Potting and encapsulation are both methods for protecting fragile components. To learn the difference between potting and encapsulation, continue reading.
When designing a product, you may need to protect a critical component from environmental threats, tampering, and chemicals. In such a case, there are several different options to choose from. Two of the most common ways to shield a vulnerable component include potting or encapsulation. Often, these terms are used interchangeably. However, there are many differences in their processes and applications. Below, we will address the key differences between potting and encapsulation.
Potting is the process of creating a case or shell known as a “pot” for an item. Then, resin is poured over the pot and the component, completely encasing it. Ultimately, the resin-filled pot will harden and become a part of the finished product. This process is especially beneficial when you need to produce units at high speeds.
Potting is one of the most common methods used to protect vulnerable components from water and moisture. It is also helpful for electrically insulating a component and protecting it from thermal or physical shock. If you have a device that contains valuable intellectual data, potting will provide a physical and visual barrier to prevent intellectual property theft and tampering.
Encapsulation is a process in which a component is dipped into a resin-filled mold so that it is completely coated. Once the resin hardens, the component and its resin coating are then removed from the mold and placed in an assembly. Unlike potting, the mold does not become a part of the final product. Generally, molded devices are referred to as encapsulated units.
The benefits of encapsulation are similar to those of potting. By covering the component with a resin coating, you protect it from water, chemicals, thermal shock, vibration, and theft. The component can be used in a wider variety of applications in more rugged environments due to the protective shield. These are the differences between potting and encapsulation.
If you need to encapsulate fragile items such as electronic devices, you will need to use a low temperature and low pressure molding process such as reaction injection molding. Doing so will prevent damage to the component during encapsulation.