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AUGUST 2019 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 9 Conformal coatings are now a critical part of any board assembly that might be subjected to challenging conditions. But coatings can also contribute to increased mean time between failure in any conditions, even environmen- tally controlled environments. Sybert amplifies that point by describing how conformal coatings "serve as an insula- tion layer that makes sure that the different components stay focused and dedicated to what it is that they're doing as opposed to get- ting in trouble and causing premature failures on boards." The quest to protect our electronics from environmental encroachment includes flex and hybrid technologies as well. Dave Lackey points out that it's important to "know and understand that there are different types of materials available for use as coverlayer mate- rials and that there is no single, ideal solution. The appropriate material choice will be based on a number of factors, such as application, cost, projected life, etc." Sybert also explains that conformal coating is more systemic, saying, "The industry tends to just focus on the conformal coating machine, but conformal coating is an entire process itself from board preparation to coating." Backing Sybert up, columnist Eric Camden writes that conformal coating "is normally the end of the process with no easy way to make repairs…you can certainly remove coating with a wide range of chemistries or dry abla- tion processes, but these are time-consuming and have their own inherent risk of introduc- ing failure opportunities." Clearly, conformal coating is a manufac- turing step rising in importance and impact, which has to be done right the first time, every time. Having all of these conversations about the latest news in conformal coatings, I was struck by how often the experts stated, "It's not just some new hire technician with a shaker can of varnish anymore." Undoubtedly, spray-can coating still persists, but then so do buggy whips. For those moving forward into the chal- lenges facing manufacturing in the rest of the 21 st Century, this issue is for you. Nolan Johnson is managing editor of SMT007 Magazine. Nolan brings 30 years of career experience focused almost entirely on electron- ics design and manufacturing. To contact Johnson, click here. We start with some technical detail to help sort out the who, what, where, when, and why of conformal coating. Electrolube's Phil Kinner leads the way with "Conformal Coating Selec- tion: Conventional vs. Two-part." Next is an interview with Nordson ASYMTEK's Camille Sybert, "Conformal Coating Processes and Trends." Eric Camden follows with a look into how CMs may apply conformal coatings incor- rectly in his column, "Seal Your Fate." Wrap- ping up the overviews, Specialty Coating Sys- tems' Tim Seifert delivers a deep dive into Parylene with "The Role of Parylene Confor- mal Coatings in Next-gen Electronics." Moving along, Taiyo's John Fix discusses solder mask's ever-adapting role in his arti- cle, "Solder Mask Evolves Into a Truly Addi- tive Process." Following right behind, Chris Ellis's column looks at "Custom Reflow Ovens and Curing," and American Standard's Dave Lackey looks to the flex and hybrid technol- ogies, discussing "Selecting the Proper Flex Coverlayer Material." Alfred Macha's column moves on to Phase 3 in "Becoming the Preferred Supplier: Re- engineer Your Quality System." Then, Marissa Pati and Ana "Lety" Campuzano-Contreras bring us their technical article titled "Auto - mated Conformal Coating of CCA Using Poly- urethane," and Garret Wong and Jinu Choi address "Dispensing EMI Shielding Materials: An Alternative to Sputtering." Lesson learned. Designers and board fabrica- tion toolers will increasingly be called upon to account for environmental sealing techniques and materials. How the board is sealed will be a critical specification for the entire manufac- turing chain. As always, we're always glad to hear your feedback at SMT007

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