A Very Special Special
A well-known company needed to duplicate a thermocouple alarm they had bought from Action Instruments decades ago. Action was no longer able to provide it so they turned to us.
Action's original "Action Pak" line (Action's trademark) once included alarm modules with extra options such as retransmitting outputs and remote setpoint inputs. 20-pin headers (pin bases) were required to provide the extra connections. As far as we are aware these headers are no longer available.
Our customer's requirement was a nonstandard version of one of those alarms. We replied that we could provide the same function but with a different connection arrangement. This was not acceptable - it was for a nuclear power application and they could not vary the system design. Only one piece, but they were willing to pay for it.
Once again we got lucky. In 1995 we had purchased some 20 pin headers for another customer's need and had a handful left. Our customer bought one (couldn't convince them to buy a spare) - even sent an inspector to Florida to do a source inspection. That was 2008. In 2009 they again bought one and just now ordered two more! Possible future problem - after this order we have only five headers left.
(Note: We do not sell nuclear-approved products. This alarm was sold as "standard commercial quality" for a noncritical application.)
Technical detail: the custom alarm module has two retransmitting 0-1V analog outputs, one proportional to temperature and the other proportional to the setpoint. Our customer was able to supply us with Action's specifications and we designed it to be functionally identical. Here's the functional diagram.