Over-Moulding Electronics: Making Melts Flow Better
As electronic components become smaller and more complex, the challenges increase for developers of engineering thermoplastics. Peter Mapleston (Injection World Magazine) finds out about new processes and offerings from materials suppliers.
The need for efficient low-pressure encapsulation of electronics has never been as great as it is today. The Internet of Things (loT) depends on a foundation of sensors and associated electronic connections and components to support all sorts of devices in the home, at work, and on the move. This trend has also led to increased network connectivity demands for data and power cables and connectors that function in the harshest environments. Sensors are also increasingly used in medical diagnostics and wearables. In a large number of these applications, the electronics need to be embedded in plastics to cushion them and protect them from the local environment.
The trick when trying to encapsulate electronics is to ensure that these often delicate elements are not moved or damaged as liquid polymer flows over them. It also helps if the process can be carried out quickly and economically. It’s rather like squaring a circle.
But there are plenty of equipment and materials technology developers trying to make it happen. Quite a lot of the work going on is at the fringes of injection moulding, where it overlaps with other technologies such as extrusion, casting, and even additive manufacturing.
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