Kromberg & Schubert, an automotive supplier in Germany, has developed the first 3D molded-interconnected-devices (3D-MID) made from a new laser-structurable polyamide: Electronic conductors are integrated directly into the 3D-MID surface.
The laser-structural Ultramid T 4381 LDS polyamide comes from BASF Corp., Florham Park, N.J. The partially crystalline, partially aromatic high-temperature polyamide 6/6T features a broad processing window for metallization. It's reinforced with 10% glass fibers and 25% mineral fillers and incorporates a laser-sensitive additive that contains metal.
Laser-direct structuring (LPKFLDS) from LPKF Laser and Electronics AG in Germany is an alternative method for hot stamping when laying out circuits. The laser directly transfers the artwork from the computer to the injection-molded component and needs no additional tools or masks. The process immediately metallizes the conductor track and lets designers integrate electronic circuits on to the Ultramid T 4381 LDS surface.
In contrast to other methods for producing electronic components, this boosts design freedom, shortens process sequences, reduces the number of different materials needed, and eases the task of changing circuit layouts.
"Three-dimensional molded interconnects are soldered lead-free. In this process, the component has to withstand a temperature of 245°C (473°F), which calls for a sufficiently heat-resistant plastic," explains Erik Rega, MID manager at Kromberg & Schubert.
The entire contact is embedded into the 3D-MID, so there is no need for wiring. This is an efficient process, says Rega, and has vast potential for miniaturization in automotive electronics.
BASF Corp., (800) 669- 2273, plasticsportal.com
Kromberg & Schubert, 49 (0)7159 1602 - 0, www.krombergschubert.com
LPKF Laser and Electronics AG in North America, (800) 345-5753, www.lpkfusa.com