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

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

Laser immediate structuring (LDS) is a particular results story. For almost 20 decades, it has been achievable to implement electronic conductor paths straight on to plastic sections all through collection creation. LDS enables the production of electronic assemblies with versatile geometric shapes. This procedure enables digital solutions (such as clever phones, sensors or healthcare units) to come to be even scaled-down and extra effective. Automated manufacturing processes also make this course of action much more economically beautiful.

There is much less and fewer room obtainable for electronic assemblies, so answers are required which change standard printed circuit boards. LDS permits additional miniaturization and makes increasingly advanced geometric patterns possible. This is a steady and reputable system that has set up itself in top quality-vital sectors this kind of as clinical engineering or safety-suitable parts for the automotive industry.

LDS process allows a few-dimensional assemblies

Immediate laser structuring allows 3D-MID (Mechatronic Built-in Gadgets) assemblies to be created. When working with 3D-MID, electronic factors can be fitted right onto a 3-dimensional foundation physique, without having circuit boards or connecting cables. The foundation physique is manufactured utilizing an injection moulding system, whereby the thermoplastic material has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

The composition of the conductor route is utilized applying the LDS procedure.
LDS enables digital assemblies to be built in versatile geometric shapes. Sensible phones, listening to aids and good watches are starting to be lesser and far more potent thanks to this method. Source: Harting

The additives in the materials are “activated” by immediate laser structuring so that the plastic material can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the regions supposed for the conductor paths and produces a micro-tough construction. The introduced metal particles form the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are utilized to the areas marked by the laser. The other places of the a few-dimensional foundation overall body remain unchanged. The plastic component can then be assembled in normal SMD processes very similar to a conventional PCB. It is also suited for soldering in a reflow oven.

Functional application of laser technological know-how

As one particular of the biggest suppliers of 3D-MID parts exterior of Asia, HARTING uses large-performance laser devices for the LDS system, with three lasers performing in parallel, each and every offset by 45 levels. Many thanks to an extra axis of rotation, components can be processed by the laser simultaneously from all sides (360 degrees). This know-how permits adaptable geometric shapes, these types of as reflector shells or LED lights, to be built. Regardless of the nominal conductor route thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are nevertheless appropriate for demanding automotive elements or for purposes with currents up to 10 A – for instance for heating coils in cameras which are employed to avert the optics from fogging up

Minimum distances concerning the conductor paths (a): 50 – 150μm. Bare minimum width of the conductor paths (b): 50 – 150μm Radius (r): .2mm. Supply: Harting

Regular alterations during the electronics improvement period or new parts with modified proportions can lead to expensive changes for the duration of typical PCB manufacturing. The laser layout, in distinction, can be adapted extremely flexibly by working with the parameters of the laser’s control program. No improvements in the injection moulding are necessary for this.

The manufacturing of prototypes making use of LDS is also much easier when compared to common processes. HARTING can generate the plastic base body making use of LDS-appropriate product and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be utilised with economical prototype equipment.

New trends in the LDS method

Various features of LDS technology have been improved and further more made above the earlier number of years.

  • The functioning place of the laser has been enlarged from 160 x 160 x 80 mm to 200 mm x 200 mm x 80 mm, hence enabling a bigger packing density and the processing of even much larger elements.
  • The functioning pace of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimizing the servo units and mirrors which guideline the laser beam, therefore drastically minimizing 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 fantastic target of 50 μm for processing even smaller constructions.

HARTING is the only 3D-MID company in the globe that has a laser method with three good emphasis optics of 50 μm. Even lesser conductor path gaps can be accomplished many thanks to this wonderful focus laser. Consequently, a lot of conductor paths can be made on the similar element and a bigger packing density can be executed. This is utilized for security technological innovation, amid other factors, for the reason that the closely spaced and intertwined conductors are able of triggering protection alarms from even the smallest physical interference.

Advances in supplies and economics

Only specifically chosen thermoplastics are qualified for the LDS system these are obtainable from stock. The approach can be further improved with client-unique changes to the plastic substance:

  • HARTING makes use of a course of action which adds LDS additives to non-licensed materials to make them MID-suitable.
  • Specific RAL or Pantone colours can be accomplished with MID plastics by making use of colour pigments and exclusive LDS additives.
  • By selecting suited additives, exclusive RF qualities can also be carried out, depending on the frequency assortment.

Electronic components – these kinds of as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be attached directly on to the ingredient carrier. The assembled element carriers can then be processed as typical SMD parts. Resource: Harting

To additional enhance the value-success of the producing method, HARTING relies on automated robotic systems. The LDS laser technique is equipped with a rotary indexing desk so that a element can be inserted or taken out whilst a different part is nonetheless getting processed. The in-feed and unloading methods are automatic by HARTING employing robotics. This boosts throughput and autonomy, while also enabling integration into automatic manufacturing processes. An more automation action is delivered throughout the injection moulding method. In this article, much too, a robotic can take about the removing of the injection moulded pieces. The use of robotics also enhances the precise reproducibility of the processes and, thus, general merchandise top quality.

Extra advancement for 3D-MID

The 3D-MID caps shield the electronics from unauthorized access the two mechanically and electronically. A hugely exact meandering construction detects each and every accessibility, no matter how modest, and consequently helps prevent theft. Supply: Harting

HARTING experiences enhanced demand from customers for MID jobs and has additional expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in equipment and by getting a competitor’s organization. Modern in-home merchandise are also contributing to more development. HARTING has produced a answer based on 3D-MID know-how which replaces versatile PCBs with a component provider. As an alternative of applying a flex-PCB, the element provider can be fitted specifically with electronic elements, thus conserving up to two thirds of the price.



HARTING 3D-MID is providing the full benefit chain for 3D-MID systems from a one supply, like development/prototyping of customer-distinct merchandise, injection moulding, laser direct structuring, metallization, assembly and link know-how, as effectively as final inspection. Its main business enterprise is the manufacturing of mechatronic components for automobile manufacturing, sector, medical technological innovation and sensor systems.

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