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How to remove the conformal coating from PCBs and coating frames

Is it possible to clean PCB from conformal coating?

It is possible to remove the cured coating from PCB as well in case of repair. Hovewer, the testing of the cleaning process must be done before the application of any chemistries intended for decoting of conformal coating from PCBs. 

The testing not only proves the effectiveness of the cleaning process but also the suitability of the cleaning agent for the particular PCB. If the cleaning agent was applied without the testing, it could damage or dissolve parts of the board – plastic components, components as such, covers, or insulation materials.

Why are the coating frames cleaned from the conformal coating?

Removal of cured coatings is done during the maintenance of coating frames and machine parts for maintaining the high quality of SMT production. Preventive maintenance of coating frames provides a precise coating process.

The regular maintenance of coating frames without high contamination is recommended because, in the case of large layers of cured conformal coating, the time of cleaning is enormously longer.

What types of conformal coating can be removed from PCBs and coating frames?

Conformal coating on PCB and other surfaces can consist of acrylic, epoxy, polyurethane, and silicone.

DCT cleaning agents and cleaning systems can remove all types of conformal coating from PCBs as well as from the coating frames.

What types of cleaning chemistries are effective for the removal of conformal coating from PCBs and coating frames?

We can clean coatings with water-based cleaning chemistries (Decotron® series) or with solvent-based cleaning agents (Proton® series).

What types of cleaning systems are effective for the removal of conformal coating from PCBs and coating frames?

Our cleaning chemicals, intended for the removal of conformal coating, are effective basically in all types of our cleaning machines.

It is possible to remove different types of coating from PCBs and coating frames in large ultrasonic cleaners (Sonix® series), air-bubbling cleaning systems (AirJet® series), and cleaning systems with Spray-In-Air technology (InJet® series).

The type of cleaning agent and cleaning system depends on the type of the conformal coating and customers' preferences.

How should I choose the best cleaning fluid and cleaning machine for the removal of conformal coating?

Our cleaning specialists always test the whole cleaning process and suggest to the customers the best cleaning solution how to remove the conformal coating from PCBs and coating frames.

The R&D team always recommends a suitable and effective cleaning fluid, which reacts with the conformal coating, and dissolves the conformal coating from PCBs or coating frames with the help of a mechanical force (= bubbling technology, ultrasonic technology, or Spray-In-Air technology).

How long does it take to remove the conformal coating from PCB or coating frame?

Some types of conformal coating have high resistance and durability – then the cleaning process can take tens of minutes.

Some other types can be otherwise cleaned in only several minutes.

How challenging is it to remove the conformal coating from PCBs or coating frames?

In general, it can be stated the smoother the surface, the easier removal of conformal coating. For example, removal of coating from aluminum coating frames is a much easier process than removal of coating from antistatic base materials, where the coating clings on the structure of the surface and the cleaning process requires a longer time.

The same rule is applicable even for the removal of conformal coating from PCBs. Removal of conformal coating from dense mounted PCB with components is more challenging because the coating holds in small gaps.

What is the technology for the removal of conformal coating from PCBs or coating frames?

The majority of coatings get softer thanks to the unique properties of our cleaning chemistries and then fall off the PCB or coating frame due to the mechanical force.


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