LPKF Laser & Electronics (Wilsonville, Oregon) has entered a know-how and license agreement with Ticona (Kelsterbach, Germany) for the material Vectra LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer). The agreement enables Ticona to modify their LCP material for the LPKF Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) process to produce 3D-MID circuits.
With the combination of the LPKF LDS process and the new Vectra polymer material this technology can deposit conductive paths directly on molded plastic structures, combining the electrical and mechanical functions in one component. Now the electronics housing substitutes for the conventional circuit board, encouraging miniaturization. This laser-based process is realized with few manufacturing steps. The structure is molded in a standard mold using the Vectra proprietary plastic, the desired interconnect pattern is directly written on the resulting molded part utilizing an LPKF laser system, and the conductive paths are plated using industry standard methods. The plating adheres only where the plastic has been activated by the laser: Due to the high temperature resistance, the circuit structures on this LCP material are solderable. Applications include sensor technology for automobile electronics and mobile communication devices.
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