27 Jun 2023 -
 General

Electronic components sell-by dates: do they go off?

rotten deal

Customers should avoid specifying a general date code restriction on new orders for electronic components, recommends the ECIA (Electronic Components Industry Association) in this new policy document

General date code restrictions unnecessarily delay the order entry process and delay the order fulfillment process, resulting in delayed service to the customer, says the ECIA. The ECIA member component manufacturers and their authorized distributors recommend that general date code restrictions be eliminated from purchase order requirements for electronic components.

“Historically, some electronic component customers have expressed concerns that after a certain period, electronic components are no longer ‘fresh’ and appropriate for use in electronic products,” said ECIA Vice President of Industry Practices Don Elario. “Forty years ago, there may have been some truth to this perception. However, the last four decades of process improvements by electronic component manufacturers have all but eliminated concerns related to component age.”

General date code restrictions unnecessarily delay the order entry process and delay the order fulfillment process, resulting in delayed service to the customer, says Elario, claiming that general date code restrictions result in further aging inventory in the supply chain by disrupting normal FIFO (First-In First-Out) consumption.

“Unnecessary date code restrictions also add non-value-added costs to every step of the supply chain – for component manufacturers, distributors, and for end customers,” he said.

Due to the advances made in engineering, design, manufacturing technology, handling, and storage, general date code restrictions are not justified, says the ECIA.

For example, prior to 1995 the military specification MIL-PRF38535 (section 3.10) required a military part be re-tested if not used within three years of the marked date code and after extensive study, this military specification was revised to remove date code restrictions altogether. The revised version simply states that product must be “solderable upon delivery”. MIL-PRF-19500P now prohibits date code restrictions on military component orders (section 6.2.i). The origin of many customer date code specifications may be attributed to this now revised military standard and have no factual or empirical basis.

To avoid electronics supply-chain disruptions, you may also wish to consult an expert in electronics component supply. With more than three decades of supply-chain expertise, Astute Electronics is ideally placed to work with you on your daily component requirements.

For more help with looking at supply chain options, contact Astute Electronics

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