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Conformal coatings industry on the move with technology gains

BCC Research reports reduction of curing times


The development of new products and increased research and development are taking coating technologies to new heights, according to a new report fromĀ BCC Research, Wellesley MA. The study reveals that R&D efforts in developing new conformal coatings technology include UV-curing, which dramatically reduces curing times.

Conformal coatings are coatings that conform to the shape of the substrate. These coatings protect electronic circuitry against environmental, mechanical, electrical, and chemical problems by conforming to the contours of elements in assembled printed circuit boards (pcb), printed wiring assemblies (PWAs) and other components of electronic assemblies and systems.

As a segment, the conformal coating equipment and spares market should grow

The global market for conformal coating materials, equipment and spares should reach $10.2 billion and $14.2 billion in 2016 and 2021, respectively, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8%. As a segment, the conformal coating equipment and spares market should grow from $7.9 billion in 2016 to nearly $11.1 billion by 2021, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 6.9%. The conformal coating materials segment should reach $3.1 billion in 2021, up from nearly $2.3 billion in 2016, growing at a five-year CAGR of 6.2%.

Customers are driving increased demand for conformal coatings and relevant coating equipment, the report says. In diverse areas such as performance, ease of application, sustainability, quality, functionality and environmental properties, consumer expectations are huge. Continuous improvement in environmental performance suggests a future in which the functionality of conformal coatings will be enhanced and transformed from conventional areas of protection and aesthetics to meet additional, more specific demands.

Conformal coatings in electronics applications have dominated the marketplace

Historically, conformal coatings in electronics applications have dominated the marketplace, a trend that should continue through 2021. Growth of the electronics market will be driven by increased use of conformal coatings in integrated circuit and device fabrication, replacement of housing and other hermetic packaging systems, use in new device-packaging systems, as well as high-frequency, wireless and portable consumer electronics products.

Although the electronics industry is shifting away from solvent-based conformal coating systems, this migration will be gradual, as solvent-free or even water-based materials don’t offer the ease of use or performance capabilities of solvent-based systems.

“New conformal coatings have been specifically engineered for electronics manufacturers that can’t move to current solvent-free systems but want to eliminate toluene from their manufacturing operations,” says BCC Research analyst Andrew McWilliams. “R&D efforts are focused on developing low-temperature or ambient-cure systems that allow for very thin coating coverage. Recent developments include UV-curing technology, which is extremely process friendly as it is able to cure conformal coating material in 20 seconds or less.”