Original Date: 04/20/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Commercial Parts Process
Previously, ITT Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD) used only military parts in its defense projects. These MIL-STD-883 screened parts were chosen by design engineers and bought by the procurement department. Vendors were located by component engineers. In the early 1990s, commercial parts became a feasible option with attractive incentives such as lower cost, greater availability, and sufficient reliability for most applications compared to military parts. ITT A/CD established a multi-functional team to assess the transition from military to commercial parts throughout its defense operations.
The team initiated a commercial parts process by developing a qualification plan for procurement. Through the plan, the team conducted surveys, visited vendors, and reviewed parts data to address specific plastic encapsulated microcircuit and non-military concerns (e.g., lifetime cost, reliability, performance). Commercial part samples were also analyzed via destructive physical and soniscan analyses at ITT A/CD. This process enabled the company to develop a working preferred supplier list, and determine the critical parameters and specific application requirements of commercial parts.
After receiving customer approval, ITT A/CD produced pilot Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) devices using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts. These 32 pilot radios were subjected to more than 45,000 hours of Production Reliability Acceptance Testing (PRAT) without a single failure. Additionally, ITT A/CD ran comparison PRATs (156,500 hours) on SINCGARS military and COTS radios. The results indicated that the COTS radios were at least as good as the military radios. In November 1997, ITT A/CD initiated a COTS supplier dock-to-stock (DTS) program. As of December 1997, the company fielded 40,000 SINCGARS COTS radios and estimates 126,000 radios will be in the field by the year 2000. To date, only one field failure related to COTS parts has occurred.
The Commercial Parts process enables ITT A/CD to produce cost effective and reliable products by using commercial parts instead of military ones. In the case of SINCGARS radios (Figure 2-1), COTS parts reduced material cost by 50%, increased part availability by tenfold, and achieved reliability equivalent to military parts. In addition, the use of COTS parts eliminated the required test screens and control of detailed drawings of military parts.
Figure 2-1. SINCGARS Radio with Handset
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