Protecting PCBs From Environmental Influences

A printed circuit board (PCB) is used to connect electronic parts using electricity. The finished product is durable and reliable regarding electrical performance. The threats of corrosion, degradation, or reduced electrical function are caused by environmental influences, impacts, and power overloads and surges.

Environmental Variations

Once the PCB is placed in a product, it is susceptible to conditions within the environment. Moisture, temperature changes, debris, dirt, and dust will affect the piece and render it useless over time. This will impact the finished product and damage the reputation of the manufacturing company.

Products, especially the latest electronic ones, can cost hundreds of dollars. Consumers have expectations of longevity and high-quality performance that will take them to the launch of the next generation or beyond. A smartphone that is defective, inconsistent in how it works, or fails prematurely will likely be replaced with one made by a different brand.

Irresponsible Handling

Accidents happen, and many electronic devices are subject to impacts. The cell phone is knocked off the end of the table, the laptop is dropped in transport, or the remote becomes the temporary plaything for the dog are all examples of unexpected incidents. These will damage an unprotected PCB.

Plugging too many items in a socket to charge, not investing in a surge protector for multiple-use extensions, or not turning off electronics during a power outage will heat up a circuit board and reduce connectivity. These cases are dangerous and unwise but happen all the same. Without the protection of a conformal coating, these boards will not last as anticipated.

Common Coatings

Conformal coatings are designed to protect boards from outside hazards and allow them to work as intended. Common materials used in coatings include silicone, acrylic, and polyurethane. These coatings can be applied via spraying, brushing, or dipping the printed circuit boards before they are used in the assembly of electronic devices.

The right selection of the coating material and the method of application is vital to achieving maximum protection. Consult the personnel at the company chosen to provide coating services for advice on which combination of coating and delivery method will work for your PCB elements.