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SEPTEMBER 2021 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 23 By placing connectors and components that must not be coated along one edge of the assembly, the conformal coating application process will be simplified. It is also advisable to avoid large arrays of discrete components, which can pose a huge coating challenge due to the high levels of capillary forces present. Tall components can also present challenges of their own by the creation of shadowed or hard to reach areas. Splashing is another associated problem. e trick is to avoid placing tall com- ponents next to "must-coat" components to avoid this eventuality. Know Your Component Zones Lastly, it's worth noting that being aware of what kinds of components should be coated or should not be coated will provide more flexibility to the coater in assembly opera- tions. When a component will not be coated, it becomes a "keep out" zone. e engineer- ing drawing should not only identify compo- nents but identify the tolerance on that keep out zone. It is important to be very specific on the tolerance. e manufacturer needs to know exactly where you do and don't want coatings. It is best practice to specify the areas that need to be coated and the areas that don't, as well as the "don't care" areas, to help the coating process run as smoothly as possible. Avoid vague statements at all costs in an engi- neering drawing. is is especially true when specifying coating around connectors. Over the following months I hope to pro- vide more useful tips and design advice that will help make life a bit easier for those who are responsible for making the decisions on protecting components and circuitry. I hope the foregoing will help you with your coating process. Look out for my next column where I will be exploring more coating tips and tech- niques. DESIGN007 Phil Kinner is the global busi- ness and technical director of conformal coatings at Elec- trolube. To read past col- umns or contact Kinner, click here. Download your free copy of Electrolube's book, The Printed Circuit Assembler's Guide to… Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments, and watch the micro webinar series "Coatings Uncoated!"

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