Circuit board conformal coating has become an increasing importance in the electronics manufacturing industry. They are specially formulated lacquers designed to shield printed circuit boards (PCBs) and related equipment from any external impacts. This not only ensures reliability of performance, but also extends the operational life span of the circuit board.
Benefits of Conformal Coatings
True to its name, conformal coating conforms to the contours of the PCB and its components, creating a thin (25 – 50 µm) protective layer on the board’s surface. This layer insulates and protects the electronic components within the circuit board against the effects of chemicals (e.g. fuels and coolants), extreme temperatures, humidity, vibrations and moisture. This, in turn, improves the performance and longevity of the equipment.
With an increasing focus on quality and reliability, and with circuit board assemblies becoming more widely used in everyday life, conformal coating offer electronic companies the ability to manufacture their products to the highest standards while eliminating costly warranty failures.
The Right Working Environment
Even with expensive, complicated testing chambers, it can be challenging to control or predict the exact operating conditions of a circuit board. The solution is to protect the electrical components from the physical demands the equipment may face.
The physical demands on equipment can range from uncontrolled decompression (an accidental drop in the pressure of a sealed system, such as an aircraft cabin) to a constantly vibrating office printer; so conformal coating should have the flexibility and the ability to expand and contract.
There should be quality checks to ensure these characteristics will be retained throughout the lifetime of the equipment, and especially during sudden, uncontrolled pressure and temperature changes.
This has been a brief overview of the nature of conformal coating in electronics manufacturing, and some of the considerations that must be taken into account when planning to integrate it.
At Advanced Technology & Manufacturing (AT&M), we can add conformal coatings to PCBs to protect components against moisture, dust, chemicals, and extreme temperatures. For your next PCB assembly project contact AT&M today.