5 Reasons to Use Conformal Coatings on PCBS

This blog is from Dymax corporation.

Each year the electronics industry calls for smaller printed circuit boards (PCBs) to function in more aggressive and rigorous environments. To achieve this, boards are coated with thin-layer polymers- called conformal coatings– that are applied to the surface of PCBs to protect and insulate the circuit from harsh environments, or to increase the dielectric voltage-withstand capability between conductors.

Here are 5 reasons why you should use conformal coatings on PCBs:

  1. Provides Complete Protection: Conformal coatings are engineered to protect circuit boards from humidity, dust, fungus, extreme temperatures, and other contaminants. These
    coatings can be resistant to many types of solvents, chemical attack and also be heat resistant. Normally, a circuit board exposed to these types of environments would degrade, but the conformal coating can slow down the effects or even prevent them. If left uncoated, leakage or corrosion can take place; and such delicate parts can be damaged.
  2. Improves dielectric properties: When a conformal coating is applied to a PCB, it protects against corrosion and arching, while increasing mechanical support for components and improving fatigue life of solder joints. It also helps condense the circuit footprint, allowing for tighter spacing between components. In addition it significantly slows tin whisker growth, reducing the risk of whiskers creating a short between adjacent conductors.
  3. Can be Easily Applied: These coatings can be sprayed, dipped, or brushed. With a single coat they provide reliable protection to rigid board and flexible film laminates as well as to metal, glass, or plastic substrates. They’re easily dispensed and for thicker coating requirements some materials can be applied in multiple passes.
  4. Saves time and cost: Conformal coatings allow for lighter weight, smaller assemblies due to the elimination of housings and enclosures. Also, for manufacturers, less repairs to the PCBs= less time and labor= MORE savings.
  5. Protects Sensitive Information: Some conformal coatings are available in a black color that helps cover markings, labeling, and other identification as well as sensitive information on circuit boards.