Title: LDS Molded Interconnect Device (MID) Antennas
Summary: Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) manufacturing process for Molded Interconnect Device (MID) antennas.
Headline: Laser Direct Structuring: 160i MicroLine vs. Fusion High Volume Laser
Subhead: TE illustrates two methods for the laser direct structuring (LDS) manufacturing process for molded interconnect device (MID) antennas.
- The 160i from LPKF is a specially designed laser system that etches away the surface of a moulded plastic part, made with a compounded resin. The resin has a filler material blended into it that can be activated for plating. Parts are placed within fixtures designed to meet specific tolerances and hold the product during the lasering process. These fixtures can be fixed to the table as shown here for prototypes or also used in a rotating jig for production processing.
- Location is important, so TE fixtures are fitted with clamps and other mounting devices to make sure that the parts do not move, and that they align precisely every time.
- Once the product has been secured within the fixture, the table rotates, using a two-hand control system. A protective shield of laser safety glass separates the worker from…
- … the operation. The track of the laser…
- …is controlled by computer, where a CAD program has been loaded and conditioned.
- Based on the plastic substrate, settings for power, speed and frequency are chosen.
- Patterns on laser products range from large areas up to 160 millimeters to delicate trace widths of 150 microns. Ventilation pulls dust generated from the ebullition process to avoid contamination on the surface. Here, three patterns are being drawn…
- …using the same program. This is often necessary for large or complex products.
- The LDS fusion high volume laser process is essentially the same as that of the 160i, with the added benefit of automation. Parts are initially placed on trays designed to convey the parts into the machine. A number of trays are used so that parts can be queued up in advance of the process.
- Once inside the machine, the parts are picked up by a robotic system, equipped with vacuum suction or mechanical grippers and placed precisely into the laser fixture. These fixtures rotate the part 360 degrees to expose all surfaces and ensure precise location of the part during the lasering process. Empty trays leave the machine for further loading, while the finished part is placed on a conveyor belt for transport to a holding bin before going to plating.