Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) equipment is widely available through multiple suppliers for most applications. However, there are times you need to design a custom solution with custom equipment. As you design your system, you will need evaluate your requirements and plan accordingly.
The decision whether to use COTS or custom equipment generally follows these considerations: time and money, support, and company standards.
Time and Money: This speaks for itself. If there is a product available that delivers the performance that your application requires, is it cost competitive to invest the time and money to re-engineer a custom solution? The COTS equipment may have more bells and whistles than you need but it may be cheaper and faster solution in the long run.
Support: Once a system is built and commissioned, it now has to be supported through end of life. What is the best solution for your repair team to maximize uptime? Can you easily repair the custom solution? What inventory levels will you need for equipment swaps for repair and calibrations? These are a few of the questions you must ask yourself when deciding what approach is best for your company.
Company Standards: Do you have a product that has worked well or maybe hasn’t worked so well for your company in the past? Do you have an inventory of spare equipment that can be utilized? You will want to ask these and more questions to help reach a decision.
This is not an easy decision because there is no right or wrong answer. Each company must invest into the decision as a strategy that can yield positive returns. At Ball Systems, we pride ourselves in providing the best solutions for our customer’s needs. That requires understanding all of the elements that impacts the delivered test solution and a major portion of that is the selection of the equipment used to build the system.
For more information on how we used COTS equipment in one of our latest projects, check out this case study.
Ball Systems designs, develops, and delivers custom test systems and produces comprehensive build-to-print systems for companies creating or manufacturing critical electronic or electro-mechanical components for automotive, aerospace and defense and consumer appliance applications.