As summer heats up in the northern hemisphere, Smith’s operations facilities are staying cool and stable, no matter what the weather throws at us. Environmental control systems at all of Smith’s global distribution hubs are effectively controlled, monitored, and maintained to ensure that components are held at appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
“Our customers rely on us to protect their components, from the moment they arrive at our facilities until they are securely packaged and en route to their destinations,” said Art Figueroa, Smith’s Vice President of Operations and Quality, NA & EU. “Smith’s sophisticated control systems help to give our customers peace of mind, knowing that we are conscientious of the environment we create in our facilities.”
Smith’s flagship distribution center – located at our Houston, Texas headquarters – boasts a top-tier environmental control system that we have replicated at our regional hubs in Hong Kong and Amsterdam. These systems maintain consistent temperatures that range from 68 to 74°F (20-23.3°C) and relative humidities between 30 and 70 percent in each of our locations. Temperature and humidity sensors are positioned throughout the warehouse areas to effectively gauge the environmental conditions in real time. These sensors are centrally monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that components are always kept in optimal conditions. In the event of a temperature or humidity nonconformance, Smith’s climate control systems create an alert to instantly notify the warehouse’s management of the nonconformance. Notifications are also sent when doors are left open to prevent outside conditions from affecting the climate inside.
“Smith has built sufficient redundancies into the system to prevent long-term exposure of our components and allow for continuous operation,” said Figueroa. “Additionally, we can view the environmental conditions of the entire facility on a single screen with our custom display system. It’s truly invaluable, both to our customers and to our facilities-management team.”
Smith’s Houston headquarters is no stranger to heat and humidity. With average highs between 91.4 and 94.5°F (33-34.7°C) in the summer months and relative humidity above 70 percent year-round, Smith’s facilities are built to protect components from even the most oppressive summer weather.
Electronic components can suffer irreparable damage when they’re stored in hot or humid conditions. As ambient temperatures rise, materials in a component expand at uneven rates, causing stress, cracks, and distortion. Additionally, being exposed to high relative humidity levels for a sustained period can degrade and corrode components, leading to loss in conductivity and resistance factors, as well as short-circuiting. However, as relative humidity levels get too low, static electricity buildup can occur, resulting in electrostatic discharge that can permanently disable components.
In an effort to protect our products from electrostatic damage, all of Smith’s distribution centers are certified to ANSI/ESD S20.20, so all components are handled using ESD-safe materials and in accordance with ESD safe handling procedures. Furthermore, Smith packages its components in static conductive or dissipative bags, conductive foam, dissipative carriers, or other custom packaging to make sure that components maintain the appropriate relative humidity levels even after they’re shipped.
“Customers around the world look to us for high-quality products they can rely on,” said Figueroa. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that components are safeguarded and protected in optimal condition from the moment we receive them in our warehouses to when our customers unpack them at their own locations. We follow and exceed every industry best practice to achieve this.”