Conformal coatings used in transport protection

Conformal coatings are used all over the world in so many diverse applications.

One of the largest areas is in transportation.

Conformal coatings protect circuit boards in many sectors of the transport market for both commercial and military applications.

These include:

  • Aerospace (Planes, UAV, rockets)
  • Automotive (cars, motorcycles & commercial vehicles)
  • Rail (Passenger and freight)
  • Sea (Ships of all descriptions)

Of course the reasons for the use of conformal coating are for safety critical reliability improvement and not just inconvenience to the user if the electronics fail.

This makes transport one of the largest sectors for conformal coating use in the world.

It also has some of the most stringent conformal coating standards for the materials to pass.

Conformal coatings protect many different transportation systems including air, land and sea
Conformal coatings protect many different transportation systems

Need help with your conformal coating process?

Contact Nexus now and let us show you how we can help you.


Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus website and ebook

Dr Lee Hitchens is the Author of the Nexus eBook and a main contributor to Nexus.

 

Where are conformal coatings being used?

Conformal coatings are being used as protection in ever increasing electronic applications across a wide range of market sectors.

In the past, conformal coating was only applied to military and safety critical products like medical devices as the cost and the process of doing this was high.

However, the emphasis on reliability has changed.

In recent years, the development in materials and new processes, linked with the customer requirement of a reliable electronic product that isn’t safety critical, has meant consumer electronics products must now be protected as well.

With the new technologies like wearable electronics becoming more popular then this trend will only increase and protecting the electronics with a coating of some description will become even more commonplace.

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Traditional markets like aerospace, automotive and military sectors still use conformal coatings. However, the growth in use across many other sectors is significant due to customers requiring reliable products for consumer electronics

So what sectors are using conformal coatings and other thin film technologies?

Due to the fact that conformal coatings provide several key benefits including moisture and insulation properties, chemical resistance and particulate protection, this means they can be used anywhere there is a need for a higher reliability than that which is achieved without the coating.

It is possible to identify both traditional and emerging sectors where conformal coatings are being applied.

These include sectors such as:

  • Aerospace
  • Defence
  • Automotive
  • Telecommunications
  • Wearable technologies
  • Consumer electronics
  • Tablets and computers
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Transport
  • White Goods
  • Geothermal
  • LEDs
  • Solar Panels
  • Marine and Coastal Environment
  • Space
  • Medical

Each market sector has a distinct set of requirements in terms of standards, operating environments as well as other factors that impact on the requirements.

The challenge is for the engineer to define the requirements and the suppliers to provide the protection at a commercially effective price.

To find out more click conformal coating basics to discover why conformal coatings are used and what they actually do to protect the circuit boards and products.


Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus website and ebook

Dr Lee Hitchens is the Author of the Nexus eBook and a main contributor to Nexus.

Why use a conformal coating to protect a circuit board?

A fundamental question asked quite often is why do I need to coat?

After all, it costs money and it can be difficult to process. Not very attractive to use it!

However, there are several reasons why a traditional liquid conformal coating or Parylene could be used to protect a printed circuit board (PCB).

These reasons include:

  • Improving the insulation protection of the circuit
  • Increasing the protection of the circuit from attack from high moisture and humidity
  • Increasing the circuits chemical and temperature resistance
  • Making the circuit board more resilient through ruggedisation
  • Improving the dielectric properties of the printed circuit board
  • Creating barrier protection from liquids such as water, blood etc
  • Stopping the board surface getting dirty from contamination that can lead to corrosion long term

To find out more about these reasons read our section why use a conformal coating?


How can we improve Nexus?

Let me know your thoughts on the content and how we can improve our services ?

Contact me directly by email lhitchens@nexus3c.com now.

Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus website and ebook
Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus

How do I select a conformal coating?

Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus website and ebook
Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus

I am regularly asked how I would go about choosing a conformal coating?

I normally respond to the person involved by asking an awful lot of questions and they wonder what they got themselves in to!

Why do I have to ask a lot of questions?

The questions are there because choosing a conformal coating process is a complicated process usually balancing a lot of important trade-offs and compromises.

When I consider the question I actually see three major parts of the complete process.

These parts are:

  1. The conformal coating material
  2. The application method
  3. The circuit board design

When you consider these three points you have to balance them to create the best compromise process solution that suits your requirements.

This is what I call the Holistic Approach to conformal coating.

So, what should you do next?

