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88 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2021 Without a doubt, the biggest question we get asked regularly at Electrolube is, "When is it suitable to use a conformal coating or an encapsulated resin?" ere are several con- siderations that will determine the answer; however, it depends largely on how the circuit will be housed within the assembly as well as the type of environment in which it will oper- ate. For instance, if the PCB housing design is intended to deliver the primary environmental protection, we would recommend using a con- formal coating as it will act as the second line of defence in the event of any housing seal failure. Alternatively, where there is no separate housing or capacity to provide primary envi- ronmental protection, then an encapsulation resin is likely to be the better choice. Clearly, there will be applications where the choice of technology is obvious, for example, where duty in a harsh environment demands the highest level of protection. In this case, a potting and encapsulation resin will provide the necessary long-term protection—so long as the correct resin has been selected, tested, and approved for the prevailing environmental conditions. Where ease and speed of processing are important, conformal coatings will always be the preferred choice, particularly as the thin cured film of a modern, well-formulated coat- ing can provide a high level of protection in any Conformal Coating vs. Encapsulation Resin Sensible Design by Phil Kinner, ELECTROLUBE

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