Conformal coatings are becoming increasingly popular as electronic assemblies get smaller and their use becomes more widespread throughout mobile devices, automobiles, and medical devices. These coatings protect smaller circuits from shock, humidity, dust, fungus, extreme temperatures, and other contaminants, where functionality is critical. They can create the difference between premature failure and successful operation throughout the required lifespan of a device.
While they may not always perform a particular electrical function, conformal coatings are the most effective way to increase circuit lifespan in harsh or rough service environments. If you've read our post on the 5 Reasons to Use Conformal Coatings on PCBs, you may be ready to take the next step in selecting a product for your assembly.
Here are 10 Questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a conformal coating for your application:
1. What is the end environment for the board?
2. What requirements do you have for the coating? ( UL, MIL, IPC)
3. Will you have shadow areas on your board?
4. Are you looking for secondary heat or moisture cure?
5. What are your testing requirements?
6. Which thickness are you looking for?
7. Will you be using a masking material in your process? If yes, which type?
8. How are you planning to apply the material?
9. How are you going to cure it?
10. What is your required time takt time to dispense, dwell, and cure?
After you've answered these basic questions, a technical consultation with the conformal coating manufacturer is advisable to help you compare products and finalize your selection.