ESCATEC Switzerland introduces a new fluoropolymer coating process that greatly enhances pcb protection

Heerbrugg, Switzerland - March 12, 2020

The ESCATEC Group continues to build up its technical and production expertise to better cater to growing market demand for higher quality electronics.
The Group’s latest achievement in this regard comes courtesy of ESCATEC Switzerland AG, which has successfully introduced a new fluoropolymer PCB coating process that offers outstanding protection against moisture and corrosion.
Moisture and other contaminants such as sulphur, oils and pollution, can degrade the performance of an electronic component and may lead to serious problems such as electrical shorts and device failure. At the same time, more brands are bringing out products with smaller and more complex PCBs using high-performance components and/or miniaturised components and such products place higher demands on electronic protection coatings.
Having noticed a growing demand for more effective electronic protection – especially from customers in the medical equipment industry and those seeking ATEX compliant products – ESCATEC Switzerland recently tested and adopted the Novec 1702 Electronic Grade Coating technology from 3M.
Technically speaking, the Novec 1702 coating applies a clear low viscosity solution of a fluorochemical acrylate polymer in a hydrofluoroether solvent. The coating is applied by a dipping process and dries to an ultrathin transparent film with very low surface energy and with excellent hydrophobic and oleophobic properties.
This combination of characteristics makes the Novec 1702 an outstanding choice for protecting PCBs against moisture and other environmental pollution. Additionally, it also offers ease of application, reworkability and the ability to apply without masking or curing.
“The Novec 1702 coating technology will be part of our standard process line-up and will be introduced to customers who request or require enhanced electronic protection,” said Veshalini Caggese, Business Unit Manager at ESCATEC Switzerland.
She notes that ESCATEC Switzerland previously had to outsource the electronic coating process for customers that wanted it, which added to cost and lead times. By gaining the capability and expertise to do it in-house the company would gain from lower costs and leaner operations
The introduction of the 3M Novac 1702 Coating technology at ESCATEC Switzerland was spearheaded by Engineering Manager Dr. Martin Muendlein.
ESCATEC’s other business units – ESCATEC Electronics, ESCATEC Medical and ESCATEC Mechatronics – already have equivalent processes in place.
Swiss-owned ESCATEC has a long history of providing design, engineering and manufacturing solutions to numerous world-leading OEMs. The Group has its HQ and four production facilities in Malaysia, while ESCATEC Switzerland based in Heerbrugg serves as the Group’s Design & Development Centre and advanced electronics production facility. 
Features of the Novec 1702 Electronic Grade Coating Technology at ESCATEC Switzerland:
  • Designed for moisture and corrosion protection of PCB and electronic components.
  • An easy and cost-effective alternative to conformal coating.
  • Low surface energy surface with anti-wetting properties against liquids – water, silicones, hydrocarbons, etc. Helps protect against corrosive gases and vapours.
  • Insoluble in solvents such as heptanes, toluene and water.
  • Adheres to a variety of materials: metals, glass, ceramics, polymers, composites, laminates.
  • Low viscosity solution especially allows coating under low standoff SMT components.
  • Forms a thin and flexible film, allows coating of flex PCB without cracking.
  • Due to low coating thickness (0.1 µm) connectors and test pads on PCBs can be coated. Coating will be penetrated during first usage or test needle contact.
  • Easy to apply in a dip-coating process – dries quickly without the need for post-application curing.
  • Allows reparability of solder joints.
  • Thermally and electrically stable with good dielectric properties. Can withstand up to 175°C for 24 hours.
  • Non-flammable, low toxicity and ROHS compliant.
Photo 1 (right): Dr. Martin Muendlein, Engineering Manager, and Veshalini Caggese, Business Unit Manager.
Photo 2 (below): Exterior view of ESCATEC Switzerland AG in Heerbrugg.
Photos 3 & 4 (below): Production activity at ESCATEC Switzerland.
Photo 5 (below): A PCB with the Novac 1703 coating displaying excellent hydrophobic properties against water droplets.
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