Molded interconnect devices made from LANXESS’s plastic Pocan

“MID Industry Award“ presented

Laser direct structuring used for steering wheel switches

Online PR News – 13-November-2009 – – Mumbai Nov 13th, 2009 – TRW Automotive Systems GmbH has been presented with the “MID Industry Award 2009” by “Forschungsvereinigung 3D-MID e. V.” at the “productronica 2009” trade show in Munich. The Aschaffenburg-based system supplier received this award for a steering wheel module with right- and left-hand operating switches made of Pocan DP T 7140 LDS from LANXESS. The steering wheel is a feature of the new BMW Z4 Roadster.

The switch assemblies are the first large, series-produced automotive components manufactured as molded interconnect devices, or MIDs for short, using laser direct structuring* (LDS). “Laser direct structuring with our tailor-made polyester yields a great many benefits. These include the small footprint of LDS components, more flexible design of the circuit layout, enhanced component functionality and substantial weight-saving potential”, explains Ralf Jantz, an MID expert at LANXESS. Moreover, fewer assembly components are required, which simplifies the structure of articles made using LDS. For example, there is no need for the switches to have circuit boards or cables.

Great potential for MIDs in automotive engineering

A whole host of mechanical and electrical functions can be integrated in MIDs. Consequently, they have many potential uses in electrical components for automotive applications. Items such as rotary transducers, sensor housings, actuators, control boxes, steering wheel modules and the interconnect devices of locking systems can all be made using MID technology. Laser direct structuring* is a particularly innovative method for the production of MIDs. It enables conductive circuits to be applied to three-dimensional plastic interconnect devices simply and cost-effectively, is flexible in the event of layout changes and does not require etching or pickling chemicals. The LPKF-LDS process** was developed by LPKF Laser & Electronics AG.

Polyester for lead-free soldering processes

Pocan DP T 7140 LDS is a polyester tailored specifically for LDS components. It has been adapted to every stage of the LDS process – from injection molding and lasering through to metalizing and any subsequent soldering required. “The great strength of the high heat grade is its very high heat deflection temperature (HDT) (Bf) of 250 °C. This makes it ideal for lead-free soldering in the vapor phase”, explains Jantz. For example, various LEDs, resistors, capacitors and SMDs (surface mount devices) are fitted to the two operating switches using vapor phase soldering at 235 °C.

The “MID Industry Award” is presented every two years. It aims to help promote MID manufacturing technologies and raise their profile. The award goes to industrial companies implementing outstanding, innovative component and process solutions that provide crucial impetus in terms of advancing MID technology.

* Utilization of the laser direct structuring process to make MIDs may be subject to third-party industrial property rights, for example EP 1191127 B1, EP 1274288 and EP 0917597 B1.
** LPKF-LDS is a registered trademark of LPKF Laser & Electronics AG.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 6.58 billion in 2008 and currently 14,335 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 46 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

Leverkusen, October 11, 2009
rei/fah (2009-00194e)

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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