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LPKF presents simple metallization for 3D interconnect devices

18/Nov/2011
With the continuous development of laser direct structuring, it is becoming ever more important to make the process easier and more economic. With ProtoPlate LDS, LPKF closes the technological gap in prototyping for three-dimensional interconnect devices. With the continuous development of laser direct structuring, it is becoming ever more important to make the process easier and more economic. With ProtoPlate LDS, LPKF closes the technological gap in prototyping for three-dimensional interconnect devices.
 
LPKF ProtoPlate
Simple, safe, easy to operate: The LPKF ProtoPlate LDS allows prototypes of three-dimensional interconnect devices to be plated without extensive chemistry knowledge.
LDS technology has experienced a genuine growth throughout the last few years. Using the LDS process, interconnect devices are made out of simple plastic components and a ProtoPaint LDS finish allows plastic 3D prototypes to be coated for laser direct structuring. The LPKF Fusion3D laser systems then create the circuit structures, and the new ProtoPlate metallization substantially reduces the processing time. This advancement now allows for prototyping of three-dimensional interconnect devices in-house without the need of extensive chemical knowledge.

Working metallization is done electroless, and the basic LPKF ProtoPlate LDS package consists of a beaker, a magnetic mixer, a thermometer, a hood and an exhaust system. The chemical consumables for copper plating are part of the LPKF ProtoPlate CU set. The whole set is developed in cooperation with Enthone GmbH, Germany.

The ProtoPlate LDS process is very simple. First the copper solution is put in a beaker and heated to the target temperature. Then a few mililiters of activator is dropped into the metallization bath to start the solution. From the point of activation, the metallization bath is usable for one to two hours.

After the bath is operational, the clean, structured plastic components are suspended in the bath. Metallization begins after a few minutes. Depending on the duration of metallization, uniform copper layers develop at a thickness of 3 µm to 10 µm on the component. After attaining the desired layer of thickness, the LDS components are removed and rinsed off, information on time required is provided with kit. The consumed metallization solution can then be collected in the original canister and disposed of.

Dr. Wolfgang John, Director of LDS Process Development, notes that, “ProtoPlate metallization is safe and does not require any chemical knowledge. Time-to-market is reduced to a fraction of the time normally required and cost substantially drops now that entire prototyping process is considerably faster and easier than ever before.” 

LPKF ProtoPlate LDS and ProtoPlate CU are being presented for the first time at the 2011 Productronica Trade Fair and will be available during the first quarter of 2012 in the LPKF product range.

About LPKF

LPKF Laser & Electronics AG manufactures machines and laser systems used in electronics fabrication, medical technology, the automotive sector, and the production of solar cells. Around 20 percent of the workforce is engaged in research and development.

About Enthone

Enthone is a business of Cookson Electronics. The company is a global and leading supplier of high performance specialty chemicals and coatings. Enthone manufactures, markets and distributes its functional, decorative and electronic processes that are used in printed wiring board, semiconductor, photovoltaic, automotive, energy, aerospace, jewelry, and plumbing applications. For more information, please visit www.enthone.com.
 
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LPKF Laser & Electronics AG

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