Packing Circuit Board for Return
No matter how good a product is, or how carefully you treat it, sometimes something happens and hardware will need to be returned to us for repair, or for credit. Maybe there was a lighting strike, or somebody dropped a tool, or a chip failed after 10 hours of use, or, or, or. It happens, and it a part of doing business which needs to be addressed. I covered in a previous posting what our warranty policy is,
but once you know something needs to be sent back to us there are a few thinks to be aware of.
1. The box you use
Shipping is expensive, you need to consider not just the weight of the items being shipped, but also the size of the box, this is the dimensional weight. Shipping companies such as UPS, and FedEx have a standard they use which equates the volume of a box with a weight. To use totally made up numbers as an example, say a box is 10cm x 10 cm x 10cm, and the shipping company equates that to 1 kg. If the package you are shipping is physically smaller than this but weights 1.5 kg, they are going to bill you on the 1.5kg. If the package you have is physically twice as big, even if it weighs only 500g, they are going to bill you as though it is 2 kg.
USE THE SMALLEST BOX YOU CAN
If you walk into a shipping company store, and ask them to supply a box, I can almost guarantee you will end up with a box significantly larger than you need, which will cost you extra in shipping. If we are returning the board to you after repair, we will usually return it in the same box you sent it in. If this is an non-warranty issue it means you are paying extra, twice.
This box is much too large for the products; the paper fill at the bottom of the box will also add weight.
The solution to this problem:
SAVE YOUR BOXES
You don't need to save all the boxes we ship stuff to you in, but save a few of various sizes. Reusing this boxes isn't just better for the environment, but it will save you in shipping fees. For example, we have a box that we use to ship Console Control Computers, we ordered these boxes specifically for the computer, save a couple.
This is our Console Control Computer inside the box we have specifically for it. Only a little bit of space around it for cushioning during shipping.
2. Packing Material
These are circuit boards, as such they can be damaged due to static discharge. When we ship circuit boards they are wrapped in a pink bubble wrap, we don't use pink rather than the ordinary clear or white because we want to stand out, but rather pink bubble wrap is anti-static. Alternatively you can put a circuit board in a foil sleeve if you have any. Your circuit board will usually be ok if you get stuck using non-anti-static wrap, but better safe than sorry.
You probably don't want to keep rolls of bubble wrap around like we do:
so, if it isn't too mangled with packing tape, you could save some of the bubble wrap from stuff we send you.
USE ANTI-STATIC BUBBLE WRAP OR FOIL SLEEVE
pink anti-static bubble wrap
Styrofoam is bad. Don't use it as filler material unless you have used something anti-static around the circuit board itself.
This box used ordinary packing material around the board, but the board itself is inside the foil bag, so this is ok.
Inside the front of your Technical Reference Manual you may find an RMA document (Return Material Authorization) photocopy it (or print a copy from your digital manual), fill it out, and put it inside the box. This way the person here who opens the box will know what it is for and what to do with it. If you do not have an RMA for this job you can use a piece of paper telling us what job it came from and why you are sending it back, for example: C587, getting no outputs on pins 57-59. This is especially true if you have been saving up boards from multiple installations and are only getting around to returning them months or years (it has happened) later. Itemize each item.
Generic Return Material Authorization
If your box needs to cross and international boarder, you must have a customs declaration. Make sure you identify on the customs documents that it is "Return to Manufacturer for Repair" or "Warranty Replacement" or something to that effect AND that there is no commercial value. If you put a value on the item customs will charge taxes based on that value. You need to inform customs that this item is not being sold to us and will in fact be returning to your country.
Remember Customs Declaration
Box 'Declaration' and a waybill provided by a shipping company