Ensuring Optimal Performance: Importance of Keeping Circuit Boards Clean and How to Combat Dewetting


In today’s technologically advanced world, PCBs play a crucial role in nearly all our electronic devices from our smartphones to the touch screens inside our cars. To ensure their longevity and optimal performance, it is essential to implement effective protective measures, such as conformal coating. However, before applying conformal coating, it is imperative to prioritize the cleanliness of the circuit board surface. In combating these issues early and often, machines such as the Delta 6, Delta 8, and PVA350 will run longer, work better, and keep your operations running smoothly.

Dewetting refers to a phenomenon where the conformal coating does not adhere uniformly to the circuit board surface, leading to poor coverage and potential performance issues. This occurs due to the presence of contaminants, residues, or uneven surfaces on the board. Dewetting can result in voids, exposed areas, and compromised protection, leaving the board vulnerable to the detrimental effects of moisture, dust, and other environmental factors.

To combat adhesion issues and ensure a successful conformal coating process, it is crucial to implement a comprehensive surface treatment process. This involves cleaning the circuit board thoroughly to remove any impurities, residues, or debris that may hinder the adhesion of the coating material. The surface treatment process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Cleaning: Begin by cleaning the circuit board using a specialized cleaning solution or solvent to remove any existing contaminants. This process helps eliminate dust, oils, fingerprints, and other particles that may have accumulated during the manufacturing or handling process.
  2. Surface Activation: After cleaning, it is essential to activate the circuit board surface to promote adhesion. Surface activation methods include plasma cleaning, corona treatment, or the use of specific chemicals to enhance the surface energy of the board. This step enables the conformal coating material to spread evenly and adhere effectively to the surface.
  3. Drying: Once the cleaning and activation processes are complete, ensure that the circuit board is thoroughly dried. Any residual moisture can impact the coating adhesion, leading to issues such as delamination or blistering. Proper drying methods, such as controlled heat or airflow, should be employed to remove moisture effectively.

In following these steps, conformal coating applications performed on PVA’s precision robots like the Delta 6, Delta 8, and PVA350 will operate more effectively, resulting in smoother operations and improved performance.

Reach out to the experts at PVA if you have any questions or concerns on the dewetting or the cleaning process for personalized and expert assistance.