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30 The PCB Magazine • September 2014 f e a t u r e by Malte Borges lpKf 3D LDS Components: New Opportunities in PCB Layout and Production One clear trend has dominated electronic and mechatronic products for many years: components must get smaller in size while also packing in more functions. Manufactur- ers in the communications technology sector are under tremendous pressure to continuously launch new products on the market at shorter and shorter intervals, to maintain their com- mercial positions. As if that were not enough, these new products have to stand out from the crowd by offering unique selling points. Inno- vative technologies such as MIDs (molded in- terconnect devices) enable new products to be produced with unprecedented functionality. And this is where LPKF's LDS technology comes in because it opens up a huge opportunity for businesses that need very reliable and efficient production technology. Economic prototyping processes and a short production pipeline are also added advantages. The current main application is the produc- tion of smartphone antennas. In the future, the German Research Association 3D-MID expects a significant growth in tablet or laptop anten- nas as well as new applications in the automo- tive and medical field. Molded Interconnect Devices for Higher Function Density MIDs allow the integration of electronic cir- cuits and components directly on three-dimen- sional plastic components. This enables chips to be elegantly stacked in their assemblies, and the antennae in smartphones or netbooks to be in- corporated directly within the housing, which saves a great deal of space. Integrating functions also decreases the number of individual compo- nents required, eliminates a whole range of pro- duction steps, automatically saves additional costs, and creates higher quality components.

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