It is tempting to consider one of these parts in isolation.

However, this could be a mistake.

After all, the wrong choice can be devastating to the conformal coating production process as a whole and even worse, the reliability of your product.

 

I feel that to identify the best conformal coating material and application process there are several key factors that you need to consider that, if you are lucky, will add up to at least one sensible process choice.

Factors to be considered include:

  • Temperature operating range
  • International, customer or National Standards
  • Environmental considerations of the circuit board
  • Requirement to rework the conformal coating
  • Conformal coating material type
  • Application process considerations
  • Curing the conformal coating
  • National, State, Regional Legislation and Insurance
  • Supplier performance and availability
  • Price

To find out more about these factors visit Nexus and see how we recommend you select a conformal coating through the holistic approach.

 

Ever wondered what a conformal coating is actually made of?

Conformal coating is a kind specialized paint or varnish that is made of volatile and non-volatile components.

A Background on Paint and Varnish

The ISO 4618: 2014 defines paint and varnish as a liquid, paste-like or powder product which, when applied to a circuit board or other substrate, results in a coating.

Hence, conformal coating is a specialized material that belongs to the paint and varnish family

Composition of Conformal Coating

A conformal coating is comprised of two main elements namely the volatile and non-volatile components.

1. Volatile elements – composed of solvents, water, and additives

2. Non-volatile elements – composed of binder and colourants

It’s important to note that every conformal coating has a unique set of physical and electronic properties.

This allows for flexibility when choosing the most appropriate conformal coating.

Read more at What is a conformal coating made of?

Who is Nexus?

Nexus brings together the accumulated knowledge of a group of conformal coating and electronics material dispensing consultants who provide a unique service, focused on helping electronics manufacturing clients improve their conformal coating and electronics materials processes.

Nexus operate across North America, Europe and Asia and can provide a unique perspective to the rapidly growing conformal coating and electronics materials industry. Expertise is held in liquid and parylene coating, capital equipment sales and specifications and material, equipment and process specification, troubleshooting and training.

 

What are the different classifications of conformal coatings?

The family tree of common conformal coatings normally found include organic and inorganic liquid coatings and Parylene.

The evolution of the conformal coating over the last 50 years has led to a large range of conformal coatings with many different variations.

The family tree below shows the common materials normally found including organic and inorganic liquid coatings and Parylene.

family of coatings

The coatings can be further sub divided:

  • Liquid and Vapour Deposition Groups
  • Liquid Conformal Coatings Families
  • Liquid Conformal Coating Resin Types
  • Drying and Curing Subdivision
  • One / Two-Part Coating
  • Solvent / Solvent Free
  • Physical and electrical properties

To find out more click Classification of Conformal Coatings: An Introduction

Who is Nexus?

Nexus brings together the accumulated knowledge of a group of conformal coating and electronics material dispensing consultants who provide a unique service, focussed on helping electronics manufacturing clients improve their conformal coating and electronics materials processes.

Nexus operate across North America, Europe and Asia and can provide a unique perspective to the rapidly growing conformal coating and electronics materials industry. Expertise is held in liquid and parylene coating, capital equipment sales and specifications and material, equipment and process specification, troubleshooting and training.

Find out more at Nexus3C: Conformal Coating Centre

What Does a Conformal Coating Actually Do?

2015-10-08 13.30.37 reduced and croppedA conformal coating can actually help in many ways by creating a barrier against attack during the lifetime of the circuit board.
This includes:

  • Creating a high degree of insulation protection across the circuit board.
  • Prevents contamination on the surface
  • Increase Dielectric Strength between components
  • Strengthen the board in the field

To find out more click Nexus Ebook: What is a Conformal Coating?

Useful Links

Ebook Overview

Why use a conformal coating to protect a circuit board?

What is a Conformal Coating?

Nexus Conformal Coating 101: The Basic Understanding

Nexus are launching a new section this month to look at the fundamental issues of conformal coating such as why coat and what does the coating do to protect the circuit board?

For example Nexus examines how the conformal coating protects the assembly from corrosion in harsh environments such as moisture, dust, chemicals, and temperature extremes that, if un-coated (non-protected), could result in damage or failure of the electronics to function.

It can also improves reliability in humid environments, reduce the need to hermetically seal the PCB, reduce conductor spacing’s on a PCB and protect the PCB in aggressive environment and keep it free from environmental particulates.

Click NEW Conformal Coating 101 for further information.