Rugged electronics and conformal coating
Posted by Sean Horn
Thursday, June 7, 2012 2:20
@ 2:20 PM
With an increased military presence throughout the world, as well as our dependence on electronics for critical functions, it is no surprise the defense and electronics industries are turning to ruggedized electronics. The market has expanded to over $500 million dollars through the end of 2011.
WHAT ARE RUGGEDIZED ELECTRONICS?
While many electronics claim to be “Tough” or “Rugged”, there is really only one spec that matters, MIL-STD-810F. The MIL-STD-810F spec has methods for testing a device so that it functions under low pressure/high altitude situations, in high temperatures or low temperatures, in rain or humidity, with shock, gunfire vibration, acceleration, in the presence of salt fog or fungus — and more.
HOW CONFORMAL COATINGS HELP RUGGEDIZE ELECTRONICS
Conformal coating is a protective non conductive dielectric layer that is applied onto the printed circuit board assembly to protect the electronic assembly from damage due to contamination, salt spray, moisture, fungus, dust and corrosion caused by harsh or extreme environments.
Depending on the type of environment the product is intended for, the conformal coating choices can vary. Acrylics, urethanes, silicones, and parylene all have their own special uses and we have experience applying these mediums to help ruggedize products.
For circuit boards that are not conformal coated, extreme environmental conditions could cause corrosion, mold growth and current leakage, resulting in board failure. Taking extra precautions to ensure that the board circuitry can endure harsh conditions is paramount in designing and building rugged computing systems that will last through the life of the product.