End-of-life (EOL) product announcements are a ritual of the electronics industry. When newer, smaller and faster are the watchwords of new products, at some point the older, slower, larger pieces fall by the wayside, are rendered obsolete and bypassed by newer technology. It’s a fact of life and we’ve become accustom to it. So when Panasonic released the announcement stating they were exiting the aluminum snap-in capacitor business, it may have been overlooked by many in the industry. But, this is one EOL announcement to pay attention to.

Panasonic has manufactured excellent snap-in capacitors for years, they have been some of the most high-performance components in this product category. This makes Panasonic’s decision to close down those production lines more noticeable than typical EOL announcements. Panasonic will continue to be a force in the electronics components market, and we at TTI look forward to a long and stable partnership featuring Panasonic on our line card. Just not for aluminum snap-in capacitors effective with their EOL.

Not Your Average EOL Situation

Typically, when products disappear from a line card for whatever reason, there are other cross-referenced components available to take their place. That is true, to a point, with these types of capacitors. In many cases a capacitor can be cross-referenced for capacitance, temperature, voltage, size, and you are set with a fundamentally similar product from suppliers such as Nichicon, UCC, CDE and EPCOS, in addition to Vishay or KEMET. As with most everything IP&E, TTI carries a broad and deep inventory of these capacitors.

However, in many instances there is more to replacing these Panasonic capacitors with another brand and this can cause problems if you don’t pay careful attention. Beyond the standard cross-referenced characteristics mentioned above there can be ESR, life-hour specifications, foil size and more attributes to consider. In some cases there simply are not drop-in replacements for these soon to be unavailable components and in order to maintain current performance without a significant redesign to your product, you’ll need to have a custom capacitor specified and manufactured.

Another option is to arrange your product revision cycle so that you have sufficient inventory to complete production through the next product revision where the redesign can incorporate a different capacitor. This will take some supply chain work and an understanding of pipelining your inventory.

Of course, the easiest way to manage this situation is to talk with the product specialists in your local TTI branch.Discuss the options for your minimum and maximum performance envelope. Not only can TTI Specialists help you cross-reference even a non-standard replacement, if more significant parameters need to be met, they will arrange to bring factory expertise right to you.

This is especially true if you’ve been searching websites and catalogs, and have found there is not an exact match for your needs. A simple conversation about your needs with a TTI product specialist will do great things for your peace of mind. It’s the perfect way to begin the process to manage not only, your important last time buy from Panasonic, but to arrange for the even more important next time buy for your ongoing production plans. Dealing with the transition can be a significant test to your supply chain, and TTI has supply chain specialists to aid in planning your last time buyinventory to cover any issues that may result from a necessary design revision of your product, or any lead time concerns should a custom capacitor need to be manufactured. Your local TTI product specialist will make these transitions as smooth and seamless as possible.

Panasonic leaving the aluminum snap-in capacitor business is a significant event, but with some foresight, proper planning, a good transition plan from TTI now, you can avoid a great deal of trouble, later.

Jeff Ray

Jeff Ray

Jeff Ray joined TTI’s management team in 2007 and holds the position of Vice President for Supplier Marketing. He has more than 23 years experience in the electronics industry.

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