Additive Manufacturing: Conformal Coat Fixture

Technological advancement is like a moving train on an endless track. The train won’t stop nor slow down for different companies to hop on, which means companies must run alongside the train until they can grab a handle and jump on. They need to keep up with the train or risk being left behind. As NCA grows larger, the company is starting to run faster and faster in order to keep up with advancing technology. NCA has invested in new equipment and ideas to improve product quality and process efficiency. 

An especially interesting project the team is working on right now is the design and creation of a conformal coat fixture to increase the efficiency of our conformal coating process. The conformal coat covers and protects the boards from external factors that could weather down the board, such as extreme temperatures, dust, chemicals, and moisture. Currently, our team applies a sticky and gum-like material to the boards, which covers and protects the components that cannot be covered by the conformal coat. It requires multiple hours to dry before the conformal coat is able to be applied onto the boards causing longer lead times on our products and a stoppage in our workflow.

After investigating and realizing the moment of slowdown in the workflow, NCA had its process engineers tackle the issue revolving around the conformal coating station. Ram Gudavalli, one of NCA’s process engineers, designed a fixture that increased the efficiency of the workstation by removing the drying time. The fixture was designed and printed by Gudavalli and acts as a protective cap over the critical components – protecting them from the conformal coating spray. The fixtures are made of flexible plastic and, due to their in-house production, can be easily altered to adapt to different types of boards with varying designs. The conformal coat fixtures passed the initial testing phase and have begun their introduction into the assembly workflow

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