This blog on the innovative solution protecting electronics originally comes from our friends USA based Crystal Group, Inc. Technology leaders in rugged computer hardware, specialising in the design and manufacture of custom and commercial rugged servers, embedded computing, networking devices, displays, and data storage for high reliability in harsh environments.
In this blog, Crystal discusses how continuously improving the reliability, durability and quality of their products is essential. Not just to solve problems but it helps anticipate and prevent them. According to Crystal, there was no issue with previous methods of conformal coating pcb boards. However, with this new material and approach there has been significantly more benefits, discussed below.
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New Conformal Coating improved solution for protecting electronics
Solving problems is the root of innovation. Whether it’s to fill an unaddressed gap, accommodate a specific need, or improve upon an existing solution. Innovation only matters if it makes a positive difference for others.
Firstly, for Crystal Group, continuously improving the reliability, durability and quality of their products is foundational. Not just to solve problems, but to help anticipate and prevent them. This means consistently evaluating by the Crystal Group on what they build and how they build it to ensure their customers are always equipped with the most effective rugged compute solutions when and where they are needed.
Secondly, what Crystal Group are implementing on all new products is the transition to a new nano conformal coating material. Applied on power supplies, memory, SSDs, motherboards and peripheral cards. While their previous methods were adequate. The new approach and material provides significant benefits. Such as protection, production and long-term, reliable performance of fielded electronics operating in harsh environmental conditions. In fact, this material is the new industry standard for humidity treatment in rugged electronics.
Here’s a quick look at some of the key advantages it offers:
- Superior protection: The new coating provides superior protection against environmental elements that cause corrosive damage and electrical failure, such as caustic gases and humidity, in addition to contaminants, like oils, dirt and grime, that can affect performance.
- Error proofing: The automated atomised spray robot or controlled dip process applies the new coating, which minimises opportunities for human error.
- Consistent repeatability: The enhanced process is programmed specifically for each board to ensure it produces the same result every time. All parameters are tightly controlled by the robotic equipment to maintain board-to-board consistency; something not readily possible with UV40 or 1B73 automation.
- Reduced lead time: Automation reduces conformal coating applying time, eliminating a potential choke point in production. Shortening build time and eliminating up to two weeks of lead time improves Crystal’s responsiveness to accommodate abbreviated or adjusted customer schedules.
- Quick curing: Instant curing at room temperature eliminates secondary thermal or light cure processes and related risks for damage from exposure or handling sensitive electronics.
- Streamlined process: With full automation and no circuit card masking, the material flows through a closed-loop pressurised system. The system meters the exact amount of coating each time for each application, which avoids premature curing and potential quality issues typical of UV cure or solvent-based materials.
- Exceptional yield: Eliminating wicking of material in fine-pitch spaces yields defect-free coating without cracking, pits, flakes or de-wetting, regardless of board manufacturer.
- Environmentally sustainable: The new process and material are environmentally friendly, sustainable and pose no threat to ozone depletion or global warming. The material is exempt from EPA definitions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Improved health and safety: Per OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200, the coating is not classified as hazardous, making it safer to handle, facilitate, and use in finished products.
- UL certification: ULV94-0 fire retardant and safe for commercial use
Given the critical impact conformal coating has on the overall protection and performance. These essential electronics components were tested in their compliance lab. Proven protection against humidity, thermal shock and salt fog.
Finally, implementing improvements and solutions that matter relies on the right balance. Firstly, learning from the past. Assessing where we are today. Plus, looking ahead to solve other issues. Also working out when it’s the right time to solve them. By striking that balance, we’re ready to deliver. Items such as improved quality, lead times, and performance with our new approach to conformal coating.
For more information on how Crystal Group is protecting electronics in their products , contact us.