Aculon offers a range of award-winning waterproofing products for electronics that will protect circuit boards from accidental water immersion and total submersion. Performance ranges from accidental water contact to IPX7 and beyond.
Until now, water-resistance product offerings generally fall into
two categories: solution based hydro/oleophobic conformal coatings that repels
fluids but require some level of masking or "keep-out" areas, and vacuum-deposited
coatings (which also require masking) such as parylene-based treatments. Aculon
NanoProof® surface treatments create a third category - no mask solution
based hydro/oleophobic coatings that are done on an inline basis and deliver
the benefits of a conformal coating yet eliminate the need for costly capital
investment and avoiding the bottlenecking batch process of vacuum based
manufacturing or masking operations.
Aculon's award-winning NanoProof® Series offer customers a range of PCB waterproofing solutions from protecting against accidental water damage (NanoProof 1.0) to IPX7, immersion in water at one meter depth for 30 minutes (NanoProof® 5.1, 7.0, 8.0), to greater barrier properties that can withstand 100 hours immersion in sweat solutions and some of the most stringent test methods developed for non-hermetic components (NanoProof® 7.0 & 8.0).
Aculon NanoProof® Series uses a mix of Aculon's Proprietary Transition Metal Complexate technology (TMC) and fluorinated acrylic polymers to achieve a series of products that are compatible with all of the common material types used in SMT parts. Aculon's NanoProof® series are sprayable or dip based coatings that do not require a cure and have no impact on conductivity testing. While some of the NanoProof® series are so thin that they are invisible to naked eye, all of the Nanoproof® series contain a UV tracer to ensure detection at customer sites.
Aculon, an award-winning & proven supplier to numerous industries, introduces Aculon NanoProof PCB Water Protection Treatment, the best-in-class NanoProof PCB Water Protection technology. We've designed three classes of coatings for electronics to protect from liquid damage.
(Hydrophobic TMC treatment based in Hydrocarbon solvent) - Designed for accidental water damage
(Butylene polymer in hydrocarbon solvent) - Designed for moderate protection
(Hydrophobic/Oleophilic Siloxane based in Hydrocarbon solvent) - Designed for up to IPX-6 level protection
(Hydrophobic/oleophobic acrylate based in fluorosolvent) - Designed for conformal coating like barrier properties but can be sprayed
(Hydrophobic/oleophobic acrylate based in fluorosolvent) - Designed for extreme level protection/barrier properties
(Hydrophobic Polyolefin based in toluene) - Designed for extreme level protection/barrier properties
Aculon's NanoProof® Series offer customers a range of PCB waterproofing solutions from protecting against accidental water damage (NanoProof 1.0) to IPX7, immersion in water at one meter depth for 30 minutes (NanoProof® 7.0, 8.0), to greater barrier properties that can withstand 100 hours immersion in sweat solutions and some of the most stringent test methods developed for non-hermetic components. The IPX scale was designed to measure ability to keep water out (ingress protection). Aculon Nanocoatings allows water in (no ingress protection) but protects the components. See below:
Aculon conducted IPX testing which determined that NanoProof® delivers
performance above the IPX-7 benchmark.
Click here to read the technical paper about this experiment
NanoProof® 3.5, 4.0 & 5.0 coatings tested for MIR (moisture and insulation resistance) met and exceed the resistance requirements per IPC-CC-830B,AM1
Pass/Fail criteria: 1E8Ω, Results exceeded 1E11Ω
The samples that were exposed to salt spray in accordance with ASTM B117-111 for 168 hours exhibited minor and sporadic degrees of corrosion.
Sweat testing of NanoProof® coatings per IBM-H6-0440-105 for 24 hours @ 10V to D&F combs, resistance measured pre and post-test, coatings met resistance requirements. NanoProof® 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 exhibited no corrosion.
If you are not sure which NanoProof® is right for your application, we offer the following options to determine which level of protection offers the performance you require at the most economical price. Have the experts at Aculon coat your parts with NanoProof so that you can proceed immediately into qualification.
The NanoProof® Screening Service is ideal for situations where you do not want to deal with figuring out how to apply the coating to your board. Aculon will treat your boards utilizing our spray equipment from PVA and return to you for immediate qualification. The NanoProof® Screening Service includes:
For parts that are complicated, large, or require masking or selective coating Aculon can work directly with you on your application. We will customize a solution to fit your specific needs. Once a solution has been determined Aculon will assist with implementation in your facility and bulk chemistry and cleaning solutions can be delivered on a monthly/weekly basis to meet your production needs.
While Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment can be handled after treatment during assembly, it is not meant for long term abrasion exposure and durability that would be experienced by a permanently exposed PCB.
Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment is stable to 250C before the chemical structure is damaged and performance impacted. There is no known lower temperature threshold which damages the treatment.
NanoProof 1.0, 3.5, 4.0, 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, 8.0 are confirmed compatible with Aqueous solvents of pH 6.5-8.5. More extreme acids and bases have not been tested to confirm impacts but it is not expected that aqueous solvents between PH of 2-10 should be problematic for the NanoProof treatments.
NanoProof 1.0, 3.5, 4.0, & 8.0 are not compatible with petroleum based solvents, as they will be dissolved and removed. As such, petroleum based solvents can be used to remove these NanoProofs for rework.
NanoProof 5.0, 5.1, & 7.0 are not compatible with fluorosolvents. As such, fluorosolvents can be used to remove these specific NanoProofs for rework.
Parts Must be sufficiently clean prior to treatment for proper bonding and effective application. See "Cleaning" tab for more detail.
Apply Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment via spray gun. Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment comes 1L Bottles for spray applications.
Spray application typically results in treatment thickness of 50 nm - 20 µm depending on process parameters and chemistry selected.
NanoProof 7.0 & 8.0 can NOT be spray applied.
Apply Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment via film coat equipment. Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment comes in 1L Bottles for film coat applications.
Film coat application typically results in treatment thickness of 50 µm - 100 µm depending on process parameters and chemistry selected.
Fully immerse the part in the Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment solution for 30 seconds. Withdraw the part at a steady rate to ensure even coverage. Allow to dry or cure depending on your substrate. Aculon NanoProof PCB Water Protection Treatments come in convenient 1L quantities for dipping applications.
Dispense product over the surface. Apply enough material to coat the surface.
Please note that many customers have found significant success utilizing two or more of the available NanoProof® technologies successfully. Often times, the most sensitive components benefit from the most robust NanoProof® technology (5.1, 7.0, or 8.0) while the remaining components can be coated with the less robust coatings to benefit from their electrical push through capability, flexible nature and lower costs!
All NanoProof products contain a UV Tracer which is visible under 365nm wavelength UV light (Detectable by both the human eye and automated detection systems). Please note that soldermasks and other substrate materials containing a UV tracer may make accurate detection of NanoProof difficult.
Aculon recommends the below solvents for removal of NanoProof from your board should rework be necessary.
1.0, 2.0, 4.0, & 8.0 : Hydrocarbon solvents
5.0, 5.1, 7.0 : Fluorosolvents (Aculon FS500)
Please refer to these general guidelines to determine if the NanoProof product you are working with is compatible with your plastic parts that will come into NanoProof in your manual or automated systems(tubing, pumps, gaskets, etc). Please note these are general guidelines for compatibility and it is recommended you test to confirm prior to implementation as Aculon can not guarantee compatibility with your specific part.1.0, 2.0, & 4.0
Please refer to these general guidelines to determine if the NanoProof product you are working with to determine masking tapes that are compatible.
1.0, 2.0, 4.0, & 8.0
Not Compatible: All known masking tapes and pastes. Aculon 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 are specifically designed so that masking is almost never needed. If you require masking, a mask that is not damaged by hydrocarbon solvents will be required. Aculon is not aware of a compatible mask at this time.
5.0, 5.1, & 7.0
Compatible: Expect all masks to be compatible. Suggested masks:
A properly cleaned and prepared surface is imperative for Aculon NanoProof® PCB Water Protection Treatment to properly bond with the surface and offer desired performance. The level of cleanliness can play a role in performance and durability/lifetime of the treatment. Cleaning Methods can be summarized into Good, Better, & Best Options. The below cleaning options assume that the part to be treated has been sufficiently degreased and cleaned of all visual contaminants first.
Have a high volume or complicated process and are not sure what level of cleaning your parts require? Contact Aculon and we will work with you to determine the level of cleanliness needed for your application and to determine a cleaning method that fits your process.
Participants in this 60-minute webinar learned:
1) How durable is NanoProof?
ANSWER: NanoProof is designed to provide protection against water and moisture damage. It is designed to have lasting exposure to oxygen/light with great durability. It is not however designed to provide abrasion durability as the substrates it coats are typically contained within an out case and not exposed to abrasive action.
2) Can These coatings be applied over a no-clean Flux?
