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An ambitious exhibit demonstrating the extraordinary properties of Electrolube’s latest 2K material proved to be a showstopper for visitors to this year’s electronica event. In collaboration with process equipment partners, PVA and 3D-AMi, Electrolube showed live demonstrations of their revolutionary new 2K850 two-component, rapid UV-cure conformal coating at Electronica last month. Electrolube's experts were overwhelmed with enquiries and questions from visitors attending Hall B4 Stand 315 as they witnessed the new material being applied, cured and evaluated for both thickness and coverage, using state-of-the-art coating production equipment.
Visitors were initially drawn to the application process, which used a two-component spray valve, with progressive cavity metering pumps feeding the 2 component coating into a static mixer immediately prior to atomized spray. 2K850’s solvent-free chemistry also drew interest, as did its coating thickness and impressive opaque red colour providing easy visual inspection. The 2K850 material was demonstrated being applied at coating thicknesses in the range of 150 to 300 microns or more, guaranteeing a very high level of protection. Visitors were presented with a high-performance, flexible polyurethane coating that survives more than 1000 thermal shock cycles (at high thickness), is easy to work with, and which enables a greater thickness and degree of coverage to be obtained.
Traditional UV-cure coatings suffer from shadowing, whereby light is prevented from reaching the material by either taller components, or more commonly component bodies themselves. These materials require a dual-cure mechanism to ensure complete cure, even in shadowed areas. Commonly they require both UV cure and moisture to effect this cure, and it can take weeks or even months to reach full cure. With the chemical cure nature of 2K850 ensuring complete cure within 6-8 hours, Electrolube has developed a new generation 2K UV-cure coating that delivers an extremely high level of protection with significantly faster processing times.
Perhaps the key benefit for visitors was gaining first hand evidence of the ease of application of 2K850 and the rapid cure response under 365nm LED curing lamps in an extremely small footprint, with minimal heat generation. Visitors were able to experience the low-odour of the coating, both during application, and more importantly after UV curing, enabling product to be bagged immediately after curing, especially safe in the knowledge that the chemical cure would continue to ensure full cure of shadowed areas within 6-8 hours. These are significant improvement over existing UV-cure technologies and enables users to achieve faster throughputs, in smaller footprints and reduced Work In Progress (WIP).
The line was completed by a new Conformal Coating Inspection (CCI) machine from 3D-AMI. This groundbreaking system uses 3D laser triangulation and confocal techniques to quickly and non-destructively measure the thickness of the applied conformal coating. The highly accurate measurements (less than 5 micron resolution) can be made across all surfaces of a PCB assembly, including device leads and solder joints. The new system intrigued visitors with its 3D visual coverage map (thickness and location), trend monitoring and other statistical outputs essential to determine process capability. Visitors were quick to grasp the potential to integrate scans into factory MES systems as permanent guarantees of product quality that can provide reassurance to customers and assist with any field failures.
Ron Jakeman, managing director of Electrolube, said, “We were delighted with the high level of interest in the live demo and our new 2K2850 coating. In applications, where boards are likely to be exposed to water immersion and/or condensation pooling over the board surface for a period of time, most traditional conformal coatings are likely to fail due either poor edge coverage or micro-cracking arising from thermal shock, which allows water to penetrate the board’s tracks and components. The 2K product is much more tolerant of such conditions and, indeed, when subjected to BMW’s sequential testing regime of thermal shock to high humidity, condensing conditions, corrosive gases and salt mist exposure, common requirements for automotive applications, 2K delivers the necessary protection every time.”
Electrolube, a division of H.K. Wentworth Limited, is a leading manufacturer of specialist chemicals for electronics, automotive and industrial manufacturing. Core product groups include conformal coatings, contact lubricants, thermal management materials, cleaning solutions, encapsulation resins and maintenance and service aids.
The extensive range of electro-chemicals at Electrolube enables the company to offer a ‘complete solution’ to leading manufacturers of electronic, industrial and domestic devices, at all levels of the production process. Through collaboration and research, the company is continually developing new and environmentally friendly products for customers around the world and their commitment to developing ‘greener’ products has been endorsed by the ISO 14001 standard for the highly efficient Environmental Management System in place at the company.
Winners of the Queen’s award for Enterprise 2016, Electrolube is represented in over 55 countries with an established network of subsidiaries and distributors. By offering genuine security of scale and a reliable supply chain, the company is able to deliver a truly tailored service.
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