PCBs for Harsh Environments

Electronic equipment is used throughout a wide range of environments, some harsher than others. This article will discuss three methods to increase a board’s resistance to harsh environments.

Conformal Coating

For PCBs that will be used in damp, humid, hot, dusty, or other harsh environments, a special process known as conformal coating is often required. Through this process, Bittele will cover the assembled PCB in a thin layer of non-conductive, protective material such as Silicon, Acrylic, Urethane, or Paraxylene. Once this coating is cured onto the board, it will increase the overall durability of the product while also protecting it from outside contaminants.

For more information on choosing which coating material is right for your application, refer to our conformal coating page.

Copper Weight

If the PCB will be continuously operated at above standard temperatures, then it’s best to use heavier copper weight when fabricating the board. Heavier copper weights (Generally considered greater than 3 oz.) can be used alongside conformal coating for the highest level of protection of the board in high-temperature environments and continued operation at high temperatures.

Board Material

Using a substrate with a higher Glass transition temperature (Tg) will make the board more durable at higher temperatures. Typically, FR4 Tg140 (S1000-H) is the default substrate that we use. For larger boards and boards that are to be operated in higher Temperatures FR4 TG170 (S1000-2M) or IT180A is recommended. For a more detailed guide, see Our Standard Electrical properties for PCB materials.

Using an Enclosure

Utilizing a box build for the PCB will also be very effective in protecting the PCB. There are several kinds of enclosures for a wide variety of applications. Some enclosures can support high temperatures, while others are waterproof.

If you have any questions, please email sales@7pcb.com, and a member of our team will contact you within 24 hours.

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