Common Problems With Manual Spray and Brush Coating Methods
Coating PCBs by hand is a time-consuming process that increases the likelihood of problems such as:
Manual coating methods often require a significant amount of human labor, leading to inconsistencies in the application of coatings. Variations in spraying techniques among operators can result in uneven coating thicknesses, affecting the quality and reliability of the finished product. Similarly, brush and dip coating methods rely heavily on the operator’s skill and experience, making it challenging to achieve consistent results across batches. These inconsistencies can lead to product defects, rework, and increased material wastage, ultimately impacting the bottom line.
Spray, brush, and dip coating techniques are time consuming and labor intensive. Operators must carefully prepare surfaces, mix coatings, and apply them manually, slowing production cycles. With growing demand and the need for quicker turnarounds, relying on these traditional methods can hinder a company’s ability to meet market demands.
Increased Safety Hazards
One of the biggest concerns associated with traditional coating methods is the health and safety hazards they pose to operators. Spray coating, for instance, releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which can have adverse effects on the respiratory system and overall well-being of workers. Moreover, brush and dip coating methods often involve the handling of hazardous chemicals, increasing the risk of skin irritation, burns, and exposure to toxic substances.
Increased Material Waste
Inefficient application techniques frequently lead to excess material waste. With spray coating, overspray is a common issue that wastes coating material and necessitates additional cleanup. Additionally, brush and dip coating methods often apply coatings too thickly, leading to waste and quality issues. These practices increase material costs and environmental impact.
How Automated Conformal Coating Increases Efficiency and Safety
As businesses recognize the limitations of traditional coating methods, automated conformal coating processes are gaining traction as a viable alternative. Here’s how these automated systems address the challenges outlined above and pave the way for enhanced efficiency and safety:
Improved Consistency and Precision
Automated conformal coating machines deliver consistent and precise results. By eliminating the variability of manual techniques, these machines can consistently apply coatings with uniform thicknesses, ensuring product reliability and reducing defects. The automation also allows the customization of coating parameters, making it easier to accommodate different product specifications.
Streamlined Production Cycles
The automation of coating processes significantly reduces the time required for application. With automated systems, surfaces can be prepared, coatings can be mixed and applied, and curing processes can be initiated seamlessly. This accelerates production cycles, enabling companies to meet market demands more effectively and gain a competitive edge.
Enhanced Operator Safety
Automated conformal coating machines prioritize operator safety by minimizing exposure to hazardous substances. These machines have advanced ventilation systems that effectively capture and contain VOCs, preventing their release into the work environment. Operators are no longer exposed to fumes and chemicals, mitigating health risks and creating a safer workplace.
Reduced Material Wastage
With automated processes, coatings are applied precisely and consistently, minimizing waste. Overspray and overapplication are virtually eliminated, resulting in significant material and cost savings. This reduction in material waste also aligns with environmentally friendly practices, reducing ecological impact.
See the Benefits of Our Automated Conformal Coating Robot
Want to see our automated conformal coating robot in action? Check out our case studies and see how businesses have benefited from an Invention House partnership.
Eliminate Conformal Coating Masking and Increase Productivity With the Raphael 4040
Managing and improving masking techniques greatly reduces costs. However, the most efficient solution is Invention House’s groundbreaking invention—the Raphael 4040, an automated conformal coating robot. The Raphael 4040 uses precision pumps that deliver the conformal coating and thinner directly to the brush stem. They are meticulously mixed according to the desired ratio, then deposited through the flow-through brush tip. The brush movement is guided along an optimized X, Y, and Z path to ensure precision and accuracy. This path is specifically designed to steer clear of areas that must be kept free from coating.
Moreover, the brush of the Raphael 4040 can be controlled to adjust the coating speed, thickness, and path width, enhancing flexibility. Additionally, it can hover above tight spaces and efficiently drip coating between components, eliminating overspraying altogether. As a result, masking becomes entirely unnecessary, simplifying the coating process and reducing costs.
Advantages of The Raphael 4040
Precision peristaltic pumps deliver a precise mixture of coating and thinner to the brush stem, in which it is mixed before being applied to the PCB through the brush tip. Coating and thinner are stored in their original containers on the machine frame. Thus, no mixing! The brush is controlled over an X,Y, & Z path to coat components and avoid keep away areas. The brush can apply coating by direct contact with the board or by hovering and dripping coating into hard to reach spaces. The coating mixture and brush speed can be controlled from point to point and PCB front to back. The client provides a laptop on which Raphael’s routing software is managed. After an image of the PCB is uploaded, coating segments are created using clicks, commands, and a special integrated joystick. Conformal delivery via our precision brush means no overspray. Thus no masking! Multiple boards or panels can be held in the work area.
The Raphael 4040 requires fewer touches and passes and eliminates overspray; this allows businesses to create a higher-quality product.
Extra board touches reduce productivity and efficiency for your business. With the Raphael 4040, your operators can deliver the right coating amount on every board.
Reduced Conformal Coating Costs
Invention House’s Raphael 4040 reduces the total cost of conformal coating by eliminating masking and overspray waste. Using our robot also lowers your spending on the coating material.
Improved Operator Conditions
The Raphael 4040 dramatically improves operator conditions by eliminating masking, work stops, overspray, and interactions with hazardous chemicals and cans.
Contact Invention House today to learn more about our innovative conformal coating robot.
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