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42 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2021 Feature Article by Axel Lindloff, Heriberto Cuevas, and Brent A. Fischthal KOH YOUNG Past missions to the "final frontier" might have been more successful if the coating on the electronic assemblies had been measured using our novel inspection technology for the dispensing process. While this is just a hypo- thetical statement, it is highly likely that in a harsh environment like outer space, some ef- fects such as crystal growth and surface con- tamination can occur. As such, sealing the elec- tronics assembly from environmental contami- nants is particularly important because any de- bris or moisture can form the breeding ground for crystal dendrite growth. Harsh environments are not limited to space; electronics need protection on earth too. Con- sider the engine compartment of your vehi- cle, or the drive in an offshore wind turbine, the motor on an e-bike, or your mobile device. e assemblies must be protected to prevent damage from environmental elements; yet the protection process itself can become the chal- lenge or even the reason for product failure in the field. On an unprotected electronics assembly, debris and moisture form a conductive mix- ture that shortens the insulation distances and causes failure. Moisture also causes corrosion. Conformal coating is intended to protect the assembly from these dangers. However, if the debris or moisture is captured within the con- formal coating, the danger lies dormant under the supposed protection. Bubbles and air pock- ets are also predetermined breaking points in the protective layer. Koh Young now provides a solution to these failure opportunities with its proprietary dispensing process inspection (DPI) solution called Neptune (see Inspection Solutions sidebar on page 44). Failure Modes Conformal coatings isolate and protect elec- tronics from moisture, debris, corrosion, and shock, and add mechanical stability to reduce failures and improve reliability in harsh en- Explore the Depths of Your Dispensing Process

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