Conformal coatings are commonly used to protect a variety of printed circuit boards in automotive electronics from environmental factors, and especially from debris and water. Moisture-curable silicone conformal coatings are often the protective coating of choice for electronics used in demanding environments, such as under-the-hood automotive applications. However, because these materials require long cure times (they must be exposed to moisture from the air to complete their cure, a process that can take several hours), they have not always been used in high-volume, rapid-line speed manufacturing.

Newly developed cure procedures have allowed manufacturers to dramatically reduce these cure times to less than 1 minute. The new procedures enable full cure of these coatings to depths of 0.005 inches (125 microns) with standard ovens; optimal cure speeds are obtained at 60°C, 10-15% relative humidity (RH) and moderate-to-high airflow rates.

The implications of these cure-time improvements are far reaching. The new procedures not only promise to increase throughput and productivity for automotive electronics manufacturers, but also transform conformal coating into a cost-effective processing option for volume manufacturing environments.