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.
Replaceable PCBs; vibration, heat and water (IP66) protection; dials and switches specified to last at least 1,300 selections
Surface mount technology; self-diagnostic fault codes; PCB inspection; gold plated connectors; specified for 1,800 selections
Dials and switches specified for 2,300 selections; environmental testing
Examine and operate buttons, switches and dials to try to identify any potential issues such as weakness, looseness, stiffness etc.
Ask for clear evidence of the requirements listed above, e.g.: technical specifications, drawings, photographs; test data (ideally from an independent test house), quality control data.
* Switches, dials and buttons in 10 randomly selected production machines to be tested, for each position available (e.g. on a dial), without failure in 100% of cases. Details of the actual test method is to be provided.
Power / on-off button are to meet household appliance safety standard EN60335-1 which requires switches to operate for more than 10,000 cycles.
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).
Clip in connectors
Clip in connectors are common in PCB technology and so should be neutral to very low cost.
Water and humidity protection
PCBs should already be water ingress protected to IP66 for safety reasons.
As only small amounts of gold on connectors is required, it is expected that this will add only tens of pence per PCB.
Water and humidity protection – encapsulation
Full encapsulation or waterproofing of PCBs would add a greater cost but should not be necessary if PCBs are carefully placed to avoid any damage from joint leaks.
Power surge protection
Surge protectors are commonly available and the additional cost should be low.
Surface mount technology
The use of surface mounted components could add a significant cost depending on the volumes made and production techniques available in the factory of choice.
PCB/switch testing and inspection
Any testing and inspection will add cost in terms of rig time and labour costs.
Zero Insertion Force connectors
ZIFs are a little more expensive than regular pin connector blocks
Some contactless switches, whilst very reliable, can add significant cost.