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84 SMT Magazine • September 2015 Phil Kinner, head of conformal coatings at Electrolube, talks to I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the impact of increasing electron- ics in cars on conformal coating requirements. He also highlights the best practices that help automotive electronics makers select the cor- rect conformal coating solution for their appli- cations. Stephen Las Marias: what major changes have you witnessed in the automotive electronics sector over the past several years? Phil Kinner: The automotive electronics indus- try has evolved rapidly during the last decade. The most striking aspect is the way that the use of electronic controls, sensors, safety features and in-cabin entertainment, communications and navigation, have been adopted in mid and low-end vehicles. Automobiles are now much safer, more fuel-efficient and more comfortable as a direct result of the increased adoption of electronics. On top of this, we have seen the emergence of electric vehicles offering a more environmen- tally acceptable alternative to fossil-fuel-based vehicles. These electric vehicles now have a range that is useful to most commuters (150– 200km) and we are seeing a rapid installation Choosing the Right Conformal Coating of charging stations and other infrastructure re- quirements to make these vehicles more main- stream. Finally, we've seen the emergence of smart cars that can communicate with each other, making pre-emptive interventions to help maintain safety and avoid collisions, with 'driv- erless' vehicles making daily journeys on high- ways and other roads without major incident. Who would have thought that would be close to a practical possibility a decade ago? Las Marias: what can you say about the increas- ing reliability requirements in automotive electron- ics? where does Electrolube come in to help your customers address this issue? Kinner: I would say that the challenges on elec- tronics reliability in the automotive industry are perhaps higher even than aerospace appli- cations, due to the fact that aerospace systems usually have at least two back-up systems that automotive systems do not. The elimination of cleaning from many automotive electronics assembly processes has placed an even greater emphasis on the performance requirements of the protective coatings. Given the volume of automotive parts pro- duced, the use of solvent-containing products is FeAture interview

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