Part Status: Obsolescence Process Explained

We receive many questions with wording similar to: “Is there a timeline for when this particular part will become obsolete?” While it would be nice to know this info, manufacturers either handle this in a different way and/or will not provide all the details on their production plans due to business strategy. This post aims to explain how most manufacturers usually approach updating part status.

Here is how most manufacturers update statuses of parts: There is a review process set up where companies evaluate active parts after a given time frame (sometimes yearly, monthly, quarterly, etc…) to see if there are changes in technology. If they find that a certain technology/design is being phased out along with other factors such as the declining popularity and use of particular parts, they update the status of the part to something else other than “Active”. Then, they usually inform the distributors as soon as possible of this change of status and often provide a PCN (part change notification) to go with that update.

Statuses

Active
A product/component is actively being produced and sold. Some parts will have this status indefinitely, some will have it for years and years, some will only show that for a very short time (this all depends on the type of technology/component). We will be notified near/at the time when a product does change status, we rarely get this notification beforehand.

Some manufacturers do offer an “average life cycle” for particular parts. Either the datasheets or the manufacturer’s website has this information.

Discontinued By Digi-Key
The item has been discontinued by us for whatever reason (there are a lot of factors that go into that decision). The component/product may still be active on the manufacturer’s website. This is one case where you will have to go to the manufacturer’s site to check the status. If you can’t find the status, please reach out to us so we can assist in that on the Forum.

Not Recommended for New Design
Not Recommended for New Design status is the first sign a component/product is soon approaching the end-of-life phase.

A product that is NRND (Not Recommended for New Designs) is in production and available, usually with no known schedule for obsolesence. NRND typically means that the manufacturer anticipates or has seen a decline in customer sales for a given device and thus it is likely that the device will be discontinued at some time in the future. We do not yet have a last-time buy date or discontinued date.

The next status actually indicates the part is in the EOL (end-of-life) phase.

Last Time Buy
This indicates the part now has limited stock and once it’s out of stock, it will not be sold anymore. If there is no stock left on these parts, the status is eventually changed to Obsolete.

The next status is the final stage of the EOL phase.

Obsolete
The part is no longer made. Once there is no stock, the part cannot be ordered.

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Updated to show the other statuses parts can have.