Acrylic Conformal Coating Services for Electronics | Circuitry Series

a coating engineer observing a printed circuit board with an acrylic coating film

Mallory McGuinness | May 14, 2020

Conformal coatings are used to protect electronic circuitry from threats found in the environment, like liquid, UV exposure, humidity, and gases. These films work by conforming to the topography of electronic components, safeguarding devices from physical, electrical, and chemical problems.

Each conformal coating material has different properties, performance characteristics, and application issues, but acrylic is the most common choice.

What are Acrylic Conformal Coatings and How Do They Work?

Acrylic conformal coating technologies are popular because they are generally the easiest coatings to apply, remove, and repair. When used as a conformal coating, acrylic works by forming a tough, durable layer that protects components from fungus, moisture, and corrosion.

Acrylic conformal coatings exhibit the following properties:

  • Low moisture absorption
  • Relatively short drying times
  • Clear protective coating
  • Good electrical and physical properties

What are the Benefits of Acrylic Conformal Coatings?

Acrylic films, in general, offer proper protection. Although they must be fully cured, acrylics give off minimal, if any, heat during cure, minimizing any damage that could be done to heat-sensitive electronics. Acrylic can also cure in as little as in under 30 minutes, a desirable attribute for meeting rapid production.

Acrylic coatings are hard, robust, transparent, and are easily repaired. Affordability is a benefit of acrylic conformal coatings as well, as they traditionally have been a low-cost solution (although acrylics are becoming less competitive as regulatory requirements become stricter). With high dielectric strength, acrylic films can withstand occurrences of static discharge, enhancing the function and life of a PCB.

one phone underwater that is still working because of HZO protection and another that is dead because of water damage

Each conformal coating material has different properties, performance characteristics, and application issues.

Acrylic Conformal Coatings Applications

Acrylic coatings provide excellent fungus resistance, and acid/base protection. That being said, acrylics are most well-known for moisture protection. Acrylic films are widely used to protect PCBs from humidity and other forms of condensation, including rain, salt, water spray, or seawater exposure.

The Acrylic Conformal Coating Process

There are several ways to apply acrylic conformal coatings, namely brush, dipping, and spray. While each acrylic conformal coating process differs, they are all known for quick, easy application. Brush coating is typically used for smaller batches and is a simple, cost-effective application method. With this process, acrylic is brushed onto one side of a PCB by a skilled operator.

Dipping is another way to apply an acrylic conformal coating, and it is repeatable and fast, used to coat larger batches of electrical components. Electrical assemblies are submerged into a tank of liquid acrylic solution. This process can be manual or automated.

Spray techniques are also a popular way to apply acrylic coating. Spray processes can be automated for accuracy and quickness, or manual, overseen by an operator. While each method has drawbacks, these methods are relatively quick and easy to use.

Learn More About the Conformal Coating Process

Why Choose Acrylic Conformal Coatings to Protect Your Electronic Devices?

If you are looking for a simple solution where your most important priorities are reasonably low manufacturing costs and less completion time, consider calling an acrylic conformal coating company.

As acrylic is one of the easiest coatings that can be applied, the use of this material facilitates the speedy production of large batches. Acrylic films also dry quickly, cutting down on manufacturing time. And in the case that the conformal coating needs to be removed, Acrylic is easy to remove with solvent.

Although choosing acrylic conformal coating services may be the right choice for simple jobs, acrylic does have drawbacks, including safety, environmental, and health concerns that must be seriously considered.

If your product must have dependable protection that doesn’t add unnecessary weight or bulk, partner with HZO to deliver a better solution. Our coating process eliminates the need to worry about solvents or curing times, and helps maintain your product’s long-term reliability. Contact us to speak with an engineer or for a quote.

Learn More About Our Coatings

…acrylic does have drawbacks, including safety, environmental, and health concerns that must be seriously considered.

Mallory McGuinness

Mallory is an electronics protection evangelist who writes content for HZO. In her free time she is reading non-fiction, and hanging out with her beta fish, King Awesome.

Ryan Moore

Ryan is a 9-year veteran to the world of protecting electronics from harsh environments and a lover of all things technology.

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