What is an In-Mold Electronics Application?
In-Mold Electronics (IME) is essentially the evolution of IMD to include user interface functionality to your customer molded graphics. In-Mold Electronics includes such functions as shielding, sensing, capacitive switching, lighting and more. This new technology offers you the ability to reduce weight and cost while improving appearance, functionality, and durability. This process is used to provide an accurate and repeatable molded user interface even on the most complex of geometries.
IME is essentially a process that involves 2nd surface printed graphics and electronics on a flat plastic film that is then formed into a custom shape. An electrical connector is attached to the back side of the film. The formed film is then placed into a specialized mold for an injection molding process to back fill the film creating a bonded molded part. As the part hardens, the printed graphics and circuit are fused in place. This results in a tough, durable, and stylized final product that can be created with a wider range of complex curves and shapes than a standard printed electronic circuit. With no moving parts, there is nothing to wear out!
With an IME application, your circuit and graphics are now a bonded part of the enclosure with an added level of protection for more demanding environments.
IME Industries and Applications:
- Military and Government
- Transportation and Equipment
- Technology and Communications
In-Mold Electronic products are a perfect fit for several in-demand sectors, including the automotive, medical, industrial, robotics, and aerospace industries. These versatile products can be used as/for:
- Household appliances (i.e., air conditioner control panel, TV remote control, microwave oven panel, etc.)
- Medical equipment
- Control panel-oriented industrial and manufacturing equipment
- Military equipment
- Aerospace applications
- Automotive controls and panels
- Retail and consumer-related equipment or machines (i.e., exercise equipment, vending machines, gasoline pumps, etc.)
Key Benefits for In-Mold Electronic Products:
Our IME applications are built to order, as opposed to an off the shelf option, ensuring that you have the ability to tailor the product to meet your needs.
Increased durability & moisture resistance:
With a final product that is molded into a final shape, you do not have to worry about any peel back issues with delamination and loss that can happen with printed electronics on complex surfaces. This can provide increased moisture and ingression protection as well. With fully embedded electronics, there are no moving parts to wear out over time.
Expanded complex shapes:
IME applications can be formed into a wider range of complex shapes and curved surfaces where traditional printed electronics will not work. Capacitive contacts can now be placed on a curved surface!
Eliminates the costs associated with additional circuit board assemblies:
As your electronics, graphics, and enclosure are molded into one, you do not need to source any additional graphics or electronics. Your overlay and circuit are permanently embedded into the final product reducing your assembly and secondary electronics costs.
With the capacitive touch circuitry located on the 2nd surface of the part, you are able to reduce the size of the PCB.
Increased user functionality:
Fully customize your IME application with a wide range of added user interface functions. Add embedded LEDs, haptic response, EMI/RFI shielding, heating elements, NFC antennas, and linear position sensors into your design.
Contact GVP For In-Mold Electronics:
If the idea of a fully encapsulated graphics and electronics component appeals to you, give our engineering team a call to see if IME is right for your next project. We have partnered with experts in the industry so that we may offer a single source solution for you. Contact Us today with your ideas, and we will fully assist you in all phases of design to bring you a completely manufactured part matching your specifications and needs.