[time-nuts] Symmetricom chip scale atomic clock

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 25 11:49:31 UTC 2014

On 4/24/14, 11:14 PM, Attila Kinali wrote:
> On Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:33:06 +0300
> MailLists <lists at medesign.ro> wrote:
>> The recently acquired cash cow isn't working exactly as
>> expected/advertised. We still don't have a clue when/if the fundamental
>> (as in physics laws) design (we can't officially blame the cheap Chinese
>> manufacturer) flaw will be fixed (manufacturer replaced), but as our
>> main customer, which is used to (literally) blow up tons of (others')
>> money, isn't very concerned (for now), and the profit margin is (still)
>> high enough to replace (no questions asked, for the time being) the
>> failed units of the other (civilian/commercial) customer(s).
> Sorry, but this is was not necessary.
> Not every company is evil and not every company just works for the
> short term bottom line.
> It is very normal that problems show up in series production which
> were not visible before in the prototypes or pre-series production.

Isn't this the truth.  There's nothing like getting a few thousand units 
out in the field to find all the weird corner cases that you thought you 
had covered in your developmental test campaign.

While there might be a relatively cold calculus applied in giant mass 
production (automobile ECUs) where there's a carefully tuned analysis of 
"what does it cost to issue a recall, vs a service bulletin, vs just 
deal with the failures", I've found that in specialized high tech 
components (e.g. microwave widgets of one sort or another) the mfrs are 
all "stand-up" folks and really want to make YOUR end product 
successful, because you're going to be buying more components from them 
(maybe not the same one, but some others).

It's not like cars, where any one person buys one car every 3-8 years. 
People who specify and buy components are repeat buyers. If I am 
designing a product with any sort of production volume (or even small 
volumes) and the supplier drops the ball, especially if they do it 
twice, I'll probably think real hard about whether i need that 
component.  On the other hand, a supplier that makes the effort to make 
things right will almost certainly get my repeat business.   The 
supplier who responds to my 530 Friday afternoon email with a possible 
answer at 10PM that night, just because they happened to check in, so I 
can go in and resume tracking down the problem on Monday morning is a 
supplier that will get repeat business.

  The anomaly in the microwave component business is the hobby guy or 
gal who buys 2-3 pieces for a project, puts it on the shelf until they 
get around to doing the project 6-12 months later, and never buys again.


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