ANSWER: Yes, our chemistry can be applied to boards where no clean flux has been used. Fatty acids compounds are often used and traces are left behind. These traces are not water soluble but solvent soluble. For any traces left behind it would be best to clean with a solvent first. Our coating is not water soluble, but is solvent soluble. If you have an open flux, you may need to clean material. Leaves a partially conductive residue.
3) Do any options require special spray equipment? Can we use our existing spray systems/equipment?
ANSWER: Yes, the product is designed to be used with standard spray equipment. Acrylic conformal spray equipment is optimal. Automated and selective spray equipment can be sourced via PVA at pva.net.
4) What is a typical oil contact angle for NanoProof 5.1?
ANSWER: About 78° – typically in the high 70°’s. As a point of reference: An untreated product, depending on the substrate, would fall somewhere in the 10°-20° degree range.
5) How it is the product cured when applied? Is it a UV or heat cure or is it a room temperature dry?
ANSWER: Room Temperature drying is all that is typically needed. A quick cure is possible – which does not damage the coating. Longest air dry time is typically no longer than 30 minutes. Can reduce drying rates by adding heat. A heated cure typically does not add performance benefits.
6) Which application process is better? Dispensing, manual spray, or dipping?
ANSWER: Depends on the process you use and your part to be coated. No easy answer. Comes down to testing and what you need in the areas that are going to cause the most problems on your specific part. However in general spray is often preferred for application of 1.0, 3.5, 4.0, 5.0, & 5.1. Also keep in mind, 7.0 & 8.0 can not be applied via spray due to their thick nature and must be applied via dip or film coat.
8) We use a specialty coating robotic that needs to be cleaned once done. Are the Nanoproof® coatings easy to clean once the job is done?
ANSWER: Yes, we can provide the appropriate solvent for cleaning after use. It is not difficult when utilizing the proper solvent, just like cleaning a paint brush with paint thinner.
9) Is there a high-temperature curing step?
ANSWER: No, none required. These coatings can handle some level of high temperature after being coated, however it is recommended not go over 200°C for any of the NanoProof. If you wish to Increase the speed of the line, the option to use high temperature to cure is available.
10) Can it be applied over a traditional conformal coating such as parylene in order to obtain additional performance and protection?
ANSWER: Yes it can be applied over other coatings. However this is not something we have tested to evaluate the performance and protection change. Typically the value proposition with use of NanoProof is replacing a parylene coating with our more cost effective, scaleable, and easy to apply NanoProof options rather than doubling down.
11) Are these materials currently being used in any OEM’s or CEM’s that we can reference?
ANSWER: Yes, they are being used; however, due to confidentiality we cannot reference customer names. We have worked with several customers over a time period to ensure that the products work as intended. These products are commercially available and commercially used.
12) How do you test or check if the coating is on the surface?
ANSWER: A UV Tracer is added into every version of NanoProof. The UV Tracer utilized is visible under a 365 nanometer light. For QC purposes the coating illuminates blue under the UV lamp which gives an indication of how well you have coated your parts.
13) Do connections or solderable surfaces need to be masked?
ANSWER: This is dependent on the application and which NanoProof is selected. No masking is typically required for application of NanoProof® 1.0, 3.5, 4.0, & 8.0. These materials are designed around having a push thru connectivity at all the times. Even days or weeks later – you can still push through. NanoProof® 5.0, 5.1, & 7.0 have a limited window for making electrical connections, generally around an hour or so after application. Once NanoProof® 5.0, 5.1, & 7.0 have set, it is possible to use a bit of fluorosolvent (available through Aculon, please call 858-350-9474) around the specific area to allow for push through connectivity.
14) Can you dip coat unsealed switches?
ANSWER: Yes, with NanoProof® 1, 3.5, 4.0, there is no problem with this. With NanoProof 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, & 8.0 – though it has not been tested, it most likely would not work due to its more rigid structure once it has set.
15) Has any testing been done for protection against steam, such as use in an Autoclave?
ANSWER: This is not a problem so long as you do not go above the recommended max temp of 200° degree C. Autoclaves do not typically get that hot.
17) What are the Carrier Solvents?
ANSWER: For NanoProof® 1.0, 3.5 & 4.0, the carrier is a Hydrocarbon Solvent. For NanoProof 5.0, 5.1, & 7.0 the carrier is a fluorosolvent blend.
18) Do we have measured viscosities of the various treatments?
ANSWER: For NanoProof 1.0, 2.0, 3.5, & 4.0 it is very low, less than a centipoise. For NanoProof 5.1 – it depends on the application formulation selected. It is fairly light in viscocity in the 1-10 centipoise range. 7.0 & 8.0 have viscosities higher than 20 centipoise.
