Information retrieval with SESAM

Besides the analyses and determinations outlined above, further focal points of our activities are services with our SESAM information retrieval system (selective electronic part search, evaluation and management system).

Especially in the case of electronic components, searching for components (e.g. obsolete components etc.) is a service that can be rendered by specialised firms against reimbursement of the costs.

Throughout the world, several thousand suppliers and manufacturers offer their products directly or through component brokers. In many cases, daily prices and prices staggered according to volumes apply, making a comparison or a search for low-cost delivery sources difficult.

EUROMAT GmbH offers a worldwide search and determination of components available at low cost as a service as follows:

EUROMAT GmbH possesses a supplier and procurement source search system which goes by the name of SESAM: More than 20 million components are stored in a central database. Among other things, the database also includes the majority of all components that are listed in the military sector by the US armed forces and NATO. For almost every listed component (including details of the manufacturer part number, alternative part number and stock number etc.), the database contains a series of further data such as the original manufacturer, suppliers, dealers and technical data as well as a so-called "procurement history", i.e. a list for each respective component specifying at what price, depending on diverse volume orders, manufacturers or suppliers have delivered the component to the 20 largest maintenance areas of the US armed forces in the USA.

The advantage of this database is that, already with reference to the part number, further alternative part numbers (from other manufacturers) are listed, and so further procurement options are recognisable. On the basis of the technical specification (e.g. with slightly modified single values), a search can also be run for further alternatives using diverse search parameters which, for instance, can then be used with modified MTBF values or similar technical data or tolerance values etc.

A second database lists several thousand manufacturers, suppliers and component brokers with their products and offerings.

When we receive a query regarding the delivery of specific components, we proceed as follows:

The part numbers are entered, if possible with further data such as the original manufacturer etc. The SESAM search function is started, and a comparison is run against the delivery spectrum in the vendor database. Delivery options are determined and price data of diverse manufacturers is analysed. Price differences are usually encountered because suppliers charge staggered prices that are differentiated according to ordered values, delivery time and terms of purchase. Through an analysis of the "procurement history", we find out whether an offered price is a usual market price or whether it is overpriced.

The result of the search is communicated in accordance with the customer's requirements. If necessary, it is converted to an automatic order transaction (fax/email).

If the automatic search should not be successful, further possibilities are considered manually, e.g. direct contact of specialised brokers.

It is often difficult to determine the original manufacturers because there are second source manufacturers who, to some extent, do not keep to the original specification. By contrast, there is a series of manufacturers who produce components that deviate from the original specifications in relation to slight details only, but whose components can be used for diverse application areas without any negative impact on functioning or reliability.

This is of particular interest with regard to the development of devices and systems that have to be manufactured in accordance with cost-effectiveness criteria.

Here, EUROMAT GmbH offers a service in the form of an MTBF and reliability analysis.

The background of these services is as follows:

When developing devices and systems, developers like to use components with which they have normally gathered good experience or which have been optimised in certain developments (for example, a developer likes to mainly use components from one specific firm). Often, these components are high-value parts, e.g. MIL components that are particularly temperature-resistant or which feature applicable tolerances. When developing details, not every developer considers whether a slightly modified variant or a more cost-effective component that largely conforms to the specification can be used, particularly with regard to the aspect of overall device reliability (MTBF). (The overall MTBF of a device is dimensioned according to the "weakest link in the chain", i.e. the lowest MTBF value of a component.)

For example, if an overall MTBF is now determined in accordance with MIL-HDBk 217 and a graphical analysis is generated, you immediately recognise the outstanding MTBF values and you can then optimise the overall MTBF, for example in accordance with cost-effectiveness criteria or other requirements:

That is to say, by reference to the MTBF graphic, you can either optimise the peak values of some outstanding components (this normally results in cost savings because, generally, high MTBF values are considerably more expensive) or, to some extent, the overall MTBF can be substantially increased by eliminating the lowest MTBF values (replacement by components with better MTBF values).

After the cost drivers or the "weaknesses" have been determined, a search is run in the SESAM system for relevant alternatives. The results found are submitted to the developer or the responsible staff members for a decision. According to our experience, it often transpires during the course of assessment by the developer that other components can easily be used without any negative impact on functioning, but with optimised values. Refer to the enclosed examples of MTBF analyses.