June 30, 2022


Epicurean computer & technology

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

Laser immediate structuring (LDS) is a exclusive good results story. For just about 20 several years, it has been feasible to use digital conductor paths directly on to plastic components all through collection production. LDS allows the manufacturing of electronic assemblies with versatile geometric shapes. This approach allows electronic products (these kinds of as smart phones, sensors or medical gadgets) to develop into even smaller sized and more potent. Automated manufacturing procedures also make this process much more economically beautiful.

There is much less and much less room readily available for digital assemblies, so solutions are required which replace regular printed circuit boards. LDS allows additional miniaturization and tends to make progressively sophisticated geometric types doable. This is a secure and reputable course of action that has proven itself in top quality-vital sectors this kind of as healthcare technological innovation or basic safety-relevant elements for the automotive market.

LDS process allows a few-dimensional assemblies

Immediate laser structuring permits 3D-MID (Mechatronic Integrated Gadgets) assemblies to be produced. When applying 3D-MID, electronic components can be fitted right onto a a few-dimensional base system, devoid of circuit boards or connecting cables. The base physique is created working with an injection moulding system, whereby the thermoplastic material has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

The structure of the conductor path is applied using the LDS process.
LDS permits digital assemblies to be designed in adaptable geometric styles. Sensible telephones, listening to aids and sensible watches are turning into smaller sized and extra impressive many thanks to this system. Supply: Harting

The additives in the product are “activated” by direct laser structuring so that the plastic product can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the regions intended for the conductor paths and makes a micro-tough structure. The released steel particles sort the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are applied to the regions marked by the laser. The other regions of the three-dimensional foundation entire body continue being unchanged. The plastic component can then be assembled in typical SMD procedures identical to a regular PCB. It is also suited for soldering in a reflow oven.

Versatile software of laser technologies

As 1 of the biggest suppliers of 3D-MID factors outside the house of Asia, HARTING works by using significant-efficiency laser techniques for the LDS course of action, with 3 lasers working in parallel, each offset by 45 levels. Thanks to an added axis of rotation, elements can be processed by the laser at the same time from all sides (360 levels). This know-how enables versatile geometric styles, these kinds of as reflector shells or LED lights, to be produced. Regardless of the nominal conductor route thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are however ideal for demanding automotive factors or for purposes with currents up to 10 A – for illustration for heating coils in cameras which are utilised to avoid the optics from fogging up

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

Recurrent modifications throughout the electronics progress phase or new factors with modified dimensions can lead to high priced changes all through traditional PCB production. The laser format, in contrast, can be tailored pretty flexibly by applying the parameters of the laser’s control application. No adjustments in the injection moulding are required for this.

The production of prototypes making use of LDS is also less complicated in comparison to conventional procedures. HARTING can deliver the plastic foundation entire body utilizing LDS-compatible content and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be utilised with affordable prototype tools.

New trends in the LDS system

Many factors of LDS engineering have been enhanced and even further formulated about the earlier few years.

  • The functioning location of the laser has been enlarged from 160 x 160 x 80 mm to 200 mm x 200 mm x 80 mm, therefore enabling a increased packing density and the processing of even more substantial components.
  • The working speed of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimizing the servo units and mirrors which guide the laser beam, thereby drastically lessening the processing time.
  • The improvement of the optics permits the use of a laser with a diameter of 100 μm and a laser with a wonderful target of 50 μm for processing even lesser constructions.

HARTING is the only 3D-MID company in the globe that has a laser program with 3 fine emphasis optics of 50 μm. Even more compact conductor route gaps can be obtained thanks to this great concentration laser. Therefore, numerous conductor paths can be designed on the exact part and a better packing density can be executed. This is employed for security technologies, among the other matters, due to the fact the carefully spaced and intertwined conductors are capable of triggering security alarms from even the smallest physical interference.

Innovations in resources and economics

Only specifically selected thermoplastics are qualified for the LDS approach these are accessible from inventory. The procedure can be even more improved with client-certain changes to the plastic materials:

  • HARTING works by using a procedure which adds LDS additives to non-qualified materials to make them MID-suitable.
  • Distinct RAL or Pantone colours can be achieved with MID plastics by using colour pigments and distinctive LDS additives.
  • By picking ideal additives, special RF traits can also be executed, depending on the frequency vary.

Digital components – this sort of as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be hooked up right onto the element provider. The assembled part carriers can then be processed as regular SMD elements. Resource: Harting

To further more improve the value-performance of the manufacturing system, HARTING depends on automated robotic programs. The LDS laser method is equipped with a rotary indexing table so that a ingredient can be inserted or eradicated when one more element is nonetheless currently being processed. The in-feed and unloading methods are automatic by HARTING employing robotics. This will increase throughput and autonomy, though also enabling integration into automated creation procedures. An added automation step is provided in the course of the injection moulding course of action. Below, as well, a robot takes more than the elimination of the injection moulded elements. The use of robotics also increases the precise reproducibility of the processes and, as a result, over-all products quality.

Much more progress for 3D-MID

The 3D-MID caps defend the electronics from unauthorized accessibility both equally mechanically and electronically. A very specific meandering structure detects each and every entry, no make a difference how modest, and for that reason prevents theft. Resource: Harting

HARTING experiences elevated demand from customers for MID jobs and has even further expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in machinery and by attaining a competitor’s business. Modern in-property solutions are also contributing to additional growth. HARTING has created a alternative primarily based on 3D-MID technologies which replaces adaptable PCBs with a ingredient carrier. As an alternative of working with a flex-PCB, the ingredient provider can be fitted right with electronic components, therefore preserving up to two thirds of the cost.



HARTING 3D-MID is providing the comprehensive value chain for 3D-MID systems from a single supply, together with enhancement/prototyping of client-certain products and solutions, injection moulding, laser direct structuring, metallization, assembly and connection technology, as well as last inspection. Its main business is the manufacturing of mechatronic parts for car manufacturing, industry, professional medical technological know-how and sensor techniques.

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




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