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Control panel Control panel

Summary

  • Failure mode Malfunction can occur due to dirt and moisture ingress.
  • Durability feature Use of minimum IP54 sealed touchpads or water proof I55 sealed touchpads for better performance.
  • Cost

Good practices

  • Good practicesMinimum IP54 sealed control panel
  • Good practices Tested to demonstrate moisture resistanc

Bad practices

  • Bad practices<IP54 control panel
  • Bad practices Aggressive or abrasive cleaning chemicals

Key facts

  • 15% of microwaves are replaced within 3 years because they fail or are unreliable. 

Icon key

  • Failure mode Failure mode
  • Durability features Durability features
  • Cost saving Cost saving
  • Low cost Low cost
  • Cost neutral Cost neutral
  • High cost High cost

Key failure modes

Membrane switch controls or separate push-button switches are the most common type of microwave controls. Dirt and moisture ingress can cause short circuits.

Early and later in lifetime

  • Poorly sealed switch units may cause false connections between electrical contact of the button. The voltage and current passed is very small so any dirt and moisture can bridge these contacts to cause a false connection. 
  • Membrane switches are susceptible to moisture and water vapour can diffuse though the outer polymer membrane at high humidity.
  • Poor cleaning practices by customers can move water and dirt between contacts if there are gaps in the controls.

Specification for improved performance - touchpad

The specification below provides the recommended improvements needed to improve product durability. They are ranked from bronze to gold based on the effectiveness of the change in improving durability, with bronze being the minimum and gold being the maximum.

IP54 sealed unit; temperature / humidity cycle tested

  • Switches should be rated for at least IP54 (5 = protected against dust and 4 = protected against water spray from all directions).

IP55 or better sealed unit; salt mist tested

  • Superior performance will be achieved by IP55 or better sealed switches; IP67 switches are widely available
  • Membrane switch units and push-button switches need to be sealed (e.g. below a flexible water-proof membrane) so that moisture and dirt entry into switch mechanisms cannot occur. The seal needs to be flexible and not be degraded by heat or cleaning chemicals.

Testing to demonstrate performance

  • Water and dust-resistance is tested using a “composite temperature/humidity cyclic test” EN 60068-2-38. Check that your supplier has used this test and that the switches function correctly at the end of this test.
  • A more severe test for reliability of ovens that is the test in BSI BS EN 60068-2-52 “Environmental testing Part 2: Tests Test Kb. Salt mist cyclic (sodium chloride solution)”. Test for 96 hours as this should be sufficient to assess the moisture seals of switches.

Cost implications – Touchpad

Improved reliability of components can reduce early returns and improve brand reputation which, in turn, can lower business costs and increase long-term sales.

To calculate overall cost savings for your business, use the WRAP cost/benefit analysis tool (currently in draft form and available on request).

Saving

Neutral

IP54 sealed switches 

Use of IP54 touchpads should be standard at no additional cost.

Low cost

IP55 sealed switches 

IP55 switches or better and IP67 are widely available and will be waterproof. Additional cost depends on the number of switches used in each oven.

High cost