Plastronics: the functional revolution of plastic

What it is plastronics what it is for?

Plastronics, also known as in-mold electronics (IME), is an emerging technology that combines electronics and plastics to create products that have high added value, advanced functions or features and are manufactured on a large scale.

By combining the functional printing of electronics and the hybridisation of electronic components with traditional transformation processes,
such as injection, it is possible to create lightweight devices with new functionalities and embed them in geometrically complex products.

Plastronic: a revolution in the manufacture that allows to add intelligence and functions to the plastic components

Beneficiary sectors

Plastronics is a revolutionary technology for the automotive, aeronautics, packaging, consumer electronics, medical and sports industrie. It allows:

  • Manufacturing flexible screens and haptic controls that enable interactive responses or invisible buttons.
  • Creating plastic products that contain embedded sensors (temperature, pressure, etc.)
  • Creating buttons for vehicle interiors
  • Creation of user interfaces for home appliances.
  • Producing geometrically complex and 3D products.
  • Producing lighter and smaller components and parts.
  • Producing thinner and cheaper pieces.

Advantages of plastronics

  • Reduction in the complexity of plastic products (fewer parts).
  • Automation of assembly processes.Conventional “monolithic” manufacturing processes are replaced with a single part that does not require any assembly during production.
  • Integration of electronics into products that have geometrically complex 3D shapes.
  • Reduction in thickness (up to 80%).
  • Reduction in thickness (up to 80%) and weight (components are up to 60% lighter than traditional PCBs)
  • Increased functionality.
  • More durable electronics, as they are embedded/protected.
  • Greater freedom to design products with new shapes and functionalities.

New plastronics pilot plant for companies

The new Eurecat’s Plastronics Pilot Plant is the first of these characteristics in Europe. It is a pioneer plant located in Cerdanyola del Vallès at the service of companies for the creation and improvement of products and processes, from the idea to industrialization. It is composed of two white rooms that allow the orderly combination of different manufacturing processes: one dedicated to printing and electronics and another oriented to plastic processes.

Download the brochure

Cleanroom for printing and electronics

The facility is equipped with:

  • A one-stop cylinder S2S screen printing machine.
  • A machine for the hybridisation of SMD components (distribution and pick and place).
  • Equipment for the handling of electronic inks. • UV, IR and heat-curing lines.
  • Curing oven for solder paste.
  • Cutting equipment with numerical control.

Cleanroom for plastic processes

The facility is equipped with:

  • LSR silicone injection-molding machine (Arburg 50 Tn).
  • Tri-material thermoplastic injection-molding machine (Engel 160 Tn).
  • Printing Hybridisation Thermoforming Injection Molding
  • Both rooms comply with the ISO 7 standard; however, their working protocols are designed to meet the ISO 8 standard.
  • Sheet-thermoforming machine (Illig 100-UA).
  • Six-axis robot for loading and unloading inserts.

Complete cycle of production of plastronics manufacturing processes

With this new facility, Eurecat is able to provide companies with a complete production cycle, from product concept to manufacturing. Specifically, the plant allows:

Succes cases in plastronics

Printed, hybridised and overinjected LED tree design

Polycarbonate film with silver circuits and integrated LEDs. Proof of concept for a lighting system designed for a vehicle interior.

Printing of sensors and circuits via the hybridisation of LEDs, thermoforming and overinjection

A device that demonstrates the capacity to create interfaces. It has all of the functionalities necessary to operate the “Simon” memory game.

PLASTFUN Project

Development of the necessary techniques and methods for establishing, at an industrial scale, a pilot facility for manufacturing plastic-injected products, whose surfaces provide advanced functionalities. The pilot production facility

will enable companies in Catalonia to develop new products using these technologies and to acquire the necessary knowledge
to make their production profitable.

PLASTFUN is an Industries of the Future RIS3CAT Community project, coordinated by Eurecat.

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