New technology can replace flexible circuit boards at lower cost

New technology can replace flexible circuit boards at lower cost

Technology News |
By Ally Winning

Harting has developed a new solution based on 3D-MID (mechatronic integrated device) technology that is capable of replacing flexible circuit boards, which could slash assembly costs by up to two-thirds.
As part of the MID process, a customized layout is applied on a 3D injection-molded part, surface mount components can then be assembled directly on any of the carrier surfaces. The component carrier connects element between the printed circuit board (PCB) and electronic components such as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors. The populated component carriers are delivered in tape & reel. In their standard design, the carriers can be processed in automatic assembly systems, just like other SMD electronic components. Two different sizes are currently available and can accommodate electronic components of standard size SOIC-8 and smaller. But Harting can also produce the carriers in customer-specific sizes. In three example applications, components can be mounted at a 90° angle to the circuit board, when sensors need to be positioned normal to the circuit board, but this could be useful for LEDs or photodiodes too, to generate precise light barriers.

The component carrier also makes it possible to maintain a clearance between the circuit board and an electronic component (again in the case of a temperature sensor which could be used to measure the temperature in the housing without being influenced by the waste heat from other components on the PCB). A LED mounted on such a component carrier can be placed clear of the circuit board, avoiding the risk of casting shadows from surrounding components.

What’s more, the component carrier can be manufactured using different base polymers. In this way, different antenna material properties can be factored in, such as dielectric constant and loss factor. The specific antenna layout can be used for various applications in the MHz and GHz frequency range, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee and 5G.

Harting has been implementing the entire 3D-MID process chain in-house for over 10 years, from the project idea to the populated series product. The technology is finding use in application scenarios in areas such as medical technology, industrial electronics and consumer electronics and all the way through to safety-related components in the automotive industry.

Harting 3D-MID –

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