March 4th of 2020 represented a potentially seminal date for both suppliers and manufacturers within the printed circuit board industry. This was the date of release of four updated Guobiao or “GB” standards related to the VOC content and other harmful substances allowable within supplied inks, adhesives, and protective coatings in China. This change in regulations is the result of China’s three-year action plan begun in 2018. The plan is intended to improve air quality through reduction of VOC emissions by at least 10% as compared to 2015 levels.
The new standards are straightforward but can become difficult to understand as they are often implemented by city and by region.
Image source: www.gbstandards.org
Lower VOC Options
There are essentially three options or strategies available to manufacturers to lower or eliminate VOC content in conformal coatings:
- water-borne coatings
- 100% solids coatings including silicones and UV curables
- reformulated coatings with compliant solvents
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each of these approaches and options. Water-borne coatings, for example, can suffer from reduced shelf life and limited performance issues, which may not live up to the requirements of more demanding protection needs.
100% solids coatings are an excellent option but often require significant capital investment when transitioning from more traditional coatings.
HumiSeal “LTX” Coatings
Chase Corporation and HumiSeal have been aware of the coming changes in China for some time. As a result, our chemists have proactively designed many of the most popular HumiSeal conformal coatings to produce compliant versions with the new standards. For many of these designs, it involved replacing reactive and polluting materials, such as toluene, xylene, and other aromatics, with compliant alternatives.
If you or your organization is confronted with the challenges of the new GB standards in China, please contact Chase and HumiSeal to discuss any of the above options including our newest LTX grades.
Please contact us today to discuss your application.