Potting and encapsulation are two processes that are used to insulate and protect electronic products. They are performed during the manufacturing process and help to keep dangerous substances out while also protecting against thermal shock and vibration. The equipment for potting and the equipment for encapsulation have similar processes, but work in different ways. Below we will take a look at both of the processes and their similarities and differences.
The potting system of coating and insulation involves the use of a shell that the device is placed in so that the liquid insulator can poured over into it. This process completely encases the unit and the case becomes a part of the finished product. Multiple types of materials are used for this process such as acrylics, silicone, and resin. The material used will depend on the product and the customer specifications, because different products require different levels of rigidity and protection.
Encapsulation has the same purpose as potting, but it works a little differently. It also involves a case or mold that the insulating material is poured into, however the casing in not permanent. The mold is reusable and is taken off at the end of the process. These molds are made from non-adhering products and you must wait for the resin or epoxy to cure before separating them from the product.
Similarities and Differences
The obvious difference between the processes is that one uses a permanent casing while the other uses a reusable mold. However, there are plenty of similarities between the two processes. They both involve encasing an electronic device to provide things like chemical, thermal, and surge protection. They use similar materials as well. They are both effective encasing processes and choosing between the two is a matter of the product being used. Potting and encapsulation have different finished designs, so the choice will depend on the final product design.
Potting and encapsulation are both perfectly effective processes that provide great protection for electronic devices. Picking one or the other depends on design preferences and is something you would work through with a customer. They both offer similar benefits and use a silicone or resin dispensing system to disperse the material being used for the encasing process.