What five factors affect the cost of Parylene coating the most?

No one denies that Parylene coating can be a more costly application process compared to liquid conformal coatings. 

In my 35 years of working in the Chemical Industry and 12 in the Parylene industry I have never heard anyone say - Wow, that’s a low priced process!

Parylene may be more costly, but what it offers are many unique properties that outperform the normal conformal coatings typically used in the industry.

It just may be worth you paying the extra cost.  Usually, you get what you pay for.

That notwithstanding, I wanted to explain why you are paying more for the Parylene process and also what are the five key factors that affect price the most.

Hopefully, you can better appreciate the price of Parylene over that of other Conformal Coatings once you have an understanding of precisely what are the key drivers in the cost model. 


What are the key drivers in determining the final cost of processing with Parylene coating?

There are five factors that affect the cost of Parylene processing and they include:

  • Equipment costs
  • Speed of application
  • Batch process only
  • Labor intensive
  • Raw dimer (material) costs

These five factors are explored below.


Equipment costs

Parylene systems are more expensive in general terms compared to the liquid conformal coating equipment.

First, lets understand that Parylene is one of the main chemistries in a large family of conformal coatings. 

However, it differs from the other conformal coatings in that it is deposited via Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), a process requiring sophisticated and expensive platforms.

All of the other traditional conformal coatings, like acrylic, epoxy, polyurethane and silicone materials, are based upon liquid chemistries.

So, these liquid conformal coatings are applied very differently (dip, spray), and in general, in a more low cost manner.


Speed of application

The Parylene process involves vaporizing a dimer, followed by pyrolysis and polymerization, and is much slower than liquid coating.

This is because the CVD coating is a polymer-condensation process, is a very slow method of application.

Typical deposition rates are approximately 2um per hour.

So, even though Parylene coating is typically applied as a much thinner film than the liquid conformal coatings, the process can take anywhere from 4 to 48 hours from start to finish, depending upon the type of Parylene and the desired thickness of the film. 


Batch process only

Parylene Coating is a batch process. This means that there is an economy of scale to processing.

Therefore, coating one piece requires many of the same cost/inputs as coating 100 pieces.

 Optimizing batch size is important. It could make a substantial difference in to the final price per unit.


Labor intensive

Coating with Parylene is labor Intensive.

In fact, more than any other factor, labor is what impacts the final Parylene cost the most.

One of the main reasons is that Parylene requires more attention to detail for the different preparation processes than the liquid conformal coatings.

These processes include cleaning, preparation, masking, promotion, fixturing and de-masking.

For example, Parylene generally needs more surface preparation than liquid coatings to make it adhere to the target.

Also, masking needs to be much better due to the nature of depositing a coating as a vapor which has extreme crevice penetration.

Conversely, reducing the level of masking can contribute the most in keeping the price of Parylene coating low.


Raw dimer (material) costs

The raw Parylene dimer contributes a small but significant cost to the overall cost.

Assuming the use of Parylene-C at typical thicknesses, the contribution of material cost to overall cost can be up to 10%.

The main exception to this rule is fluorinated Parylene (F and AF-4). With these specialist dimers, the contribution of raw material to final coating cost can be as high as 80%.


So what is the biggest cost factor in Parylene processing?

In the end the biggest cost is labor in the preparation processes. If you can reduce these costs then you reduce the overall process.

Liquid conformal coating are more competitive when they are applied selectively and the labor costs are reduced.

However, these liquid coatings have reduced performance against parylene and this has to be considered in the final analysis.



Warren Boomer, Thin film Partners

Warren Boomer is the Founder and Managing Director of Thin Film Partners – a company which represents a departure from standard business model in coating. His vision was to create an entity able to provide virtually all coating services, materials and instruction for all families of coatings – CVD, ALD, MVD, DLC, Liquid conformal coatings, Powder coating, Fluoropolymers, Electroplating and Oxides/Ceramics.

Thin Film Partners comprises a number of recognized experts in various coatings arenas. Warren and his group will contribute to various sections, including Parylene, Fluoropolymers, MVD, and other high performance coatings.


Start here to find out more about Thin Film Partners.