19) Are there disadvantages for a surface that has been over-coated or coated to be too thick?
ANSWER: No, only thing to be impacted would be the push-thru connectivity with a coating that is too thick. For NanoProof 5.1, two coats may impede push-thru if you spray it, let it dry and spray again. This may prevent you from being able to do a push-pin connection.
20) Does the applied thickness impact conductivity?
ANSWER: Our NanoProof films themselves are not conductive. NanoProof® 1.0, 2.0, 3.5, 4 .0 & 8.0 will be able to push through (allowing electrical connections to be made) with no impact to conductivity. NanoProof 5.0, 5.1, & 7.0 is a firmer barrier – you will need to peel off or use a fluorosolvent to re-wet the area if you want to go through it.
21) If we wish to test the material, how do we obtain it? Direct or through distribution?
ANSWER: Depends somewhat on the region where you are located. In the United States we distribute directly from our warehouse in Southern California. In Asia, we will have local distributors which we can re- direct you to. Because we have a mixed model, it is best to contact us if you have any questions. We will connect you with the best source based on location.
22) What are some common coating cosmetic defects which are seen, such as fish eyes or de-wetting.
ANSWER: You might see some haziness in the coating if put on a clear substrate. You would not see fish-eye but quite possibly orange peel style defects where one area is slightly higher than another. This usually happens when the solvent is really rapidly dried by heating the substrate or when the product is used outside of the specification.
23) Is NanoProof alcohol and chlorine proof?
ANSWER: Performance testing has been done in saltwater (sodium chloride) and NanoProof performs well. Alcohol will not dissolve the coating. In short, it shouldn’t have an impact – but along with other liquids that are not specifically mentioned in our tests, we recommend testing if there is concern.
24) Because Parylene is vapor applied and the NanoProof materials are liquid applied, my assumption is that the edge thickness does not compare to parylene. Do you have any information on this?
ANSWER: This is not something we’ve measured and will likely not compare to the uniformity of parylene. However the performance testing is positive and ultimately is typically what is most important. If edge thickness is critical to you we do find that you can do multiple applications in a far shorter cycle time.
25) What is the application rate?
ANSWER: Typical application time is 30 seconds for dipping. However, every part is unique – so your part may need some process optimization. The withdrawal speed will also impact the thickness. Spraying can be done in seconds.
26) Do the coated surfaces remain solderable or can you solder through a coated PCBA.
ANSWER: For NanoProof 1.0, 3.5 & 4.0, yes it is possible to solder through a coated PCBA. With NanoProof 5.0, 5.1, & 8.0 during the first hour window of dry time you can solder before the material has set. Once the film has set, take a clean room swab, dip in fluorosolvent, and rub over the area you want to solder.
27) Do these products have low boiling points?
ANSWER: Boiling points for NanoProof 1.0, 3.5 & 4.0 are in the 90 – 100°C range. For NanoProof 5.1, it would depend on which application you choose, dip, spray or dispense. The solvent range boiling point is 85 – 140°C.
28) Do these products comply with ROHS and REACH regulations?
ANSWER: Yes, no heavy metals, no VOAs, no v-techs.
29) When you make a push through connector does it remain sealed?
ANSWER: Assuming that the coating covers the bare metal lead – Yes.
30) Where does the product ship from?
ANSWER: The products are manufactured at our facility in California. Orders from the United States market will ship from California. We do have some distributors in Asia who will carry and ship for orders in that area.
31) Can a regular test tape be used to test for adhesion?
ANSWER: An adhesion tape test is not really relevant for NanoProof® 1.0, 3.5, & 4.0 - these are actually still semi-liquid once they are down. NanoProof 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, & 8.0, on the other hand, does cure into a hard coating. So yes, once cured, a tape test can be utilized to test for adhesion.
32) Have you done any accelerated life testing such as what is used in automotive or medical?
ANSWER: No, we have not as this is typically unique per the specific application and performed by the customer utilizing the application specific part. Feedback from customers is that there is not a concern surrounding any testing performed that shows degradation in the life of the board. We have just tested performance in water and salt water and found no impact.
33) How much NanoProof is needed for a certain size?
ANSWER: For all Coatings: In general approximately 1ml per square foot of surface area for dipping. For example a 3"x5" board would use less than a ml. Spray utilizes approximately 1-3 ml per square foot of surface area. Spray can be more efficient if not all surfaces need treatment.
