As products get smaller and denser, factors that used to be fairly easy to deal with can become areas of concern. Conformal coatings are getting increased interest now as usage grows and the quality of coatings comes under more scrutiny.
These coatings have typically been applied and examined using a range of related standards. For example, IPC-CC-830 addresses some basic testing of materials properties, while IPC J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610 define how a cured film should look.
A new IPC working group, 5-33awg, Conformal Coating Requirements Working Group, was formed to leverage the considerable amount of coating experience of the 5-33c IPC Conformal Coating Handbook Task Group, and focus on areas not covered by existing specifications. Among their areas of interest are the differences in the ways that an aerospace OEM might test coatings for NASA for outer space, or for the FAA’s tests on humidity condensation. Testing automotive OEM coatings in a damp heat environment is another area being examined.
5-33awg is working to develop criteria for conformal coating application and evaluation. Its goal is to come up with methods that allow a user of conformal coating to determine how conformal coating performs in particular end-use environments.