June 17, 2024


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Electronic assemblies without PCBs – Electronic Products & TechnologyElectronic Products & Technology

Laser immediate structuring (LDS) is a distinctive success story. For nearly 20 a long time, it has been probable to utilize electronic conductor paths immediately on to plastic pieces through sequence output. LDS permits the output of electronic assemblies with flexible geometric designs. This approach permits digital goods (these types of as wise telephones, sensors or healthcare products) to turn out to be even smaller sized and much more effective. Automatic production procedures also make this course of action extra economically interesting.

There is considerably less and a lot less space offered for digital assemblies, so methods are desired which switch typical printed circuit boards. LDS allows even more miniaturization and tends to make ever more elaborate geometric models possible. This is a stable and reliable course of action that has established alone in high quality-important sectors these types of as clinical engineering or protection-pertinent factors for the automotive marketplace.

LDS course of action allows three-dimensional assemblies

Direct laser structuring allows 3D-MID (Mechatronic Integrated Gadgets) assemblies to be generated. When working with 3D-MID, digital elements can be equipped instantly on to a three-dimensional foundation body, with no circuit boards or connecting cables. The foundation human body is produced employing an injection moulding procedure, whereby the thermoplastic materials has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

The construction of the conductor route is utilized making use of the LDS approach.
LDS allows digital assemblies to be produced in flexible geometric shapes. Good telephones, listening to aids and smart watches are turning into smaller and much more highly effective many thanks to this process. Supply: Harting

The additives in the material are “activated” by direct laser structuring so that the plastic substance can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the locations intended for the conductor paths and creates a micro-rough composition. The launched metallic particles type the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are applied to the locations marked by the laser. The other places of the three-dimensional base physique continue being unchanged. The plastic ingredient can then be assembled in conventional SMD procedures similar to a standard PCB. It is also acceptable for soldering in a reflow oven.

Multipurpose application of laser technologies

As a person of the premier suppliers of 3D-MID factors exterior of Asia, HARTING employs large-overall performance laser systems for the LDS method, with 3 lasers performing in parallel, every offset by 45 degrees. Many thanks to an additional axis of rotation, elements can be processed by the laser concurrently from all sides (360 levels). This technological know-how enables flexible geometric shapes, this sort of as reflector shells or LED lights, to be created. Inspite of the small conductor route thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are however appropriate for demanding automotive parts or for applications with currents up to 10 A – for instance for heating coils in cameras which are utilized to protect against the optics from fogging up

Minimum amount distances concerning the conductor paths (a): 50 – 150μm. Minimal width of the conductor paths (b): 50 – 150μm Radius (r): .2mm. Resource: Harting

Repeated modifications throughout the electronics improvement stage or new components with modified dimensions can direct to high-priced adjustments for the duration of common PCB creation. The laser format, in distinction, can be tailored extremely flexibly by utilizing the parameters of the laser’s manage application. No variations in the injection moulding are needed for this.

The output of prototypes utilizing LDS is also a lot easier compared to conventional procedures. HARTING can deliver the plastic foundation physique utilizing LDS-appropriate content and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be made use of with reasonably priced prototype equipment.

New developments in the LDS approach

Many facets of LDS technological innovation have been enhanced and additional designed above the previous couple yrs.

  • The doing the job location of the laser has been enlarged from 160 x 160 x 80 mm to 200 mm x 200 mm x 80 mm, as a result enabling a bigger packing density and the processing of even bigger components.
  • The operating speed of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimizing the servo models and mirrors which guideline the laser beam, therefore considerably decreasing the processing time.
  • The improvement of the optics allows the use of a laser with a diameter of 100 μm and a laser with a high-quality emphasis of 50 μm for processing even smaller sized buildings.

HARTING is the only 3D-MID company in the environment that has a laser system with three great concentration optics of 50 μm. Even more compact conductor route gaps can be realized thanks to this high-quality emphasis laser. Thus, numerous conductor paths can be developed on the same ingredient and a better packing density can be executed. This is utilised for protection know-how, between other points, since the closely spaced and intertwined conductors are capable of triggering safety alarms from even the smallest bodily interference.

Advances in materials and economics

Only specifically chosen thermoplastics are accredited for the LDS method these are readily available from inventory. The procedure can be further improved with buyer-particular changes to the plastic material:

  • HARTING works by using a system which adds LDS additives to non-licensed materials to make them MID-appropriate.
  • Particular RAL or Pantone colours can be attained with MID plastics by employing colour pigments and exclusive LDS additives.
  • By deciding on suitable additives, distinctive RF characteristics can also be carried out, depending on the frequency assortment.

Digital parts – this kind of as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be connected straight on to the ingredient provider. The assembled element carriers can then be processed as normal SMD factors. Resource: Harting

To additional improve the value-efficiency of the manufacturing system, HARTING depends on automatic robotic programs. The LDS laser program is geared up with a rotary indexing table so that a element can be inserted or eradicated even though a different component is even now becoming processed. The in-feed and unloading techniques are automatic by HARTING making use of robotics. This boosts throughput and autonomy, whilst also enabling integration into automated output processes. An extra automation action is presented during the injection moulding approach. In this article, as well, a robotic takes over the removing of the injection moulded components. The use of robotics also improves the specific reproducibility of the procedures and, therefore, overall item top quality.

Additional growth for 3D-MID

The 3D-MID caps defend the electronics from unauthorized entry the two mechanically and electronically. A really precise meandering construction detects each individual accessibility, no make a difference how smaller, and as a result stops theft. Supply: Harting

HARTING experiences greater need for MID jobs and has additional expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in equipment and by acquiring a competitor’s enterprise. Innovative in-home items are also contributing to even further advancement. HARTING has produced a remedy dependent on 3D-MID know-how which replaces versatile PCBs with a component carrier. As an alternative of utilizing a flex-PCB, the element provider can be equipped straight with digital parts, consequently preserving up to two thirds of the cost.



HARTING 3D-MID is presenting the full price chain for 3D-MID technologies from a single resource, such as enhancement/prototyping of client-precise goods, injection moulding, laser immediate structuring, metallization, assembly and relationship technological know-how, as effectively as ultimate inspection. Its core organization is the production of mechatronic elements for car producing, marketplace, clinical technology and sensor techniques.

Dirk Rettschlag, undertaking manager & IE MID at Harting MID.