The use of conformal coating in the automation and control drives sector
Until recently conformal coatings were only used for safety critical areas such as aerospace and military applications. However, with the increase in sophistication of automation and the introduction of control drive technologies into new, emerging markets, this has led to the reliability of the electronics and the systems to be examined.
Over a very short period in time we now find that automation and control drive systems must now operate in increasingly demanding environments. These hazardous environments include high humidity and temperature, chemically corrosive atmospheres and very high levels of particulate contamination. But, the electronics must still function perfectly well within these environments without significant failure in the long term.
The cost of failure can be measured at two levels. First, there is a safety critical operator / human level which is obviously highly important. Any failures which kill people is highly undesirable. However, what is also clear is desire for reduced failures for the long term reliability of the product. This effects the product in terms of warranties and the overall profitability and is now also highly important to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Conformal coatings are one of a range of products looking to extend or improve the lifetime of an automation system.
By specifying the right conformal coating and selecting the right production process it is possible that the conformal coating material can offer protection to the electronic systems and control drives by protecting against moisture, temperature, chemical corrosion and particulate exposure and prevents long term reliability problems such as electrochemical migration and dendritic growth.
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