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88 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2022 Board design, cycle time, and coating flow can all impact a designer's path to a success- ful coating process, so what are the key factors to bear in mind in achieving the best outcomes for your coating processes? In this month's col- umn, I'll be highlighting some of the key chal- lenges and commonly asked questions about conformal coatings that every design engineer should take into consideration when specify- ing the coating process. As assemblies become ever more densely populated, and housing/ casing designs become more permeable to save weight, the use of conformal coatings is becom- ing essential to protect the assembly from its operating environment and ensure acceptable reliability for the application intended, espe- cially when operating in hostile environments. Let's explore some of the key factors that will help following our five-point Q&A format. 1. How does board design impact the coating process? e board's design can have a significant impact on the success of a coating operation by influencing which methods can be used and determining what degree of coverage can be achieved within a required cycle time. In general, the less areas there are on a board that must be free from coating, the faster the coating cycle time will be. Should the coating cycle time be too long, then a decision can be made to either determine the most vulnerable parts of the assembly and focus on that area in the available cycle time, or to split the coating across several workstations. Designers should be aware that coating the edges of an assembly is not considered as value-added for most applications. Most design standards do not allow innerlayer cir- Top Design Tips for a Successful Coating Process Sensible Design by Phil Kinner, ELECTROLUBE

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