SABIC Innovative Plastics and LPKF Laser & Electronics AG have worked together to develop a new approach to help electronics device manufacturers miniaturize. By combining LPKF's Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) technology with specialized SABIC Innovative Plastics materials, it is now possible to integrate electronic and mechanical functionality - such as a mobile phone antenna - in a single module, saving space and reducing manufacturing costs and development lead time. SABIC Innovative Plastics has developed a full portfolio of these special plastics with LDS-enabled LNP compounds based on polyphthalamide (PPA), polyphenylene oxide (PPO), nylon and polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS).
The LDS technology is increasingly replacing printed circuit boards, harness and metal inserts that require significant space within a device is critical to electronics manufacturers. OEMS are using molded interconnect devices, which integrate circuit tracks into the plastics part, that are created using LDS technology. The laser sculpts an intricate, three-dimensional structure on the molded plastic housing in preparation for metallization. Only special plastics that can be metallized are suitable for LDS technology. The benefits of LDS technology also include reduced environmental impact compared to traditional etching because no caustic chemicals are required; and lower tooling costs because one-component injection molding can be used instead of two-component injection molding.