Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

Altium Online Store

Buy any Altium Products with few clicks or send us your quote to contact our sales


Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool


    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

    The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use


    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience

    Altium Online Store

    Buy any Altium Products with few clicks or send us your quote to contact our sales


    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    Obsolescence Management of Electronic Components Throughout Product Lifetime

    Altium Designer
    |  April 30, 2018

    Cartoon-like drawing of electronic

    I know what you’re thinking. Why can’t my manager automate a process for obsolescence management of electronic components? It would be nice to have one database compatible with each user’s software. Until then, I’ve set up weekly meetings so stakeholders can collect germane information about components into a common spreadsheet. It has been working but I would like to automate with software that all departments can use effectively.

    Let’s face it, parts obsolescence happens at any place along the value chain, from protobuild to legacy production. As engineers and PCB designers are laying down components into circuits, obsolescence is not top of mind.

    During planned builds throughout the life of a product, manufacturing may be focused on customer deliverables before recognizing that Bills of Material need to be scrubbed. The information could update, real-time, if sourcing information was stored and updated universally in one database. Altium Designer 18’s unified library does this very thing, within the component’s part number, with algorithms in the background to update parts’ availability.

    Access Parts Information In One Place

    Talk of unified databases has been around for decades. Unfortunately, we needed that time to collect information into databases, and while doing this, we found complexity that required partitioning. The world and the information at our fingertips are vast and take time to organize.

    For electronic components, building schematic capture and PCB layout software required universal symbols and footprints to represent real hardware accurately. This task, alone, took decades to develop. Let alone talking about the development of Bill of Materials software.

    Knowing a part is obsolete or not recommended for new design, along with suggestions for alternates, would be helpful if located in a unified library. This drives alternate part selection during design or during production build process. Each team member can see the information before using an obsolete, or not-recommended-for-new-design, part.

    The software anticipates your need and provides the solution real time. As the process is integrated into the Project Directory for the board, the need for ad hoc meetings to manage component obsolescence become a thing of the past.

    Transparent Updating Throughout Product Life Cycle

    Little did we know that supporting life cycle of components also required access to availability. Who would have thought that vendors obsoleted parts while providing new versions that we’d have to validate into the design? Supporting a design, cradle-to-grave, included evaluating alternates for drop-ins onto existing footprints. But first, we had to find them.

    Doing this for one part every now and again wasn’t a problem, but doing this for large boards created new job categories within the ranks. Watching information about the new alternate part ripple through the enterprise’s databases soon had us all chasing our tail. That’s why I get excited when I see information anticipated and provided to me within the tools I use to accomplish my role.

    Screen capture of Altium ’s bill of materials tool

    Real-time solutions before you anticipate a problem

    Available Across Departments Within the Enterprise

    Another issue we’ve run into within the enterprise, when managing components, is with information we’d like to share across departments. With the advent of powerful databases and powerful tools to drive management information systems, we’ve had digital environments that cannot talk to one another. Or, if they can, information is lost or translated into the garbage.

    It is frustrating to recognize that my enterprise partner has information I could use. If only I could access it without having to run across the building to access another database. And if I do find updated information, I continue to walk the building to make sure it gets disseminated to all partners, so their databases are updated. It is better than digging through filing cabinets but come on, we’re in the digital age and I’m ready to access information automatically.

    Two butterflies in separate glass jars moving toward each other

    Remove barriers to obsolescence management

    Today, Altium Designer has a unified library that includes parts, their electrical specifications, their footprint and other dimensional and life cycle information. With integrated and unified knowledge of a part in one place, I and my partners can make decisions together without the need for ad hoc collection spreadsheets or weekly meetings. We all know if a part has been identified as obsolete or not for new design before we see each other in the hallways.

    Using Altium Designer 18 to integrate your printed circuit board design cycle includes the ability to integrate supply chain information into one library. This is where information about components that have historically been kept across several databases is now unified. Using ActiveBOM, several formats are available to export data, allow management information systems access, and use information without having to perform intermediate processing steps.

    If you want to know more about obsolescence management of electronic components via unified libraries, talk to an expert at Altium today.

    About Author

    About Author

    PCB Design Tools for Electronics Design and DFM. Information for EDA Leaders.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home