July 18, 2024


Body and Interior

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

Laser direct structuring (LDS) is a particular success tale. For nearly 20 a long time, it has been doable to implement electronic conductor paths right onto plastic elements for the duration of collection manufacturing. LDS allows the generation of electronic assemblies with adaptable geometric shapes. This approach enables electronic merchandise (such as wise telephones, sensors or health-related devices) to develop into even smaller and additional impressive. Automated production procedures also make this approach a lot more economically interesting.

There is fewer and much less area out there for electronic assemblies, so solutions are essential which exchange conventional printed circuit boards. LDS allows even further miniaturization and makes progressively sophisticated geometric types feasible. This is a secure and responsible process that has recognized itself in quality-critical sectors this sort of as professional medical technology or protection-related factors for the automotive sector.

LDS method enables three-dimensional assemblies

Direct laser structuring allows 3D-MID (Mechatronic Built-in Equipment) assemblies to be created. When making use of 3D-MID, digital elements can be equipped specifically onto a 3-dimensional foundation human body, without having circuit boards or connecting cables. The foundation physique is made employing an injection moulding course of action, whereby the thermoplastic material has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

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

The structure of the conductor route is used making use of the LDS approach.
LDS permits digital assemblies to be designed in adaptable geometric styles. Wise phones, listening to aids and smart watches are turning into smaller sized and additional potent thanks to this system. Resource: Harting

The additives in the content are “activated” by immediate laser structuring so that the plastic content can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the places supposed for the conductor paths and makes a micro-rough construction. The unveiled metallic particles sort the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are utilized to the spots marked by the laser. The other places of the a few-dimensional foundation human body continue being unchanged. The plastic part can then be assembled in regular SMD procedures equivalent to a standard PCB. It is also acceptable for soldering in a reflow oven.

Functional application of laser technological innovation

As 1 of the most significant suppliers of 3D-MID factors exterior of Asia, HARTING employs superior-overall performance laser systems for the LDS system, 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 at the same time from all sides (360 degrees). This technological know-how permits flexible geometric designs, these kinds of as reflector shells or LED lights, to be manufactured. In spite of the small conductor path thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are even now ideal for demanding automotive factors or for programs with currents up to 10 A – for illustration for heating coils in cameras which are used to protect against the optics from fogging up

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

Recurrent modifications through the electronics improvement stage or new parts with modified dimensions can lead to expensive changes in the course of traditional PCB production. The laser structure, in distinction, can be adapted very flexibly by using the parameters of the laser’s regulate computer software. No modifications in the injection moulding are needed for this.

The output of prototypes applying LDS is also a lot easier as opposed to common procedures. HARTING can generate the plastic foundation overall body working with LDS-appropriate substance and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be utilised with cheap prototype equipment.

New trends in the LDS approach

Several areas of LDS technological innovation have been enhanced and additional formulated over the previous handful of years.

  • 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 bigger elements.
  • The operating pace of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimizing the servo models and mirrors which tutorial the laser beam, thereby significantly lowering the processing time.
  • The advancement of the optics allows the use of a laser with a diameter of 100 μm and a laser with a good emphasis of 50 μm for processing even scaled-down constructions.

HARTING is the only 3D-MID company in the planet that has a laser procedure with a few fine aim optics of 50 μm. Even more compact conductor route gaps can be obtained thanks to this great aim laser. Therefore, many conductor paths can be created on the same ingredient and a increased packing density can be carried out. This is made use of for basic safety technological know-how, amongst other factors, since the carefully spaced and intertwined conductors are able of triggering basic safety alarms from even the smallest bodily interference.

Advances in resources and economics

Only specially chosen thermoplastics are qualified for the LDS approach these are accessible from stock. The course of action can be even more improved with buyer-particular changes to the plastic material:

  • HARTING employs a course of action which provides LDS additives to non-certified components to make them MID-suitable.
  • Unique RAL or Pantone colors can be accomplished with MID plastics by applying color pigments and distinctive LDS additives.
  • By selecting acceptable additives, unique RF traits can also be carried out, relying on the frequency array.

Digital elements – these kinds of as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be attached instantly onto the element carrier. The assembled part carriers can then be processed as common SMD parts. Supply: Harting

To even more improve the price tag-performance of the manufacturing process, HARTING relies on automated robotic devices. The LDS laser system is equipped with a rotary indexing desk so that a ingredient can be inserted or eradicated even though another element is nonetheless being processed. The in-feed and unloading processes are automated by HARTING applying robotics. This will increase throughput and autonomy, when also enabling integration into automated output procedures. An added automation move is supplied during the injection moulding approach. Here, too, a robot usually takes over the removal of the injection moulded components. The use of robotics also improves the exact reproducibility of the procedures and, so, over-all solution high quality.

Much more development for 3D-MID

The 3D-MID caps secure the electronics from unauthorized access each mechanically and electronically. A very exact meandering composition detects every single accessibility, no subject how compact, and for that reason helps prevent theft. Resource: Harting

HARTING reports elevated need for MID assignments and has further more expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in equipment and by obtaining a competitor’s company. Revolutionary in-home solutions are also contributing to even further expansion. HARTING has designed a answer based on 3D-MID engineering which replaces versatile PCBs with a element carrier. In its place of using a flex-PCB, the element provider can be equipped directly with digital parts, hence saving up to two thirds of the cost.



HARTING 3D-MID is offering the complete worth chain for 3D-MID systems from a single resource, like progress/prototyping of consumer-unique goods, injection moulding, laser direct structuring, metallization, assembly and relationship technologies, as nicely as final inspection. Its main organization is the generation of mechatronic factors for auto production, business, health care engineering and sensor methods.

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