Printed Circuit Boards have an almost limitless array of uses: computers to mobile phones, stereo equipment to i-Pads. Our reliance on PCBs is now ubiquitous… our lives seem completely plugged in to this pulsing, electronic world.
To service this market, PCB manufacture takes in a massive array of styles and designs, from multilayer to flexible; insulated to flex-rigid; buried and blind. Many of these PCBs will end up in domestic electronic equipment, with a relatively low risk of damage. However, at the other end of the spectrum, some boards are required for industry, even for military purposes, and need to be far more protected. Some, for instance, need to be static sensitive. These boards must be earthed if they are to be moved, and placed in antistatic bags; if not, a static charge might damage the board before it has even arrived. Equally, some PCBs will be intended for rather more extreme environments, such as the potential of fire and harsh weather conditions. Some, indeed, are even designed to be microwavable.
Such is the bespoke nature of PCB manufacture that boards for such conditions will require specialised treatment. To prevent corrosion, or perhaps condensation (which will lead to the shorting of the circuit board) such PCBs can be treated with a conformal coating. Although in early days of PCB manufacture this was wax, in more recent times solutions of silicone rubber, acrylic or polyurethane is used, either dipped onto the board, or else sprayed (or sputtered, in rather more poetic terms). Such a treatment is effective against leakage currents and corrosion, but can have a negative impact in terms of the servicing of the boards.
There is much to consider in terms of your PCB order – not merely the quantity, but the function of the PCB, and whether the board will face more extreme conditions or treatment, and therefore need extra protection. And that’s why using a specialised PCB manufacturer and supplier such as Hi-5 will give you the bespoke service you require, when it comes to the delivery of the right printed circuit board, precisely engineered and with the requisite protection to suit the job for which it’s intended.