Conformal coating is a protective coating for printed circuit boards. It protects components of PCBs from heat, cold, dust, fumes, weather variations and other environmental conditions that could affect the PCB’s performance. Using conformal coating for PCBs can decrease the need for printed circuit board repair or replacement in use, which can in turn reduce the cost of maintenance or warranty repairs by increasing the product’s mean time between failure.

There are different materials and application methods for conformal coating for PCB protection. The entire board may be coated by spraying or brushing on the coating. The coating may be brushed or sprayed on specified components. Conformal coating components helps to protect the most delicate parts of the PCB, while coating the entire printed circuit board provides protection to all circuits on the board. Conformal coatings are applied to the finished PCB before assembly into the finished product or subassembly. The curing time and curing method varies by the material used in the coating process. The key to successful conformal coating is to choose the proper chemistry and amount specific to each application.  Dispensing the appropriate amount and covering specific critical areas will yield the best product.

Benefits of Conformal Coating

The right coating can protect sensitive components from harsh or variable conditions in its ultimate environment. This protection can extend the life of the components, the entire PCB, and the system it’s installed in. As a result, the product becomes higher quality, and it will last longer without requiring any printed circuit board repair. This can be crucial for use in mil spec, aerospace, government, health care and consumer applications where the cost ramifications of failure are high. Printed circuit board conformal coating is a necessity for board uses where unexpected failures could be dangerous or life threatening. Conformal coating is also necessary in consumer applications where frequent failures could tarnish the brand’s reputation.

Many standards exist for conformal coating depending on the ultimate use case or environment the PCB will be used in. MIL-I-46058C Mil Standard, IEC 61086-1 edition 2.0, Underwriters Laboratories UL 746E and UL94, and IPC-CC-830B are among the specifications most frequently used. Each specification focuses on different PCB performance parameters such as heat, flame and ignition resistance. MIL-I-46058C was made inactive for new designs in 1998, but many products and coatings still use the standard.

It’s best to work with the engineering team at a company skilled in conformal coating for PCB manufacturing to get advice on the best protective coating for printed circuit boards in your particular design and use case.

Protorun: The Best Choice for Conformal Coating PCB Services

We’ve been in the printed circuit board business for more than 30 years. Our accumulated skill and experience in all phases of printed circuit board manufacturing enables our expert team to advise you on whether conformal coating can improve the performance and life of your products.  We can recommend the best coating and application method for your product to help you balance cost over the reduction in repairs and maintenance costs to optimize your overall profitability and product performance. Contact us today for a quote on our conformal coating PCB services or to discuss any of your PCB requirements.

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