With over 20 years of experience in buying, restoring, and selling used SMT equipment, Capital Equipment Exchange technicians have seen several common issues that cause unexpected downtime in SMT equipment. While we can't promise your machines will never go down, we do hope we can help you keep production lines running at capacity as much as possible.
Any factory line downtime causes a loss of revenue that is hard for many companies to overcome. We have discovered that one primary issue that leads to equipment failure is cycling the equipment on and off. This is a common practice for companies that are doing small batch runs, or with those who power off at night.
While it seems like common sense to turn your SMT equipment off when not in use, doing so may lead to an increase in downtime, as well as failures in several different critical electrical subsystems.
Most electrical parts degrade over time with regular use. However, the constant in-rush of electrical power seems to speed up this process. Power supply failure is the primary issue that comes from frequent on-off cycling, and the one we see the most often. There are other causes of power supply failure, but that would be our first thoughts.
Power supplies are not the only failure we see within used SMT equipment, like pick and place machines, screen printers, and reflow ovens. Electrolytic capacitors are one of the board-level components within a subsystem that seems to suffer degradation and stress from on-off cycling as well.
Machine components and electronics may also begin to fail due to thermal stress. When a machine runs for hours, it can get very warm, sometimes hot. When it is shut down and allowed to cool, the next round of heat causes thermal stress. Solder joints are susceptible to this problem as well.
So what's our hot take? Leave your machines in a powered-up state and only turn them off when absolutely necessary. Even if you don't run a 24-hour operation or only manufacture in small batches, our experience indicates you will get more production time out of your SMT equipment in this way.
We have talked to many OEM manufacturers and have repaired enough equipment to see the tell-tale signs and causes of failure. If you won't take our word for it, the U.S. Department of Commerce had this to say in their presentation on Dormancy and Power On-Off Cycling Effects On Electronic Equipment and Part Reliability:
"The results of the data analysis program indicate that power on-off cycling can have a definite adverse effect upon electronic equipment reliability" (page 6-5).
Are you experiencing factory line downtime or need to replace or upgrade your PCB assembly equipment? Browse our online inventory of fully restored SMT equipment for sale. All machines from Capital Equipment Exchange are guaranteed to be production-ready.
Looking for a particular piece of equipment or looking to liquidate? Contact us today!