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A Guide to PCB Potting: Enhancing Electronics Resilience

The Importance of PCB Potting

The presence of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) in the various industries is a game-changer, especially among the electronic devices offered in the market.

When it comes to electronics, the main purpose of the components created is to be reliable and efficient part of every operation, despite the issues and interference.

And in every component in electronics, there is a sort of protection needed that can withstand the challenges brought by the environment or any other exposure to vulnerability.

What is PCB Potting?

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is always highlighted in the industry of manufacturing electronic components. It is the foundation and the life of the electricity connection, since it provides mostly everything from mechanical to operations of electronic components.

But before it become successfully operational, there are levels of protection needed for it to have a longer lifespan and a very high resistant to environmental hazard.

It is when Electronic Potting takes charge, since it is defined as a known process in the field of operations and assemblies connected to electronics.

The basic explanation of how PCB Potting works is that the enclosure of the printed circuit board must be filled with a potting compound as the layer of protection to environmental hazards, and other factors that may have an impact to the board.

emergency electronics (1)

Types of Potting Materials

As mentioned in the description of the PCB potting process, the materials used must be liquid since it will fill in an enclosure of the board as a protective insulation. Here is a list of the most common types of potting materials used in its manufacturing process:

1. Silicone

Silicone has the ability to elongate, proving how flexible it can be when used as a part of an electronic component. Also, it has a soft texture with a broad range of operational temperature from -100 °F to 200 °F which made it a perfect choice for protection. On the contrary, some manufacturers refrain from using this material due to its expensive price in the market.

2. Epoxy

Since a potting compound works as a layer of protection, the most essential feature that it must have is in terms of adhesion, which is the material Epoxy offers. Most of the manufacturers of PCB potting consider this type of material because of the chemicals included that makes it strong and stiff.

3.Polyurethane

When Polyurethane is used as a potting compound, the best advantage it offers among the manufacturers is its high resistance to abrasion. It is guaranteed that the chemicals in the Polyurethane perform excellently in maintaining the flexibility and protection capability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Potting

Aside from offering a top-notch layer of protection, there are other advantages in terms of enhancement, better performance, and high resistance that PCB Potting offers. But, nothing is perfectly made so it is expected that there are also setbacks and disadvantages. This part of the blog explains the pros and cons of PCB Potting in the manufacturing procedures.

Advantages of PCB Potting

PCB potting

1.Improvements to Performance of PCB

The most essential factor that needs to be prioritized in PCB potting is taking advantage on its high resistance to moisture, tampering, and disconnections among the wirings. Therefore, the presence of PCB Potting improves the overall performance and builds good resistance.

2.High Resistance to Chemical and Environmental Hazards

During operational activities of electronic devices, the presence of chemical and environmental hazards could affect their durability. PCB Potting services take care of this matter by providing their most notable resistance in mostly everything.

3.Protection to Abrasion and Impacts

The presence of abrasion and other physical impacts to the PCB will surely affect the board in a negative way. Disconnections and further complications might arise when the PCB is not well-protected by process of potting.

4.Ability to Fight Against Electrical Arcing

One of the common causes of fire happening at home is what they call electrical arcing. It happens when the electricity suddenly flashes from one connection to another, with a very high range of temperature. So, having the PCB potting in between the line provides a positive impact.

5.Gives No Chance for Reverse-engineering

This is one of the best advantages of PCB Potting, since the procedure cannot be reversed by other companies or manufacturers.

Disadvantages of PCB Potting

  1. It makes the electrical components heavy and bulky.
  2. It starts issues and challenges in terms of designs.
  3. The application process is complicated.
  4. It causes difficulties in inspection and maintenance.

What is Conformal Coating?

Conformal Coating is another application of a particular material called polymeric film, and it also provides protection among the electronic components included in a PCB. The main purpose of this application is for the PCB to withstand the acts of corrosion and environmental hazards. Additionally, the name itself came from the process where it conforms to the design of the PCB.

Difference between PCB vs. Conformal Coating

The two most commonly heard protections used in the industries of electronics are PCB potting and conformal coating. As mentioned in the previous parts of the blogs, it is obvious that they both have the ability to make sure that the board is highly resistant to various hazards. But to further elaborate their differences, here’s a list of descriptions about each of them:

  • PCB Potting is the best option in terms of resiliency against abrasion, heat, chemicals, and other impacts, especially in a physically-challenging application in the industry.
  • The most commonly used protection to electrical devices with higher voltage is the PCB Potting because of its durability when sudden electrical arcing occurs.
  • In terms of the faster assembly and process, PCB potting is the best choice compared to conformal coating. Its procedure is easier and efficient.
  • If convenience-wise, conformal coating is easy to work with compared to PCB Potting, especially when devices might need to get inspected or repaired.
  • When conformal coating is used, there is a lower chance of physical stress to happen among the components and the board.
  • Since PCB Potting makes the devices bulky and heavy, it’s a different scenario for conformal coating because they occupy lesser space in the board.
pcb potting application

Conclusion

In Printed Circuit Boards (PCB), the electricity runs through the components along with an impact of heat, electric shocks, and sudden changes in the temperature. So, conformal coating and PCB potting services are very important in the work cycle of the board. The detailed guide above helps to deeply understand how printed circuit board works, and how they are protected to maintain an excellent work performance.

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