Do I Need Both Conformal Coating and a Waterproof Enclosure?

cnc laser welding metal sheetIf you’re manufacturing electronic devices of any kind, protecting your components is likely a key consideration in your design process. Sensitive components must be guarded as much as is possible against adverse conditions. Conformal coating is a common technique used to protect circuit boards, and it’s a standard best practice for electronics manufacturing. However, for truly reliable protection, an IP66 enclosure is the gold standard.

What is conformal coating and how much protection can it provide? Moreover, why is it necessary to back it up with an IP66 waterproof enclosure? Finally, what does Polycase do to provide industry-leading solutions for waterproofing your electronic enclosures? We’ll explore all of these questions.

Basics of Conformal Coating

A conformal coating is an extremely thin film layer applied to a printed circuit board (PCB) that clings to the topology of the circuit board. These coatings provide two major benefits:

  1. Electrical insulation, increasing surface insulation resistance (SIR) levels and boosting operational performance.
  2. Protection against environmental hazards, including water and particulate matter.

Conformal coatings are known for their lightweight, generally simple application and ease of removal and repair. They’re well-regarded as an effective solution for protecting electrical components and particularly prized for being generally easier to deal with than potting. Numerous options are available for adding conformal coatings to your electronic components.

However, conformal coatings have their limits. They are explicitly not designed to be a true watertight sealant. In fact, most conformal coating manufacturers will tell you that their coatings are not designed as a primary source of protection, but as a back-up failsafe for the primary protective mechanism.

That means that your best bet is still to choose the most durable waterproof box you can find. Polycase offers an exceptional range of IP66 waterproof enclosures manufactured to the highest standards of durability.

electronic circuit board close up

Why a Tough Waterproof Enclosure Is the Best Protection

The IP66 standard is a benchmark set by the International Electrotechnical Commission for high-level dust and water protection for sensitive electronic equipment. Waterproof electrical boxes manufactured to the IP66 standard offer some of the best possible protection for your electronics, whether your concern is water spray or foreign particulate matter.

Environmental hazard protection for electronic devices is relevant in almost any industry. It can be especially important in:

  • Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM)
  • Food Service
  • Agriculture and Livestock Processing
  • Marine Industries
  • Plastics and Chemicals
  • Heavy Machinery

Polycase provides the industrial world’s most flexible, powerful and complete enclosure solutions. We offer a best-in-class range of IP66-rated enclosures in a wide variety of materials, for whatever specs your application demands:

  • YH Series: Our heavy-duty YH series polycarbonate enclosures are designed for outdoor applications such as pole-mounted enclosures. They’re rated all the way up to the IP68 standard and also meet NEMA 6P standards. Available with a stainless steel latch for easy access or a screw-on cover designed to resist prolonged submersion.
  • EX Series: One of our sleekest models, the EX series is an ideal balance of function and aesthetics. Designed to allow a PCB to slide straight in, these units are perfect for project boxes or a variety of other electronics applications and offer electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection.
  • ML Series: The ML series is perfect for wall-mounted outdoor applications and come with molded-on flanges. These tough polycarbonate enclosures are available with an optional distortion-free clear cover or a recessed cover perfect for keypads or graphic overlays.
  • WH Series: This versatile product line features both indoor- and outdoor-focused designs. They feature a waterproof silicone gasket and a plastic hinge and latch designfor a durable build that’s also highly resistant to corrosion.

Polycarbonate Electronic NEMA 4X

No matter what rating you need, remember that Polycase offers extensive customized enclosure services on our polycarbonate enclosures, including:

  • CNC machining using the latest CAM software to create precision cuts to your specifications, with +/-0.005-inch accuracy and the ability to cut almost any surface on our enclosures.
  • Digital printing using brilliant CMYK color, printed directly onto the enclosure of your choice.

All of our customized enclosure services are competitively priced and do not require a minimum order. With over 25 years of experience in creating custom enclosures, we’re confident that we can create exactly what you need!

Conformal coating is a great step toward ensuring total protection for your most valuable electronics. However, it’s not enough by itself. To get the protection you really need, double up with an IP66 waterproof enclosure from Polycase. Call us at 1-800-248-1233 to talk to one of our electronics enclosure experts or contact us online!