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

Laser immediate structuring (LDS) is a particular achievements tale. For nearly 20 years, it has been possible to implement electronic conductor paths specifically onto plastic elements during series production. LDS permits the output of electronic assemblies with versatile geometric styles. This approach permits digital solutions (such as good telephones, sensors or medical products) to grow to be even more compact and additional effective. Automatic production procedures also make this process much more economically beautiful.

There is considerably less and considerably less room offered for electronic assemblies, so remedies are necessary which exchange conventional printed circuit boards. LDS permits further more miniaturization and helps make significantly complex geometric patterns attainable. This is a stable and dependable system that has recognized itself in excellent-essential sectors this sort of as medical technology or protection-pertinent factors for the automotive industry.

LDS course of action allows three-dimensional assemblies

Immediate laser structuring permits 3D-MID (Mechatronic Integrated Units) assemblies to be produced. When making use of 3D-MID, digital elements can be equipped directly onto a three-dimensional foundation entire body, devoid of circuit boards or connecting cables. The foundation entire body is produced employing an injection moulding system, whereby the thermoplastic material has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

The framework of the conductor route is used employing the LDS approach.
LDS enables digital assemblies to be created in flexible geometric designs. Good telephones, listening to aids and wise watches are turning into smaller sized and a lot more impressive many thanks to this procedure. Source: Harting

The additives in the product are “activated” by immediate laser structuring so that the plastic content can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the areas intended for the conductor paths and creates a micro-tough composition. The released metal particles variety the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are used to the locations marked by the laser. The other locations of the 3-dimensional base system continue being unchanged. The plastic part can then be assembled in regular SMD procedures similar to a common PCB. It is also ideal for soldering in a reflow oven.

Functional application of laser technological innovation

As one of the biggest suppliers of 3D-MID parts outdoors of Asia, HARTING works by using substantial-efficiency laser programs for the LDS method, with three lasers functioning in parallel, each offset by 45 degrees. Many thanks to an added axis of rotation, components can be processed by the laser simultaneously from all sides (360 levels). This engineering permits flexible geometric designs, these as reflector shells or LED lights, to be created. Regardless of the nominal conductor path thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are even now suitable for demanding automotive factors or for apps with currents up to 10 A – for case in point for heating coils in cameras which are utilized to reduce the optics from fogging up

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

Regular changes in the course of the electronics development stage or new components with modified dimensions can lead to pricey changes all through common PCB manufacturing. The laser layout, in contrast, can be adapted incredibly flexibly by applying the parameters of the laser’s command computer software. No adjustments in the injection moulding are required for this.

The output of prototypes applying LDS is also simpler in contrast to regular procedures. HARTING can develop the plastic base human body using LDS-appropriate material and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be utilized with reasonably priced prototype equipment.

New developments in the LDS method

Many features of LDS know-how have been enhanced and further more created more than the past few years.

  • The doing work 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 better packing density and the processing of even greater components.
  • The doing the job velocity of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimizing the servo units and mirrors which tutorial the laser beam, thereby appreciably decreasing the processing time.
  • The enhancement of the optics permits the use of a laser with a diameter of 100 μm and a laser with a fine aim of 50 μm for processing even scaled-down buildings.

HARTING is the only 3D-MID company in the environment that has a laser procedure with three fantastic emphasis optics of 50 μm. Even scaled-down conductor route gaps can be reached many thanks to this great aim laser. Therefore, several conductor paths can be developed on the exact same component and a greater packing density can be applied. This is used for protection technologies, amid other matters, mainly because the intently spaced and intertwined conductors are capable of triggering protection alarms from even the smallest actual physical interference.

Innovations in products and economics

Only specially picked thermoplastics are licensed for the LDS approach these are obtainable from stock. The process can be more enhanced with purchaser-precise changes to the plastic content:

  • HARTING takes advantage of a course of action which provides LDS additives to non-certified materials to make them MID-appropriate.
  • Precise RAL or Pantone colors can be achieved with MID plastics by making use of colour pigments and distinctive LDS additives.
  • By picking acceptable additives, particular RF properties can also be implemented, relying on the frequency assortment.

Digital parts – this sort of as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be attached specifically on to the ingredient carrier. The assembled element carriers can then be processed as normal SMD elements. Source: Harting

To further more strengthen the cost-efficiency of the producing method, HARTING depends on automated robotic systems. The LDS laser system is equipped with a rotary indexing desk so that a ingredient can be inserted or eradicated when another element is nonetheless remaining processed. The in-feed and unloading techniques are automatic by HARTING employing robotics. This raises throughput and autonomy, even though also enabling integration into automated production procedures. An additional automation move is presented in the course of the injection moulding approach. Below, way too, a robotic can take in excess of the removing of the injection moulded sections. The use of robotics also increases the precise reproducibility of the procedures and, hence, total item quality.

Much more advancement for 3D-MID

The 3D-MID caps secure the electronics from unauthorized entry each mechanically and electronically. A really precise meandering construction detects each access, no make a difference how tiny, and consequently prevents theft. Source: Harting

HARTING reviews improved desire for MID assignments and has even further expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in machinery and by buying a competitor’s organization. Innovative in-property items are also contributing to even more development. HARTING has created a alternative based mostly on 3D-MID technologies which replaces versatile PCBs with a ingredient carrier. Alternatively of employing a flex-PCB, the ingredient carrier can be fitted straight with electronic factors, as a result saving up to two thirds of the charge.



HARTING 3D-MID is supplying the full benefit chain for 3D-MID systems from a single resource, like advancement/prototyping of purchaser-specific products and solutions, injection moulding, laser direct structuring, metallization, assembly and relationship know-how, as well as final inspection. Its core business is the manufacturing of mechatronic parts for auto production, market, clinical technological know-how and sensor systems.

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