The dangers of conformal coating fumes

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What is conformal coating?

Conformal coating is a thin film made up of a polymeric substance that is applied to a printed circuit board (PCB). This is to help protect the board and its components from the environment by creating an insulation barrier and to prevent corrosion, with the objective to extend the life of the printed circuit board. The film essentially ‘conforms’ to the shape of the PCB and is designed to cover and protect the following:

  • Exposed traces
  • Solder joints
  • Electronic leads
  • Other metallised components

Industries that use conformal coating

Whilst the electronics industry is expanding to domestic and mobile devices, conformal coating is especially important to many other industries. Such as:

  • Industrial
  • Lighting
  • Military
  • Automotive
  • Marine
  • Aerospace

What are conformal coating fumes?

As the conformal coating is applied to the PCB, it releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that creates an air-borne hazard and other harmful substances such as hexavalent chromium or isocyanates, which can also pose a risk even with low exposure. VOCs can linger in the atmosphere, providing a health risk to anyone exposed to them for prolonged periods of time.

Are conformal coating fumes toxic?

Volatile organic compounds (VCOs) that are released can cause some discomfort and irritation to the respiratory system if conformal coating fumes are inhaled. VOCs can act as irritants, and over exposure can lead to a variety of health problems such as fatigue, headaches, nausea and dizziness.

Volatile solvents used in conformal coatings can also be harmful to the environment. These pollutants can contribute towards the formulation of ground level ozone as well as damaging vegetation and forests.

How can a conformal coating fume extractor help?

Fume extraction is an essential part of the conformal coating process and works by trapping and removing the fumes generated during PCB conformal coating application process. Fume extraction systems such as the iFume 400i Violet – Coating & Dispensing fume extractor can reduce the risks of exposure to hazardous substances to ensure a safer working environment. The iFume 400i Violet – Coating & Dispensing fume extractor helps to catch the airborne pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VCOs) and solvents that are created by the conformal coating process which can help with the following:

Improve health and safety – a coating and dispensing fume extractor can reduce the risk of inhalation and contact to harmful pollutants.

Reduce maintenance costs – using a coating and dispensing fume extractor can mitigate the use of respirators and protective gear which can save money in the long-run.

Environmental impact – the use of a conformal coating fume extractor can reduce the impact on the environment.

Fume extractors for Conformal Coating fumes

Here at Purex, we provide an unparalleled level of service and support – including our 24-hour technical support service, start-to-end projects and response times. Get in touch with our expert team today to find out more about our fume extractors, or learn more about how Purex can help with your fume extraction needs here.