Industry Tackles Technology & Sourcing Issues
Military and aerospace devices used to be the gold standard for quality and performance back in the days when the U.S. defense industry was one of the world’s biggest consumers of electronics components.
Now, some industry experts believe, quality and performance advancements are being rivalled by the automotive industry.“It’s interesting — the trends we are seeing in automotive parts,” said Ron Demcko, a Fellow at component manufacturer AVX Corp. “Automotive parts are so reliable and are available in such high quantities that their performance is beginning to rival space-grade components.”Demcko shared his thoughts in the context of the Components for Military & Space Electronics Conference (CMSE) which will be held in March. Component sourcing for military and aerospace (mil/aero) applications has become more complex with the decline of defense spending. Easily-available high-quality automotive electronics could solve some sourcing problems.There is still demand for ruggedized parts in the mil/aero market but not at consumer-level volumes. Component manufacturers, seeing their ROI decline, have become reluctant to design and manufacture parts exclusively for military specifications (mil-spec). The automotive market could give demand for ruggedized parts a much-needed boost. “There are a lot of discussions around how to design for harsh environments and systems because now it’s important for commercial applications such as self-driving cars,” Demcko said. “These vehicles will have to withstand extreme desert conditions and driving snow.”