Obsolecence Engineering and Supply Chain Development for Existing Components

J. LaCosse
GS Engineering Inc., Michigan, United States

Keywords: Obsolescence, supply, reverse engineering, engineering, source

It is common for airframes, hulls, and ground vehicle platforms to be in use decades after their introduction in configurations which could never have been envisioned by the original designer. The availability of components for these platforms is a challenge for the professionals tasked with keeping these platforms ready for the men and women who rely on them to complete the mission and return home safely. When the original source of supply is no longer available, an alternative must be found or valuable equipment is rendered useless. The new component must be functionally equivalent to the legacy component, and also economically produced in the quantities required. GS Engineering presents the process and results of a successful effort to document and produce replacement main landing gear wheels for S-2T firefighting aircraft for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). During this effort, GS Engineering performed reverse engineering activities and worked with a network of suppliers to adapt the design for production using manufacturing processes appropriate for the quantity of wheels produced. These activities allowed CAL FIRE to continue to serve the firefighting needs of the State of California.