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

Laser immediate structuring (LDS) is a unique good results story. For pretty much 20 decades, it has been achievable to apply electronic conductor paths immediately on to plastic parts throughout series output. LDS enables the output of electronic assemblies with versatile geometric shapes. This procedure permits digital merchandise (this sort of as sensible phones, sensors or professional medical devices) to become even smaller sized and extra strong. Automatic producing processes also make this procedure much more economically appealing.

There is significantly less and much less space obtainable for digital assemblies, so alternatives are wanted which swap common printed circuit boards. LDS allows more miniaturization and would make significantly complex geometric patterns doable. This is a steady and trusted course of action that has founded itself in top quality-essential sectors such as health-related technological innovation or security-related components for the automotive market.

LDS course of action enables a few-dimensional assemblies

Direct laser structuring permits 3D-MID (Mechatronic Built-in Units) assemblies to be generated. When using 3D-MID, electronic components can be fitted instantly onto a three-dimensional base overall body, without circuit boards or connecting cables. The base system is made applying an injection moulding process, whereby the thermoplastic content has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

The framework of the conductor path is used using the LDS method.
LDS enables electronic assemblies to be designed in adaptable geometric shapes. Intelligent telephones, listening to aids and good watches are getting to be smaller sized and additional powerful many thanks to this process. Source: Harting

The additives in the product are “activated” by immediate laser structuring so that the plastic product can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the spots supposed for the conductor paths and makes a micro-tough composition. The released metallic particles variety the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are applied to the parts marked by the laser. The other areas of the three-dimensional base overall body keep on being unchanged. The plastic ingredient can then be assembled in common SMD processes similar to a typical PCB. It is also suitable for soldering in a reflow oven.

Versatile software of laser technological know-how

As 1 of the major suppliers of 3D-MID factors outside the house of Asia, HARTING takes advantage of substantial-efficiency laser programs for the LDS procedure, with 3 lasers functioning in parallel, just about 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 technological innovation permits adaptable geometric styles, this kind of as reflector shells or LED lights, to be produced. Despite the minimum conductor route thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are nonetheless suited for demanding automotive elements or for apps with currents up to 10 A – for instance for heating coils in cameras which are employed to prevent the optics from fogging up

Minimal distances amongst the conductor paths (a): 50 – 150μm. Least width of the conductor paths (b): 50 – 150μm Radius (r): .2mm. Source: Harting

Frequent variations during the electronics growth section or new factors with modified proportions can lead to expensive changes through common PCB manufacturing. The laser format, in contrast, can be tailored incredibly flexibly by employing the parameters of the laser’s manage program. No modifications in the injection moulding are necessary for this.

The creation of prototypes working with LDS is also easier when compared to regular processes. HARTING can produce the plastic foundation system using LDS-appropriate materials and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be utilised with affordable prototype resources.

New traits in the LDS course of action

Various areas of LDS technology have been improved and additional formulated about the past several a long time.

  • The performing location 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 higher packing density and the processing of even larger parts.
  • The doing the job speed of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimizing the servo models and mirrors which guidebook the laser beam, therefore substantially 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 fine aim of 50 μm for processing even smaller structures.

HARTING is the only 3D-MID producer in the globe that has a laser technique with a few fantastic concentration optics of 50 μm. Even lesser conductor path gaps can be obtained thanks to this wonderful aim laser. So, lots of conductor paths can be produced on the identical part and a higher packing density can be applied. This is utilized for safety technological know-how, between other items, because the carefully spaced and intertwined conductors are able of triggering basic safety alarms from even the smallest physical interference.

Advances in products and economics

Only specially selected thermoplastics are licensed for the LDS process these are out there from stock. The course of action can be even more enhanced with purchaser-particular adjustments to the plastic content:

  • HARTING uses a system which provides LDS additives to non-qualified materials to make them MID-appropriate.
  • Unique RAL or Pantone colours can be obtained with MID plastics by utilizing colour pigments and distinctive LDS additives.
  • By picking out suitable additives, distinctive RF qualities can also be executed, dependent on the frequency variety.

Electronic factors – such as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be hooked up instantly on to the part provider. The assembled part carriers can then be processed as standard SMD factors. Supply: Harting

To even further improve the price-usefulness of the production method, HARTING depends on automated robotic programs. The LDS laser technique is geared up with a rotary indexing desk so that a component can be inserted or eradicated whilst a different element is nevertheless getting processed. The in-feed and unloading methods are automated by HARTING utilizing robotics. This raises throughput and autonomy, even though also enabling integration into automatic generation processes. An extra automation step is presented all through the injection moulding process. In this article, way too, a robot normally takes about the removal of the injection moulded parts. The use of robotics also improves the exact reproducibility of the procedures and, hence, all round products excellent.

A lot more progress for 3D-MID

The 3D-MID caps protect the electronics from unauthorized access each mechanically and electronically. A extremely specific meandering composition detects each access, no subject how little, and as a result helps prevent theft. Resource: Harting

HARTING reports elevated demand from customers for MID assignments and has even more expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in machinery and by buying a competitor’s company. Progressive in-property products and solutions are also contributing to further expansion. HARTING has developed a remedy primarily based on 3D-MID engineering which replaces versatile PCBs with a part provider. Rather of using a flex-PCB, the ingredient carrier can be equipped directly with digital components, so preserving up to two thirds of the cost.



HARTING 3D-MID is offering the finish value chain for 3D-MID technologies from a solitary resource, such as progress/prototyping of customer-certain solutions, injection moulding, laser direct structuring, metallization, assembly and link know-how, as well as remaining inspection. Its core enterprise is the production of mechatronic factors for car manufacturing, sector, healthcare engineering and sensor devices.

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