The critical areas of designing for conformal coating
Are these phrases familiar on the conformal coating production line to you? “Who designed this process?”, “This is impossible. We can’t meet their requirements”, “How did they decide to coat this board this way?”
Traditional conformal coatings protect the circuit well if they are selected correctly. However, where the coating is not applied there is little or no protection.
Nano coatings (FC), ultra thin coatings of thickness <2μm, provide hydrophobic properties and don’t need masking.
The lack of need for masking is due to the coating thickness being so thin that there is no resistance to removing the material. This means the FC can coat all of the circuit including connectors and offer the protection of the coating.
However, this very fact means the FC coating is delicate to handle and may not provide the long term reliability needed like a traditional coating.
So, what if we could combine the two materials and have the properties of both?
The circuit board would have:
The long term protection due the traditional conformal coating
The hydrophobic nature due to the FC coating
Protection all across the circuit board
Nexus have been experimenting wth dual coating with both traditional conformal coatings and ultra-thin coatings.
The results are extremely interesting for potentially increasing the protection of the circuit without adding a significant amount of cost to the process.
Also, we are introducing a new section at Nexus this month called Conformal Coating101. This section answers all the questions about why we use coating, what it does etc and answers many of the questions we are regularly asked.
Finally, Nexus starts its Conformal Coating Workshop Program off in October and November in China and India, respectively and we confirm further dates for North America and Europe in the New Year.
The July issue of the Nexus Newsletter will focus on Conformal Coating Material Challenges. The issue will explore many areas including:
Expert Views from Materials and Equipment Suppliers, Users and Coating Service Providers of both liquid and XY materials.
A technical article on the key material challenges including the issues of lead free processing, cleaning, adhesion and the standards
A guide on how to choose a material and a material supplier
Nexus will also be announcing a large material research project aimed at benchmarking all of the mainstream materials. The Research Program will be open to Suppliers and Users a like and will aim to show an independent view on material performance against standards and tests. These results will enable companies to determine how good their conformal coating material is and just what are the alternatives.