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Insulet has chosen Selectconnect Technologies to provide the metallisation for an internal plastic component intended to improve the functionality of the Omnipod insulin management system.

The medical device company partnered with Phillips Plastics to create the internal plastic component, called the chassis, to improve the functionality of the Omnipod system.

Phillips Plastics injection-moulded the chassis using two-shot moulding and Insulet chose Selectconnect to provide the metallisation – an integral step in completing the 3D moulded interconnect device (MID).

Selectconnect utilises a patented process to selectively plate injection-moulded parts with copper and nickel in order to create 3D connections with multiple points of contact.

The chassis is a critical component of the Omnipod, a small, lightweight, tubing-free insulin pump worn on the skin, which delivers insulin according to instructions transmitted wirelessly from the system’s handheld Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM).

According to Selectconnect, 3D-MID technology enables the chassis to provide mechanical support and electrical connectivity in the device.

As MIDs require reduced space, they allow for the integration of more electronic functions.

The need for multiple different parts that would complicate assembly and increase the size of the device is eliminated.

Phillips determined that two-shot moulding would be the best process to manufacture the chassis.

The process produces MIDs from a combination of plateable and non-plateable injection-moulded resins.

A non-plateable polymer is moulded in the first shot and is then selectively moulded with a second plateable material, leaving specified areas exposed.

An etching step then activates the exposed areas of plateable polymer so that those areas can be plated with metal.

Once Phillips completed the injection moulding, the finished chassis came to Selectconnect for metallisation.

Rich Macary, general manager of Selectconnect, said: ‘Our Selectconnect metallisation process is unique in that it allows us to control the metal deposition process to produce fine electronic traces with high resolution and yield.

‘Once we receive the moulded parts, we then build electroless copper, electroless nickel and immersion gold traces on the structured patterns to form the circuit path.

‘It allows the circuitry to be incorporated directly onto the plastic component, offering a wide range of innovative design possibilities, including the opportunity for miniaturisation, parts consolidation, reduced assembly time and cost reduction,’ he added.

For the chassis, Selectconnect uses 250 micro inches (6.25 microns) of electroless copper.

This thickness is required to get a good conductive path throughout the part.

A thin layer (50 micro inches) of nickel is then added on top of the copper to create a barrier layer that prevents the copper from oxidising before the entire assembly is press-fit into a circuit board.

In addition to providing metallisation for two-shot molded MIDs, Selectconnect also carries out the laser direct structuring (LDS) of one-shot injection-moulded components.

The component is moulded from a commercially available doped thermoplastic, laser traced to write the circuit layout onto the component and then metallised with copper, nickel and gold.

The LDS process is suitable for transferring circuit artwork directly onto 3D components.

Selectconnect Technologies

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