Using Vacuum Impregnation to Fill Quality Gaps for Electronics Manufacturers

Often the most troublesome and critical problems are those that are least visible. That certainly is true of electronic components, such as connectors, coils and wire harnesses. In the manufacture of these components, tiny voids, leak paths and microscopic holes are unavoidable. These gaps, while often not readily discernible, can be disastrous when electronic products are operated in harsh environments, because moisture and corrosive agents can enter through these voids and spread through to critical components, causing them to fail.

While they may initially be difficult to spot, the presence of these voids can be demonstrated by submerging the part in water and applying as little as 5 psi of air pressure to it. Air bubbles will pour out of the holes and gaps, making the leaks obvious. One solution that has proven to be largely successful is vacuum impregnation. The auto industry has used this methodology for 60 years to seal porosity in engine blocks, transmission cases and other components that are required to maintain a pressure. In the early 1990s, engineers began applying vacuum impregnation to seal electronic components and wires that also faced pressure retention requirements.