retro-appeal, just like a trip back in time.

This is also what the company offers at component level, boasting the world’s largest wafer bank holding in excess of ten billion die in stock, 2” to 12” wafers, dating back to as early as 1968.

To support an increasing number of obsolete semiconductor components as they reach end-of-life (EOL) from an original manufacturer’s perspective, Rochester Electronics’ recent wafer bank expansion will now allow for upwards of 30 billion die total storage capacity, with box-level rental plans as well as customized secure storage room and box-level access control for its customers.

In order to bring back these wafers to life at any time, the company also offers extensive die processing services including wafer saw, pick and place, packaging, inspection or prototyping. And year-on-year, the fully-authorized manufacturer and distributor of semiconductors announces new partnerships, entitling the company to re-introduce many vintage ICs, either from legacy excess inventory or from original IP licensing.

It is in the military, the industrial or the medical markets that most of these components may become precious replacement parts, long life markets where the costs of re-design and certification may just outweigh the benefits of a more capable part.

“Sometimes, you are better off keeping the old parts in place just not to increase design costs by having to redesign your entire system”, explained Dan Deisz, Director of Design & Technology at Rochester Electronics. “Because everything cascades up, even for an equivalent part but at a different operational voltage, you may end up having to redesign your power supply. And often, a certification locks your design in hardware. So newer isn’t always better” Deisz concludes.

“We keep these obsolete components for as long as they are in stock, then we often have the original masks, or at least all the original IP, should we have to re-design them. So in effect we never retire any component from our catalogue” told us George Karalias, the company’s Director of