Article from Electronics Sourcing Magazine

First published in Electronics Sourcing April 2015

Force Technologies

If anyone had asked me, 10 years ago, where Force Technologies would be in 2015, I would have probably said “still growing slightly each year and still manufacturing memory components.” But how wrong I would have been! Force now claims a place as a leading European manufacturer of replacements for obsolete semiconductors. Our customer base has tripled in size and we now have distributors and representatives in 13 countries worldwide.

Not only have we increased our product portfolio to include analogue, linear and diode products, but we also offer die reclamation, FPGAs, FPGA to structured ASIC, hybrid or standard cell conversions and ASICs. By using a library of intellectual property (IP) cores, or by re-introducing otherwise dis-continued masks, Force has managed to reproduce devices that are form, fit and function (FFF) identical to the original OEM or close enough to be acceptable to the project. These devices are manufactured using Mil-prf-38535 and tested to various specifications including Mil-Std-883 M5004. We have even undertaken project management of semiconductor from design to production when all other options have been discounted.

Market changes

The aerospace market over the past 10 years has, in my opinion, changed for the worse. A decade ago there were several reputable companies selling military grade product and buyers knew what they were buying. Many of these companies, however, were swallowed up by large distributors and military product sales decreased. Coupled with the reduction in defence contracts, this led to a significantly different buying culture.

Today’s military buyers have a bill of materials (BOM) that must be fulfilled for the cheapest price and the quickest delivery. Most obsolescence end-of-life (EOL) part orders are placed last minute, which leads to panic buying. Of course the internet has not helped the situation either. It has allowed counterfeit product to be brought into the supply chain, which is very hard to remove and destroy.

Anti-counterfeiting

For many years Force offered a comprehensive anti-counterfeit testing service, which encompassed many levels of testing. There are companies in the market now offering a cheaper test under the same guise, however they often provide only a quick look at the curve tracer to certify a component. Only true test processes can really be a guarantee of component authenticity.

Fortunately, the aerospace industry over the past 10 years has implemented the AS quality accreditation, which goes above and beyond ISO 9000 in so many ways. We, at Force, take great pride in our AS9100 accreditation, which we were first awarded in 2010. We have completed four audits in succession with no non-conformances, either major or minor. According to BSI, very few small companies have achieved such a record.

Continued Support

Has Force Technologies evolved to meet the market? I would say yes, with new product ranges, new technologies and new innovations. What hasn’t changed in the past 10 years, or even the past 28 years since the company started in 1986, is our commitment to customers, dedication to quality and our unfailing effort to go that extra mile for loyal customers.

And the next 10 years? Force intends to expand its UK facility to perform more production and engineering functions in house, continue into AS9100 rev D with a clean record and still provide the same 100 per cent commitment and support to customers.

Karen Salmon
Managing Director
Force Technologies Ltd.