World’s most powerful rocket houses aerospace qualified electronic components

How to Source Aerospace Qualified Electronic Components

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” is a well-used phrase that dates back to the 19th century; however, its sentiment is timeless and may even be applied to the space race. There have certainly been many advances in the aerospace industry over the past few decades, including marked expansion in the number of competing entities. However, the need for aerospace qualified electronic components remains a critical issue, as does prioritizing your supply chain security.

What Does Aerospace Qualified Electronic Components Mean?

From the beginning of the space age, everyone has looked to NASA to establish precedents for aerospace system development. This includes defining electronic components that are space-qualified and appropriate for use aboard spacecraft. The NASA Parts Selection List (NPSL) was created for this purpose. In addition to defining approved components and products, the NPSL allows manufacturers to rate original component manufacturers (OCMs) and trace the history of specific components.

As many aerospace systems are also classified as military vehicles, components used aboard these vehicles must adhere to military-grade electronic component standards. These include performance and testing standards for resistors, capacitors, semiconductors, microcircuits, hybrid circuits and other electronics. Additionally, components and boards may be subject to ITAR requirements—especially if your development is intended for applications such as satellites that comprise aerospace systems like the GPS constellation.

The current new space age that emphasizes the commercial benefits of space travel has transformed aerospace development. Instead of a years-long process, development today requires months or less and has produced a steady increase in annual launches. This shortened development cycle can be attributed, in part, to the utilization of COTS components and a reliance on their commercial track record as validation of reliability. However, this has by no means reduced the need to ensure that your aerospace qualified electronic components supply chain is secure.

How Best to Secure Your Supply Chain for Aerospace Components?

The flexibility that OEMs and other developers of PCBAs and electronics for aerospace systems enjoy is helping society transition to a world where space travel is commonplace. And, the relaxation—in some cases—of the criteria defining aerospace qualified electronic components contributes to this transition. However, space remains a dangerous environment that requires the highest quality systems, including electronics. To ensure successful missions, adequate steps must be taken to avoid including sub-standard or counterfeit components on aerospace vehicles.

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Ensuring Access to Aerospace Qualified Electronics Components

  • Only source from approved component vendors
    First and foremost, the components that you use must be acceptable for your aerospace industry clients. Typical concerns are substandard and counterfeit components that may compromise the mission of the aerospace vehicle or system. Therefore, it is important to select approved vendors and/or suppliers as your source for components.
  • Use components where historical data is available
    Since aerospace systems are critical and failure can be catastrophic, use components with an established and verifiable record of successful performance. For example, those that are listed in the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP) database with favorable reviews or have successfully undergone thermal cycling testing.
  • Ensure that your supply chain is traceable
    It is also important to trace your supply chain from the source and through all development processes. This includes meeting standards such as IPC-1782, AS9100 and others that may be applicable.
  • Avoid using a Just-in-Time manufacturing strategy
    Lean manufacturing is on everyone’s mind these days. Unfortunately, some of the recommendations for Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing, such as minimizing component inventories, have proven detrimental to manufacturers during the current global component shortages.
  • Plan for component procurement uncertainty
    Analysts expect component shortages to persist in 2022. Effective mitigation strategies include buying ahead and stockpiling critical components. Also, try to work with an on-shore CM to store components and materials ahead of schedule.
Tempo's Custom Avionics for PCB Manufacturing Service
  • AS9100D and IPC J-STD-001E with Space Addendum certified manufacturing processes.
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600 and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Execute your full development cycle from proto to validation, NPI, and low volume production.
  • Accurate quote in less than a day.
  • DFX support, including DFM, DFA, and DFT from Day 1 of design.
  • Entire turnkey PCB manufacturing in as fast as 4 days.
  • Extreme space environment targeted manufacturing.
  • Use reputable components suppliers to ensure quality, security and traceability.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during PCB assembly to ensure quality for prototyping.

Aerospace development will undoubtedly continue to experience technological innovations and faster development cycles. However, the need for high-quality components and boards will persist. Tempo Automation, an industry leader with fast, high-quality prototyping and low-volume PCBA manufacturing processes, is experienced in developing boards that meet the demanding standards of the aerospace industry.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on sourcing aerospace qualified electronic components, contact us.

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