Sourcing Strategies Sustainability

Component sourcing the ‘green’ way

Laws covering the reduction of waste, such as the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2012/19/EU) and the UK’s Right-to-Repair Law introduced in 2021, are aimed at preventing the creation of WEEE; and the re-use and repair of end-equipment.

In the past, surplus components were scrapped rather than allowing them to re-enter the market in a controlled manner. Many of the raw materials were recovered, but the sunk costs in the original component (in energy and resources), were lost. In addition, the recovery process is itself highly energy intensive and has a very poor carbon-footprint.

Today, many of the world’s semiconductor manufacturers have eliminated the scrapping of surplus components by engaging the services of an Authorised After-Market Distributor. Authorised After-Market sources, such as Rochester Electronics, receive all surplus stock and keep it within the authorised AS6496 ‘bubble’. As partners of the semiconductor manufacturers, they act as a trusted instant source of product when demand again starts to outstrip supply.

Component discontinuations present customers, and service providers, with a stark choice: commit to the purchase of a Last-Time-Buy (LTB) quantity of parts to cover all future needs; and/or re-design and re-qualify the end-product. A LTB purchase will be based on the best market forecasts available at the time. But what-if circumstances change, or in-service life is increased?

Semiconductor manufacturers themselves also struggle to precisely match supply with LTB demand. Surpluses inevitably arise, and these also risk the possibility of scrap and waste. An Authorised After-Market Distributor and Licensed Manufacturer can again provide a risk-free safety net to help protect against these uncertainties and reduce waste.

Long-standing relationships with semiconductor manufacturers mean that Rochester Electronics receives billions of surplus EOL semiconductors each year. In many cases, in addition to finished goods, surplus wafer/die, test equipment, and tooling are also transferred allowing ongoing authorised production, sometimes 20-30 years after the original component EOL.

The focus in the past has been on applications where robustness and longevity are the prized attributes. Legislation such as WEEE and The Right to Repair highlight a need for these attributes in components across a broader spectrum of applications and markets.

In our efforts to preserve the environment and maintain environmentally sustainable processes, we are continuously reviewing our manufacturing inputs as well as outputs to ensure EPA compliance.

For further information, visit the Rochester Electronics website.

This article originally appeared in the May issue of Procurement Pro