Industrial facilities are well known for their ability to use and contain toxic materials, from calibration gas purification to wastewater management. Though the power to harness corrosive, radioactive, and other kinds of raw materials is incredible, this doesn’t mean it’s easy to achieve.
One of the primary ways plant managers handle tool effectiveness and user safety is with conformal coatings that protect technologies from exposure to harmful corrosion. Here’s more on how conformal coating protects industrial devices.
What Are Conformal Coatings?
Conformal coatings are thin polymeric films that overlay technological components, like cables, printed circuit boards, and more. The coating protects these components from exposure to corrosive and otherwise destructive elements. In short, conformal coatings are another line of defense between hazardous materials and industrial equipment during manufacturing.
Thin Polymeric Films
But what is a thin polymeric film? It is a several-micrometer-thick piece of continuous polymeric plastic. Polymers are long, repeating chains of molecules that make up most plastics we know and use today. Depending on the molecular properties and thicknesses of the polymer, they can make everything from flimsy grocery bags to solid water bottle caps. Conformal coatings harness the contiguous, sheet-like, impenetrable property of these films for technological casings.
Types of Coatings
Not all polymeric films are the same. The main types of plastic coatings include acrylic resin, polyurethane resin, epoxy resin, silicone resin, and parylene. Each type has slightly different properties that make them ideal for various scenarios. For example, epoxy resin is well suited for harsh environments, while acrylic resin has low resistance to chemicals. Depending on the product and situation, manufacturers will use different conformal coating types that fit the bill.
Industrial Needs and Applications
Once manufactured, these films require an application. There are several ways to apply conformal coatings on wires and PCB assemblies; three of the most common include brushing, dipping, and spraying. Each comes with benefits and relative ease of adhering. But what items need conformal coatings, and what do they do in the industrial field? Here’s more on conformal coatings in action:
- Automotive industry. Today’s cars and trucks utilize a vast array of complex electronic devices containing a centralized motherboard. These PCBs must weather all outside conditions, from rain to snow and heat to sleet. Conformal coatings protect the insides of your car’s devices from the elements, ensuring long-term success without a second thought.
- Aerospace production. It’s hard to imagine a harsher environment than space, from upper atmospheric friction to unknown planets to the frigid vacuum of space itself. That’s why anything that soars through the air and away from Earth must have extra layers of protection, including conformal coatings. Electronic devices on these planes and rockets need to protect against moisture, corrosion, vibration, and thermal stress. Protecting electronic devices reduces the risk of failure, ensuring safe and effective aerospace travel.
- Marine technologies. Marine tech must endure the all-encompassing liquid and pressure of the ocean. Whether it’s a piece of on-deck sonar equipment or a deep-sea submersible, marine tools must protect their electronic devices and navigational equipment with conformal coatings on the inside. If water finds its way inside a console, it will not entirely destroy the device.
- Industrial environments. The industrial landscape is always evolving, but one thing stays the same—the use of toxic chemicals, high-pressure chambers, and high-temperature furnaces. If you need technology to operate amidst physically demanding environments and hazardous materials, conformal coatings can help you maximize your efforts with minimal electronics damage.
Here at Antaira Technologies, we provide the highest quality conformal coatings for industrial networking equipment. Our commitment to corrosion prevention leads us to outfit all our industrial networking solutions with conformal coatings in accordance with the strictest environmental specifications, including ISO 9223 C5/CX and ISA 71.04 G3/GX. We comply with the International Organization for Standardization and International Society for Automation standards for extreme corrosion and air contaminant resistance in toxic environments. Therefore, we ensure our products will thrive in every industrial situation.
How the Protection Works
You can know about the foundational materials and the specific applications, but how do conformal coatings—a mere micrometers-thick plastic film—keep harmful materials and environmental pressures at bay?
The first and most important property of these coatings is their end-to-end sealing effect. When you apply a conformal coating, you seal off the PCB, cable, or other electrical equipment from the outside world. This seal essentially creates an impermeable bubble containing a microscopic vacuum encasing the item. The protective membrane keeps the device from encountering physical particles like dust, debris, water, salt, and various chemicals. In fact, their hydrophobic nature repels liquids from the surface altogether.
Wastewater Facilities: A Quick Example
There is an abundance of liquid in wastewater facilities that floats, sprays, drips, and sits next to complex pieces of electronic technology. The last thing that wastewater managers want is for leaks or spills to damage their equipment. That’s why conformal coatings on their devices preserve them against liquids.
Our industrial PoE switch at Antaira Technologies is an essential component of the industrial internet of things. If wastewater facilities lost their ethernet cabling switch, they couldn’t control the larger operation remotely and could encounter significant problems. Our industrial networking equipment reliably powers and connects devices amid even the most demanding environments and harsh weather. With the power of conformal coatings in hand, you can trust our industrial PoE switches will hold up in even the worst of conditions.
Thermal Conductivity and Molecular Strength
With heat resistance, the chemistry all comes down to thermal conductivity. For example, silicone has low thermal conductivity, meaning it takes longer for heat to travel through its particles. Silicone’s high structural stability makes it harder for heat to break its molecular bonds, thereby keeping dangerously high heat away from the motherboard.
Understanding how conformal coating protects industrial devices can help industry experts preserve and protect their equipment for the long haul. Whether you’re operating a wastewater facility or an electrical plant, our team at Antaira Technologies can help you with all your industrial IT needs. Reach out to our team today to learn about our conformal-coated products.