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  Technical Bulletin March


 

 
I want to use a conformal coating dip machine
  with a solvent silicone conformal coating
material. Silicone is more viscous than the
  standard solvent coatings we use so is this
possible?
 

  The issue with silicones is their viscosity and their


tendency to cure. This can be a problem since
  the material will not re-dissolve into the solvent in

  the tank. To maximize the chances of a


successful process you should minimize the How do I control the viscosity of my coating in a
  surface area exposed to the extraction (a low conformal coating dip system?
surface area tank), ensure full circulation of the
 
product over the weir (extra pumps may be There are a couple of ways including using
  needed on large tanks), ensure the tank is deep viscometers to measure the blend of your
enough so the surface of the coating is less coatings. Although very accurate, there is an
  exposed to the extraction and that good initial capital expense and it can be a little time
viscosity control is maintained. Ideally, the consuming.
 
coating should be controlled to be as dilute as
  possible whilst still meeting the required dipping An alternative is to use a flow cup process. This is
coating thickness. an “egg cup” on a rod with a hole in the
  bottom. The principle is very simple in that you
put the cup into the tank you are measuring, pull
 
it out and measure the time for the coating to
  empty from the cup with a stopwatch. This is
repeated a few times and an average time
  taken.

  Since the flow cup is calibrated accurately to a


known size, the time taken to empty is directly
 
linked to the viscosity of the conformal coating.
  Therefore, it is possible to reasonably accurately
measure the viscosity of the coating in a few
  minutes. Humiseal even provide graphs for each
of their main coatings of time taken versus
 
viscosity.
 

  What do we provide?
SCH Technologies can offer conformal coating services, conformal coating equipment and Humiseals
  great range of conformal coating materials. We will be happy to answer any of your questions and
we’ve got the experience to solve any of your conformal coating headaches. Don’t hesitate to and
we’ll help to ease the pain of conformal coating.
 
 

  
What is the best wavelength range for optimal
 
stimulation of the fluorescent effect in conformal
coatings?  

 
The optical brightener in conformal coatings will
glow at a wavelength range between 300 and  
400nm. Fortunately this is what most of the
manufacturers of UV light bulbs specify and it is  
often know as black light. Its maximum peaks are
 
at 365nm and 450nm which is perfect for
conformal coating inspection.  

The coating I have applied is dull in finish when I  


How do I measure the coating thickness on a
spray conformal coat. Is this a problem?
PCB?  

This is typical of the coating being too thin. It There are two simple methods that we utilise in  
occurs quite often when the conformal coating our coating service.
 
spray application process does not apply
The first is using a calibrated micrometer screw
enough coating to meet the mil spec of 25 to 75
gauge that can measure down to +/- 10 um. First  
um. To improve the build you should check the
measure a point on the board or test coupon,  
dilution rate of coating to thinner to check that
apply the coating, cure and measure the test
there is enough coating, the number of coats
coupon again at the same point. The difference  
applied during spraying or with dipping the dip
gives you the coating thickness. A pitfall to avoid
withdrawal speed which determines the coating  
with this technique is ensuring the coating is
thickness.
cured hard enough since if it is soft it could  
compact and give a false reading.
 
The second method SCH use is an electronic
gauge which uses magnetic and eddy current  
principles to measure coating thickness. It can
 
measure through PCBs down to the grounding
planes accurately and quickly to +/- 1um. The  
downside is that you need metal below the
probe to measure coating thickness.  

Test coupons are the ideal method for measuring  


the coating thickness, whether is it conformal
 
coating spraying or dip coating, and can be
kept as a physical record of the performance.  

 
SCH Technologies is a Trading Name of SCH Services Limited
  Newburgh Building, McLintock Way, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. S70 6BF
Tel: +44 (0)1226 297711 Fax: +44 (0)1226 297733
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