Technical Bulletin May 09
Conformal Coating Dipping
The conformal coat dip process is used extensively in conformal coating application. The dipping processcan be carried out manually or with an automated dip coating system using most conformal coatingmaterials including solvent based, silicones and water based materials.
Conformal Coating Dipping
Automatic Dip Coating is one of the most efficientmethods for application of conformal coatings and isexcellent for all volume production whether large orsmall.The process of dipping a circuit boards into a conformalcoating material contained in a tank ensures completecoverage, including underneath components andaround difficult large 3D boards and there is no overspray or material wastage.
How do I monitor the viscosity of the dip tank?
The viscosity is monitored by utilizing a zahn typemeasuring cup. This is essentially an egg cup with a holein the base on a wire. You dip the cup into the liquid andlift it out of the coating. Since the volume of the cup isknown and fixed, if you time the flow of the coating outof the cup you get a relatively accurate and simplemethod of measuring viscosity which is certainly suitablein 99% of cases.
How do you control the coating thickness in thedipping process and what is the tolerance of thecoating thickness?
The dip speed is controlled by air over oil hydraulicswhich can control the speed down to 2" (50mm)per minute which is very slow and more thanadequate for conformal coating. Repeatability isabout getting accurate viscosity control since thewithdrawal rates and viscosity control the coatingthickness.Typical speeds for conformal coatings at viscosityof 200 cps are 6" (150mm) withdrawal speed givinga 25-50um coating for an acrylic coating. This doesvary from coating material to material so controlmeasures should be put in place if accuratethickness is required.The typical coating tolerance is depending onwhat you measuring on? If it is a flat coupon, thenwith a known viscosity of product you should beable to achieve +/- 5um.
Can I horizontally dip into the conformalcoating?
It is perfectly possible to horizontally dip PCBsusing the automated batch systems such as theDS101 conformal coating dip system. There arefactors such as the size of the board, the depthof dipping allowed, the type of conformalcoating to be used and the masking &components on the board that must beconsidered but SCH regularly use this techniquein their coating service to minimise costs forcustomers. Issues include ensuring the material isthinned appropriately to allow flow across thesurface and that adequate drainage can beachieved of the conformal coating.