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38 The PCB Design Magazine • March 2016 Well, a month has passed since I last ap- peared in this column offering advice on the importance of design for manufacture, essen- tially how to spot those wrinkles that might have an adverse effect on production, and iron them out before you even think about apply- ing conformal coatings to your products. I do hope you found it useful and that it has, at least, started the conversation about the im- portance of making sound early-stage design decisions. In this column, I'm going to take a look at some issues you are sure to face—which must be taken into consideration—when you finally ap- ply those conformal coatings. Here are my five essential facts: Fact 1 Conformal coatings are generally applied in liquid form and are subject to capillary forces and gravity during drying. They are unlikely to yield perfectly straight edges. Often the coating drawing is presented as a rectangular box, and this is likely to cause issues during inspection. Better to specify areas that must be coated and areas that must not be coated. Anything else is a "don't care" area. Fact 2 The old adage that "if some is good, more is better" doesn't necessarily hold true with conformal coating. Conformal coatings are de- signed to be applied at the thickness specified by Phil Kinner electroluBe Design and Production: Some Essential Facts sensiBle design Figure 1.

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