Did you ever pull a spare part out of the store room only to discover that just when you needed it, it doesn’t work? Pretty darn irritating! Here’s a little advice for safe storage of your industrial electronics, long or short term storage.
Let’s say you bought a CNC circuit board, or even had one repaired, six months ago to keep as a spare and put it directly into the spare parts store room. Safe right? What could go wrong? Plenty as it turns out.
Here are just some of the risks:
- Moisture – the enemy of all electronics that causes all kinds of trouble including microcracking, popcorning, delamination and solder joint failures.
- Heat – the other enemy of all electronics
- Oxidation/corrosion of finishes
- IMC – Diffusion and Intermetallic growth between coatings to the surface damaging solderability
- Physical damage/Dirt – usually due to sloppy storage habits and systems as well as excessive nearby vibration
Basic tips to protect your electronic spares:
- Store your electronic equipment in Moisture Vapor Barrier Bags (MVBs). Thicker is better so buy the best you can afford.
- Vacuum and heat seal the bags to remove as much air as possible.
- Use properly sized desiccant bags to absorb any moisture and include a moisture/humidity card which can detect any moisture. This will let you know the storage bag has been compromised, meaning it is more likely the equipment in the bag may not work
- Keep your spares at a consistent and cool temperature – between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit
- Invest in the best moisture-free environment you can afford. Best choice is a Dry Atmosphere Cabinet to maintain a very low humidity (>5% Relative Humidity). By using this type of cabinet you can forego the MVBs.
- Have a dedicated Storeroom, keep it secure and keep strict records on what parts come and go
- Locate your storeroom away from dirt and moisture, as well as excess vibration especially if you are storing motors.
- Don’t panic. If you discover your components or assemblies have accidentally been exposed to moisture you can still usually save them by using a low-temperature baking cabinet and then re-packing them properly.
These are just a few tips. There are excellent standards publicly available for this kind of safe storage for industrial electronics. You can find more information at sites such as http://www.jedec.org/ .
If you find your equipment is damaged during use or did not survive storage, you may need industrial electronic repairs. Most industrial electronic equipment, including older and out of warranty electronics, can be repaired at a considerable savings over buying new.
If your equipment is still under warranty, contact the OEM about repairs. If it is out of warranty, contact an independent industrial electronic repair center to find out if they are a good fit for your company and your particular repair needs. They should offer free evaluations for your damaged equipment and, if needed, a free quote for repairs (no bench fees!). They should also provide repair reports and a good warranty of at least one year that covers both parts and labor.
About the Author: ACS Industrial Services is an independent industrial electronic repair center providing repair services for printed circuit boards of all types and manufacturers, drives, servo motors, encoders, monitors and touchscreens, PLCs, test equipment, and much more. Our customer service team is available to answer your questions and help solve your industrial electronic repair concerns. You can reach them by calling 800-605-6419 or going to www.acsindustrial.com .