34) When breaking through coating with mounting screws will water migrate under the coating?
ANSWER: No, not in our experience.
35) You mention that NanoProof allows for electrical connections. Is the coating itself conductive?
ANSWER: The coatings are all Non-conductive by nature. They do allow for connections to be made through them by pushing out of the way or due to their ultra thin nature. They will not impact the conductivity of a coated trace. By design our coating it is meant to keep conductivity from bridging.
36) How well does it perform under extreme conditions. – 40°C to 80°C?
ANSWER: Based on chemistry it will survive both very well. All NanoProof materials are stable at this temperature range.
37) Would our products pass Mil 4658C or IPCCC830? For Biocompatible, ISO10993?
ANSWER: This testing has not been done at this stage. It is likely they would pass. If a customer with a significant enough project requiring this was interested we are glad to look into the possibility.
38) Are you planning to test repellency or have you tested for other fluids in the auto industry, i.e. brake fluid and gasoline?
ANSWER: Due to the shear # of liquids which can potentially be tested, we have not tested every possible scenario. However NanoProof is both hydrophobic & oleophobic – you would expect to see the high contact angles for most oil and water based liquids.
39) If you want to have a thinner thickness for each type of coating for application what is your recommendation?
ANSWER: If thinner coverage is required we can potentially lower the actives %. We do not encourage you to dilute the concentration as it goes on very thin as is and therefore provides a cost-effective coating. We can work to customize the concentration once you have tested samples and can confirm your needs.
40) How do you suggest I test if a water proof coating is needed for my part? Also How do I determine which NanoProof meets my performance needs?
ANSWER: From working with our customers we see that there is a huge variety of testing: we have manufacturers of medical devices that are worried about splashing of liquid on their device, other who need IPX7 qualification or others who require even longer periods of submersion in a variety of solutions.
Determine the level of exposure and performance you want the part to pass– connect the device (board), turn the power on the unit and test against those conditions.
If you want something very simple for Humidity – go with something straightforward like NanoProof® 1.0. If you want full submersion of a running device over a long period of time NanoProof 7.0 OR 8.0 is likely most appropriate. NanoProof® 3.5, 4.0, 5.0, & 5.1 fit somewhere in the middle performance wise and are usually robust enough to meet most performance specs.
41) How does the UV tracer impact the capabilities of the waterproof coating?
ANSWER: We have not found any negative impact. If a coating with no UV tracer is desired this can be arranged. Please inquire for information.
43) What intensity of UV light is advised for UV Tracer?
ANSWER: Aculon uses a 4 watt UV lamp at 365 nanometers in the lab. A stronger or weaker lamp will likely work, just be sure that it is a 365 nm UV lamp.
44) What type of PCB handling is recommended or allowed after coating with 3.5 or 4.0?
ANSWER: Keep in mind both 3.5 and 4.0 are never actually cured and are gel like in nature (allows for push through connectivity!) and should be handled carefully. Once inside of the units enclosure this is not a concern. Hold in an area you are not trying to protect. Usually there are plenty of parts on the board or the edge of the board where you can handle and get it on to the next step of manufacturing without actually disturbing the leads on the ic or where the power slides come in. Basically, don’t handle in the areas that you are trying to protect as the coating is still deformable.
Nanoproof 1.0 MSDS
Nanoproof 1.0 TDS
Nanoproof 1.0 China ROHS Test
Nanoproof 1.0 EU ROHS Test
Nanoproof 1.0 REACH Test
Nanoproof 3.5 MSDS
Nanoproof 3.5 TDS
Nanoproof 3.5 China ROHS Test
Nanoproof 3.5 EU ROHS Test
Nanoproof 3.5 REACH Test
Nanoproof 4.0 MSDS
Nanoproof 4.0 TDS
Nanoproof 4.0 China ROHS Test
Nanoproof 4.0 EU ROHS Test
Nanoproof 4.0 REACH Test
Nanoproof 5.0 MSDS
Nanoproof 5.0 TDS
Nanoproof 5.0 China ROHS Test
Nanoproof 5.0 EU ROHS Test
Nanoproof 5.0 REACH Test
Nanoproof 5.1 SDS
Nanoproof 5.1 TDS
Nanoproof 5.1 China ROHS Test
Nanoproof 5.1 EU ROHS Test
Nanoproof 5.1 REACH Test
Nanoproof 7.0 SDS
Nanoproof 7.0 TDS
Nanoproof 8.0 SDS
NanoProof 8.0 TDS
Participants in this 60-minute webinar learned: