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Lifecycle Management

Diamond Systems recognizes the importance of long product life for the success of our customers' businesses. That's why we undertake great efforts to extend product lifecycles as long as possible. Generally, Diamond will maintain a product in active production indefinitely, as long as sales justify it, the required components are readily available, and testability and support remain available. Here are the various strategies we use to maintain long lifetimes for our products and help prevent or minimize the impact of component and product end of life situations for our customers.

Lifecycle Extension Strategies

Diamond Systems offers a number of programs to minimize the impact of factors that may cause a product to become obsolete. Any and all of these programs may be applied by Diamond to various products from time to time based on our determination of the need.

Transparent Upgrade Program
In some cases when key components become obsolete, if Diamond can redesign a product using newer generation components to maintain the identical functionality and connector pinout, we will do so in order to extend the active lifetime of the product. These redesigns may include additional features, however the original features are maintained in order to keep the new product fully backward compatible with the current version, so that current customers are not affected.

A recent example is our EMM-4M-XT PC/104 serial port module. This product was recently redesigned to use a new CPLD to replace an obsolete CPLD. All functionality was maintained 100% backward compatible with the previous version. The CPLD portion of the board has a different physical appearance, but all functionality is identical to the previous version.

The Transparent Upgrade Program is applied at Diamond’s discretion to products where we have a sufficient customer base to justify the continuation of the product, the replacement components are readily available, and the redesign effort can be repaid in a reasonable amount of time.

Technology Refresh Program
In some cases, Diamond may redesign a popular product when its key components reach obsolescence, with the new version maintaining backward compatibility as much as possible. A recent example is our Athena III PC/104 single board computer. This is the third generation of our popular Athena SBC, first introduced in 2001. All three models of Athena offer the same basic set of features and, to the greatest extent possible, the same connectors in the same physical locations with the same pinouts. As technology changes, some features (such as IDE) become obsolete and unavailable and are replaced with newer technologies (SATA). Every effort is made to minimize the impact of these necessary upgrades so that customers can migrate to the new generation product with a minimum of effort.

The Technology Refresh Program is applied at Diamond’s discretion to products where we have a customer base with sufficient long term demand to justify the necessary investment in product redesign.

MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) Program
In some cases where a product has been made obsolete due to low customer demand or component obsolescence, if the product is still manufacturable, Diamond may offer it under our Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) program. Diamond will determine the smallest size production lot that is economically feasible, and customers may purchase the product in this or any larger quantity, depending on market availability of the components.

Any obsolete components required for production will generally be purchased through “brokers” and may consist of factory excess or other electronics company excess inventory. Any components purchased through brokers are subject to our broker component purchase policy, which requires physical inspection and testing of all such components prior to acceptance for production. This policy helps prevent the possible use of counterfeit components as well as increases the production yield to help keep costs down.

The availability of the MOQ program is subject to Diamond's determination based on component availability and manufacturing costs, and it may not apply to all obsolete products. Please view our current list of MOQ products here.

Lifecycle Extension Program
The Lifecycle Extension Program extends the lifecycle of a product past the Last Time Buy period described above. This program is for customers who have long term demand for a product that reaches end of life and are either unable to switch to a replacement product during the Last Time Buy period or have program requirements preventing them from doing so.

Under the Lifecycle Extension program, Diamond will source the end of life components needed to build the product in quantities sufficient to meet the customer’s need. The customer is required to pay in advance for all EOL components. Diamond will then manufacture the product in specified minimum lot sizes over a specified maximum timeframe at a specified price. In this way, the customer is protected for the duration of the program and can rely on fixed material costs and leadtimes. The program may be repeated subject to market availability of the EOL components.

Details of the program are as follows:

  • Diamond will provide EOL notice and last time buy opportunity for the product
  • Customer indicates their desire to purchase the product beyond the last time buy period
  • Diamond will identify a "kit" of EOL and other critical components and establish a purchase price for the kit.
  • Diamond will establish a purchase price for the product, any minimum order quantity or minimum shipment quantity, and any time limits for production of the product.
  • Customer will pay in advance for the desired quantity of component kits.
  • Diamond will purchase the component kits and maintain them in its warehouse. These kits will be designated as customer property.
  • Diamond will utilize the customer’s component kits in quantities necessary to yield the required shipment quantity for each delivery.
  • Note that due to normal manufacturing yield plus the higher fallout from EOL components, the number of units delivered to the customer may be less than the number of component kits purchased by the customer. Diamond will provide an estimate of the excess kit quantity needed to yield the desired order quantity of the finished product. This figure is only an estimate and is not guaranteed.
  • Diamond will credit the customer’s invoice for a percentage of the kit price times the quantity of units shipped. This percentage is normally 85% but may be changed based on Diamond’s determination. This percentage will be provided at the start of the program.
  • From time to time Diamond has other customers who may be interested in buying EOL products. Customer may therefore elect to sell unneeded component kits back to Diamond at a price to be negotiated between the parties. However Customer is under no obligation to sell, and Diamond is under no obligation to repurchase, any component kits.
  • If the product purchased by the customer is nonstandard in any way, Diamond may require a partial or full prepayment for the order. Any prepayment will be amortized over the number of units in the entire order, so that a portion of it will be applied to each delivery over the life of the program.
  • All orders under the Lifecycle Management Program are final and firm and may not be canceled, reduced, or pushed out unless agreed to by Diamond in its sole discretion.

What causes a product to reach end of life (EOL) or be declared obsolete?

Generally, Diamond will maintain a product in active production indefinitely, as long as sales justify it, the required components are readily available, and testability and support remain available. Many of our I/O boards have been in active production for 20 years. However there are cases when products are taken out of production. Diamond may determine a product to be EOL or obsolete if any of the following occur:

  • Sales of the product are not sufficient to warrant continued production of the product. This determination may be based on either the total units sold over a given time period or the number of customers buying the product.
  • One or more key components used in the product have become obsolete, and a suitable replacement is not available without a significant redesign effort. This typically occurs when a processor or an FPGA are made obsolete by the manufacturer.
  • 3. A newer generation product is offered for sale which provides a substantial improvement over the current product and provides a suitable upgrade for the current product. This will typically occur if the new product has the equivalent features as the current product, and the connector and software interfaces are either identical or similar to a high degree, so that the migration effort by the customer is minimized.

End of Life Notice and Last Time Buy

Diamond makes reasonable efforts to provide advance notice of a product’s obsolescence and to provide the opportunity to purchase the product for a certain period of time after the EOL announcement. In most cases, these timeframes are as follows:

  • Diamond will provide 6 month advance notice to all existing customers of a product prior to taking the product out of production (the EOL date)
  • Customers may place Last Time Buy orders on or before the EOL date for delivery of the product up to 6 months past the EOL date.
  • Minimum shipment quantities may apply for deliveries after the EOL date.
  • Partial or full prepayment may be required for deliveries of large quantities. Prepayment may apply to the full purchase price of the product or may be limited to the cost of the EOL components, subject to Diamond’s determination. Any such prepayment will be amortized over the number of units in the entire order, so that a portion of it will be applied to each delivery over the life of the program.
  • All orders under the Last Time Buy Program are final and firm and may not be canceled, reduced, or pushed out unless agreed to by Diamond in its sole discretion.

Lifecycle definitions

Active: this product is in the early or intermediate stage of its lifecycle. This product is recommended for design into new applications because the expected lifetime is equal to or longer than the typical application’s lifecycle, or else the expected end of life is not known / not possible to determine.
NRND (not recommended for new designs): (commonly referred to as Continued Availability) This product is nearing the end of its lifecycle, meaning that Diamond expects to take it out of production in the next 1-2 years. Existing customers and one-time orders are still supported, however this product should not be selected for a new design-in activity that is expected to have ongoing requirements for more than 1-2 years.
EOL (end of life) or Obsolete: This product is no longer offered for general sale. However it may still be offered to select customers under our MOQ or Obsolete product programs.
MOQ (Minimum order quantity): This product is offered for general sale as long as a minimum quantity is ordered in a single shipment. This quantity is typically 50 units, however it may vary from product to product. An MOQ product may be in any of the above lifecycle stages: Active, NRND, or EOL.