EOL doesn’t have to mean end of life as we know it
The lighting industry a chequered performance when it comes to obsoleting parts, however if you’re at the end of the supply food chain, upstream performance has much to answer for. At the led level, most companies have very stringent quality processes that handle this when a product no longer commercially makes sense to manufacture. This comes from their semiconductor heritage. In this industry, no one has a sense of humour about dropping parts with no warning, such acts can and do send semiconductor companies to the wall. The performance of other parts of the food chain vary. Our experience with optics suppliers for example is that most PCN (Product Change Notices) often relate to things like pack size quantity changes, we have often found part number changes with no such notices. I recall recently the dropping of GEN 1 EB strips from Bridgelux with no indication this was occurring, they replaced the product with albeit a direct replacement, or so the data would imply but it is not an exact replica as the led pitch and type is different. What’s the issue well if you invested a bucket of money in lensing specific to this board then that’s money done the toilet.
Process may seem onerous and costly at the pace the lighting market moves at, but if look we look at the semiconductor market the industry has a pretty simple model
- Notify of EOL(End of Life)
- Advise customer of other product options
- Notify of last buy dates
- Notify of last ship date
It has the ring of customer service written all over it.
Cree historically are great at this process and in fact it has become a recent addition to their processes as they are known for rarely dropping any led’s in their product range.
By way of this introduction it is a good time to look at Cree’s roadmap moving forward on some of their most common platforms. As part of the process this can be considered the early precursor, providing customers with information well in advance of any such notification
For your reference please see below Cree’s complete list of led components and modules that have been EOL’d