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The Durability of Electronics:
Myth and Reality

Last updated: 05/27/2024

In relation to electronics, whether entertainment or industrial electronics, one often hears the claim that devices are deliberately programmed or manipulated to have a limited lifespan. There is some truth to this statement, but much also stems from misunderstandings.

Today, it is possible to determine the lifespan of individual components. LEDs, for example, have an average lifespan of 40,000 hours. Some manufacturers even provide this information. These timeframes are based partly on experience and partly on the right operating conditions to achieve them. Factors such as heat, humidity, and dust play a role.

The fact is that all components have a limited lifespan. Manufacturers sometimes use cheaper components that cost less but also last shorter, are less robust, and are more susceptible to heat and cold. These components wear out faster.

In the industrial sector, where reputation is particularly important, renowned manufacturers usually rely on high-quality and robust components. These assemblies, for example in drive technology, are correspondingly more expensive and can often last over 20 years.

Naturally, the stress and environmental influences on the electronics also matter. The same electronics may last significantly longer in Central Europe than in Asia. Assemblies from Asian devices often wear out faster because they are exposed to humid and salty climates.

In our workshop, we frequently see assemblies from China for repair that, although cleaned and refurbished on the outside, are completely corroded inside and full of salt and dirt deposits. Such components are often so damaged that they can no longer be repaired.

Constant exposure to heat can also shorten the lifespan of certain components. This is particularly true for electrolytic capacitors and recently for optocouplers that sit directly on the transistor end stages. These components wear out faster and often do not even reach 10% of the lifespan specified by the manufacturer.

In power electronics, a lot of energy is converted, and energy means heat. Machine operators who do not ensure adequate cooling and airflow of the drive electronics must expect more frequent machine failures.

Extend the Lifespan of Machines and Reduce Failures
  1. Monitor the temperature in the control cabinet and clean or replace fans.
  2. Follow the manufacturers recommendations and replace wear parts in time.
  3. Regularly check and clean motors and drive modules. Check fans for functionality and dirt.

By following these simple measures, you can significantly increase the lifespan of electronics, thereby reducing costs and downtime.

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