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Epoxy Conformal Coating Services for Electronics

epoxy coating next to a printed circuit board

Mallory McGuinness | May 21, 2020

As many devices become smaller and more complex, bulky, heavy enclosures are being replaced by conformal coatings as an effective means of protection damages incurred from liquid, humidity, chemical, UV, and harmful gas exposure.

There are several types of conformal coatings to choose from, each with their distinctive qualities, pros, and cons. Epoxies are a type, often selected for chemical and abrasion resistance.

What is Epoxy Conformal Coating, and How Does it Work?

Each type of conformal coating offers a different set of advantages and disadvantages to consider. Benefits of epoxy conformal coating include:

  • Very robust, difficult to remove the protective coating
  • Excellent chemical and abrasion resistance
  • Very rigid conformal coating
  • High dielectric strength

Epoxy Conformal Coating Applications

Several types of epoxies are suitable for different applications. For example, black epoxy is used to secure devices against technology theft and is ideal for general use. Thermally conductive epoxy is also black and can be used to protect boards with components that may give off heat. Clear epoxy allows for visualization of the board, and flame retardant epoxy may be useful for fire hazard protection.

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

Each type of conformal coating offers a different set of advantages and disadvantages to consider.

What Does Epoxy Conformal Coating Protect Against?

Within applications, epoxies are commonly used to safeguard devices from exposure to abrasion, corrosion, harsh chemicals, thermal shock, and oil.

The Epoxy Conformal Coating Process

The conformal coating process is an essential factor to consider when selecting appropriate device protection. Epoxies are easily applied and may be offered as a two-part compound or a single compound that can be cured with UV or heat exposure. Dip-coating, brush, or spray application methods may be used for epoxies. Ultimately, your choice of epoxy application will depend on the required performance, throughput requirements, and the complexity of the components to be coated.

Why Choose Epoxy Conformal Coating to Protect Your Electronic Devices?

If you need a sturdy, rigid conformal coating that can withstand harsh chemical exposure or wear and tear, you might want to call an epoxy conformal coating company to discuss your options.

However, it’s best to consider the potential drawbacks of seeking epoxy conformal coating services as well, before you make your decision. For one, the toughness and durability you might be seeking in your conformal coating could wind up damaging your product if rework or removal is required. Additionally, film shrinkage may occur during polymerization, potentially causing issues that must be addressed.

And critically, epoxies must be applied as a thicker coat to be effective. The suggested thickness for epoxy conformal coatings can reach up to 130 micrometers, adding unnecessary weight and bulk to miniaturized electronic products.

If you require proper chemical, liquid, humidity, or heat protection at a fraction of this thickness, consider Parylene conformal coatings. Unlike epoxy conformal coatings, which will typically breakdown in extended water immersion or high humidity, Parylene can make a device impervious to water for up to 20 years.

A trusted method that has stood the test of time with almost 50 years of exceptional performance, Parylene conformal coatings have shown superior performance and uniform coverage for devices ranging across industries, making it a competitive alternative to epoxies for many applications.

Are you unsure as to which conformal coating is best for your project? If you need an engineer with practical knowledge and domain experience to help you evaluate your options, reach out to our dedicated team today.

The conformal coating process is an essential factor to consider when selecting appropriate device protection.

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.

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