Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) is a mature technology widely used in the Mobile, Automotive, Medical, Industrial and Consumer Electronics markets. It allows higher levels of functional integration and is particularly useful for high-performance antenna integration.
Taoglas is now offering LDS Technology to address customer needs for smaller, higher performance products with integrated LDS antennas. LDS technology allows an antenna design to be directly placed onto the surface of a molded plastic part which can become part of the planner enclosure for the finished product or sub-assembly.
LDS allows higher levels of product integration with fewer components and lower costs. The antenna no longer needs to be a separate component to perform well and effectively requires no dedicated space.
The LDS Process:
Firstly, molded parts are produced with standard injection molding equipment. The molding equipment uses commercially available resins which include additives suitable for the LDS process. A broad range of LDS plastic resins are available.
The next stage of the LDS process utilizes a laser beam to precisely transfer the antenna pattern from CAD data onto the surface of the plastic molding. This process provides great design flexibility allowing the antenna to fully utilize the 3D surface available.
Finally, the parts pass through a metallization process. Metallization is accomplished via an electroless plating process whereby copper, nickel, and other metals are plated onto the defined antenna pattern.
Through hole vias, contact pads and RF feed lines may also be added during LDS processing.
The Key Advantages:
- High degree of design flexibility.
- Ability to make products smaller by creating antenna structures on the enclosure.
- Facilitates quick change of antenna layouts easily without expensive tooling changes.
- There are currently over 15 suppliers and over 100 polymer resins available including popular PC, PC/ABS, ABS, LCP materials.
- The technology supports running design changes such as antenna performance tuning & optimisation.
- Offers cost-savings particularly for higher volume applications.
LDS technology offers the ultimate design freedom in three dimensions. Utilizing all three dimensions allows the antenna to outperform PCB mounted or PCB integrated antennas as the antenna no longer needs to be in close proximity to other components, batteries, displays or other antennas which will degrade the antenna radiation pattern.
Taoglas will work closely with the customer during all stages of the design to ensure that the LDS is “designed for manufacture”, optimizes antenna performance and provides a cost-effective solution for volume production.