Removal / Stripping of Conformal Coatings

Plasma Ruggedized Solutions offers a variety of solutions for the removal/stripping of conformal coatings. We use a number of different methods, allowing us to choose the process that best fits the application. The removal of conformal coatings always presents some risk, and the safety of the components being stripped is of utmost importance. Plasma Ruggedized Solutions always uses the mildest chemistries and processes possible to achieve this result. We offer solvent, physical, and plasma removal/stripping services and various cleaning methodologies for PCB.

Solvent Process for Removing and Stripping Conformal Coatings

The most commonly used method for the removal/stripping of conformal coatings is a solvent process. This process is highly effective in removing acrylic, urethane, and silicone coatings. Component compatibility is a key consideration in this process, and Plasma Ruggedized Solution works directly with clients to ensure that the components to be stripped will not be negatively affected by the solvents used. Based on the coating material type, we will formulate a plan to maximize the effectiveness of the removal/stripping process, while minimizing the risk to the components. Once this plan has been approved by the client, the plan is put into action.

Acrylic coatings are the easiest to remove with the solvent process. Chemistries are used to strip the conformal coatings. When dealing with silicone coatings, Plasma Ruggedized Solutions utilizes mild solvents and/or specifically created chemistries to strip the coating material. This process is relatively harmless to the electronics on PCBs and causes minimal risk to components. On the other hand urethane coatings are two-part coatings and can be more difficult to be removed because they have been heatcured. We typically use stronger solvents and specifically formulated chemistries to remove them. In some cases, very powerful chemicals are needed to strip urethane coatings; if so, we always consult with the client to educate them on any potential risks involved prior to performing the service.

Physical Process for Removal and Stripping

Epoxies may require the use of a physical process to remove them from coated components, because of their strong cross-links and heat cured finish. Epoxies often require physical removal of the material before the use of a solvent process to complete the removal/stripping of the conformal coating. Plasma Ruggedized Solutions’ physical removal/stripping methods are most commonly performed by hand, using selective ablation to remove the coating one small section at a time. Another alternative to removing/stripping epoxies is the micro-ablation process. Plasma Ruggedized Solutions uses a controlled particle spray to remove the Epoxy from the printed circuit board. Physical removal/stripping of conformal coatings are highly effective but do pose potential risks, such as damage to solder joints and metal surfaces, and possible electrostatic discharge. Plasma Ruggedized Solutions always consults clients prior to performing any removal process which may pose a risk to the components involved, and we always use the most benign methods available.

Plasma Process for Removal and Stripping

Plasma Ruggedized Solutions also offers plasma processes for the removal/stripping of conformal coatings. This process is ideal for high-end components which may require only selective removal of coating materials, though the entire assembly can be stripped with this process as well. Using plasma to remove conformal coatings is a highly precise, fine-scale procedure, and works extremely well for acrylics and epoxy coatings. The plasma process can also be used for cleaning fine particulates from connectors and other elements of PCBs and components.

Reasons for Removal/Stripping of Conformal Coatings

There are a number of reasons why a conformal coating may need to be removed from a board/component.

  • Assemblies may need to be reworked for electrical, and/or functional failures.
  • In some cases, the board may not ultimately function as anticipated, or it might fail after use in the field.
  • Perhaps the initial design process did not allow for the inclusion of the coating itself, and this causes problems with the component’s functionality.
  • Removal/stripping of conformal coating may be necessary due to poor quality of initial coating, flux residues, and/or poor adhesion.
  • It may be that the incorrect coating was applied the first time around, either at the client’s or another facility, therefore the coating will need to be stripped to allow the product to be conformal coated properly.

No matter the reason, Plasma Ruggedized Solutions has the technology and expertise to return your components to their original, pre-coated condition.

After removing the original conformal coating from your assemblies, we can recoat your products with appropriate conformal coating required for the environment the assembly would be subjected to. We will remove the coatings, return the components to you for testing to ensure that they still function correctly following the stripping process, and recoat your assemblies following your exact specification. Whether you need to make part changes, update product functionalities, or repair failed components, Plasma Ruggedized Solutions can strip and recoat your assemblies with supreme efficiency and outstanding quality.

Contact Plasma Ruggedized Solutions for the Conformal Coatings Removal and Stripping

Contact Plasma Ruggedized Solutions today for additional information about the removal/stripping of conformal coatings from your products. We offer the finest, lowest impact service in the industry, and our team of experts will work with you to create the ideal process for your application.