Potting & Encapsulation

Potting (embedment) is the covering of an electronic or electrical device to protect it from the surrounding environment. Most of the time it is for protection from water or moisture and /or to electrically insulate it so that it will operate as designed. This can be done by several methods: potting, casting and encapsulation. Many names have been used interchangeably so there is some confusion over the terms. The most commonly used terms are potting and encapsulation.


The potting method uses a "pot" (a case or shell) to contain the device and then pour the liquid potting compound to the top of the case, completely covering the device and encasing it. This case becomes part of the finished unit. This is the most common method used, especially for high speed and many-units-per-hour production-line conditions.


Encapsulation (which is also called casting) is much like potting but instead of a case that remains as part of the unit, a mold is used and removed after the potting compound has hardened. Encapsulation is typically used when a molded unit is desired. Encapsulation is also the term used when a device is dipped into a resin system and a thick coating completely surrounds the unit. Sometimes this is just called a "dip coating". A molded device is a normally described as an encapsulated unit.

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