The number of electronic components in products is typically high. Each component is connected electrically via a printed circuit board (PCB). These boards are designed and assembled to last for the life expectancy of the product in which they are placed.
Premature reduction in electricity, corrosion of the circuit board, and damage caused by outside influences are the main issues associated with these boards. The problems do not stem from the boards themselves but from conditions resulting from the environment and the handling of the finished product. The way to ensure all the electronic elements stay connected is to protect the PCBs before they become part of the assembly line.
Causes of Problems
There are two main causes of the problems facing PCBs. One is the environment inside the product and the other is how the device is handled by the owner. Moisture, dust, dirt, and temperature changes will degrade the board gradually, which is indicated by inconsistent performance.
Accidental impacts, power surges, and power overloads are the problems associated with owner handling. The cell phone that falls out of a purse onto the floor of the car and the house artificial intelligence source of endless information that is knocked around by the cat are susceptible to severe damage. The failure of a surge protector can render the board useless.
The best way to ensure the reliability and longevity of PCBs is to protect them with conformal coatings. Coatings that are sprayed, dipped, or brushed onto the board before it hits the assembly line offer complete protection. The caveat is that the correct coating and method of application are selected based on the intended function required of the boards.
One coating example, liquid latex, provides a shield from liquids. The preferred method of application is dipping boards into the latex. The PCBs must first be sealed to prevent the coating from leaking into connectors. A deviation from the requirements will void the protection measures.
Manufactures and designing engineers of PCBs will want to click here to discover coating options, how they work, and which combination will suit the board elements and uses.