Obsolescence in test and measurement: modernize or upgrade legacy equipment?

SAN DIEGO, 3 June 2010. “Obsolescence management is a strategy, not a one-time fix,” said John Rosenwald, director of business development at EADS North America, in his presentation, “Component Obsolescence in Military Test Systems,” at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum in San Diego.

By Courtney E. Howard

SAN DIEGO, 3 June 2010. “Obsolescence management is a strategy, not a one-time fix,” said John Rosenwald, director of business development at EADS North America, in his presentation, “Component Obsolescence in Military Test Systems,” at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum in San Diego.

“Test systems are integrated, complex electronics,” Rosenwald continued. “They use the same technologies as avionics and aircraft equipment; they are often smarter than the unit under test (functional test and diagnostics in one package); and they are multi-vendor solutions that involve a suite of specialized component/instrumentation providers.”

One approach to obsolescence in test and measurement is hardware standardization, Rosenwald said. This method calls for: industry-driven test and measurement standards, software planning, a common ATE platform for factory or repair centers, and a good approach for new programs/facilities, including the phased modernization of legacy equipment.

Another approach is the service-level agreement. Involved are the use of an ATE OEM or a third party for support; system operation or up-time requirements; UUT testing requirements; and a good long-term strategy.

Another tack is a hybrid approach, with an investment in hardware and a service/support contract. “Whether to modernize or replace legacy equipment is a difficult decision,” Rosenwald admitted.

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