A few months ago, Harting announced the release of their new 3-D MID component carrier made using 3-D MID (3-dimensional molded interconnect devices) technology. They say that this device will innovate and change the way designers build PCBs.
Image Courtesy: Harting.com
This particular component carrier can be vertically mounted and aims to replace flexible PCBs making the production process highly cost-effective by reducing the overall cost by up to two-thirds of its original cost. It will be directly equipped with electronic components and then mounted onto the PCB by the standard SMT process.
Can MID Component Carriers Replace Flexible PCBs?
Flexible PCBs or flex circuit are PCBs that can bend, they are used in miniature devices, are perfect for use in cameras, motion sensors, electronic compasses, and for applications in the military, medical and automotive sectors. Flexible PCBs eliminate many problems such as in the case a sensor needs to be mounted at a rather odd angle or away from a PCB, flexible PCBs can come in handy. While they have many uses, they are rather expensive to manufacture and have more complex manufacturing steps.Image Courtesy: Harting.com
On the other hand, we have MID component carriers that can solve these issues. They allow for sensors to be mounted away from the PCB, they also help eliminate cabling that connects to components mounted away from the main Printed Circuit Board.
According to Harting, the component carrier has “flexibility” and comes with the ability to hold any electronic components “in any position, orientation, and quantity” on its surface including sensors, LEDs, ICs, photodiodes, etc. Packages sized up to SOIC-8 and smaller can be fitted on the carrier.
Vertically Mounted Component Carriers
The vertically mounted component carrier comes in a unique design and provides improved function. Depending on the type of application you are using the carrier for; the carrier will help improve the specific functioning of the components used. Image Courtesy: Harting.com
For example, you can mount components at exactly 90° to the PCB, some components such as sensors may get more accurate readings this way. Similarly, photodiodes/LEDs can be connected to form more precise light barriers.
Harting’s carriers generic types are available for common use but Harting also offers customization to its customers so more designs can be created using this tech.
Benefits of Vertically Mounted Component Carriers
We briefly touched the uses of vertically mounted component carriers, especially how the ability to mount components 90 degrees to the printed circuit board improves the overall function of the device.
- The orientation of components at a 90-degree angle
Orienting components at a 90 degrees angle helps increase component density (in the case the chip carrier pinout is smaller than the component). Electronic components such as temperature or hall sensors on the carrier can be placed to a high degree of accuracy on the carrier which allows for precise measurements.
- Clearance from the circuit board
The component carrier allows for a clearance between the circuit board and the electronic components used. So for example, if you’re using a temperature sensor to measure heat in a housing system, you can get more accurate readings without the interference of excess heat from the other components on the PCB.
Similarly, smaller circuit units can be manufactured onto chip carriers and this may reduce interference from signal traces which translate into improved analog and digital performance.
- Antenna function
The component carrier can also come designed using different base polymers, and so different antenna material properties can be incorporated such as dielectric constant/ loss factor.
The component carrier developed at Harting can be equipped with several sensors which can be aligned in 3 basic directions to measure readings on three axes (X, Y, and Z). You can place components on the front and back parallel sides and the end face.
Harting’s MID-tech Component Carrier is a brilliant alternative to flexible PCBs, it not only has a number of benefits due to its unique design but also cuts costs by two-thirds as opposed to flexible PCBs (this is because it reduces the time consumed in the complex manufacturing of flexible PCBs). Due to its many benefits, we can see how this carrier and others of its kind may revolutionize the PCB manufacturing industry.