Yes, I remember the difficulties with component tracking and part numbers. For some reason REACH didn't see to cause the same consternation. At least not that I noticed. I guess it's becasue REACH was more of a reporting function.
Actually, among the high-end embedded board-level products we covered, RoHS seemed to affect most the manufacturers that served both mil and commercial customers, since they often ended up running two separate lines for two different versions of the "same" product. Mil-only board manufacturers were not affected much until later. One thing that did affect them both was the nightmare of components tracking and part numbers changing.
Since there were only two of us, myself and the editor-in-chief, I did a little of everything. Mostly we did not address distribution, but design and development technologies for HW and SW, comms, and a lot of board-level products and technologies. I wrote several features on RoHS, too.
As I learned working for COTS Journal, COTS doesn't just mean actual end-system computers and apps software. It can also refer more broadly to both software and hardware design and development platforms, specifically for creating end-system hardware and software used in the field. Ruggedization is taken for granted for military field use; that feature doesn't determine whether a machine is COTS. A COTS-based machine may also be further tweaked--and usually is--for specific apps. The big difference is that the military is no longer spending zillions of dollars on proprietary, entirely customized systems.
What I've heard is that the COTS stuff is used for office and support functions. When it comes to electronics out in the field, the electronics are ruggedized (and leaded) so they can withstand a difficult environment over many years.
The COTS systems, platforms, networking technologies, and software are, as the term says, commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software, meaning stuff that's originally designed and built for the rest of us. Basically, that means the military is using Windows-based laptops and other standard commercial hardware and software, as well as standard networking protocols, which is actually kind of scary. This is instead of spending zillions of dollars on designing their own stuff, like in the "good old days." Even the NSA buys a lot of standard signal-processing equipment.
Interestingly, many of the older "antiques"--more like family heirlooms--in my house are made of bio-based materials, such as wood and paper (which also used to be considered sustainable materials until we nearly used them up), or ceramics and brick, which are sustainable. Even metals were sustainable, and still are. Most of these materials are commonly found in the rubbish heaps of our ancestors, and give archaeologists a lot to study. Much of the problem with materials becoming non-sustainable has occurred in more recent times because of overuse (due in part to enormous population growth), as well as because of newer materials with complex processes and polluting wastes.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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