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48 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2022 Feature Article by Chris Young YOUNG ENGINEERING SERVICES Engineers are accustomed to the demanding challenges of designing for miniaturization, cost reduction, cross platform compatibility, and harsh environments. What has proven to be the most painful experience of my career (and for many of my colleagues) is the sheer lack of components from which to build our designs. Development cycles—commercial, industr ial, medical, av ionics—have been severely impacted, from large enterprise cor- porations to small design/integration compa- nies. Even as consultants, we have had a rough time. e good news is that design engineers tend to be tenacious in nature and this aids in finding ways to manage/mitigate difficult problems. Awareness of the situation is the first step to understanding the underlying problems faced by today's design engineers industry wide. Here are a few of the situations I have faced in the last year alone. Designing Through Supply Chain Pain Long Lead Times I experienced a product launch failure due to component unavailability. e client had a great idea, practical experience with the mar- ket, and identified a need which is not cur- rently being served. What was needed was a compact, robust design that would fit the application—my bread and butter. I could not bring this product to fruition because of the lack of simple microcontrollers and peripheral devices. I was upfront with the customer that component availability was an issue and we needed to procure prototype and initial pro- duction materials early on, with the expecta- tion that not all purchases may be used in the design. Several months into the development, I was notified that my orders were not only delayed but cancelled. Lead times for components pre- viously on order now extended anywhere from 50 to 100 weeks, well beyond the needed date.

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