TactoTek®’s IMSE manufacturing process is designed for scalable mass production. The primary IMSE manufacturing process steps, in sequence, include:
TactoTek patented and patent-pending technologies integrate a mixture of well-known production technologies into a very unique solution that enables efficiently mass producing 3D structural electronics.
TactoTek starts with in-mold labeling (IML) material. Decoration, if desired, is printed, followed by conductive circuitry, and in some designs, printed touch controls and printed antennas.
Electronic components are mounted using standard high speed pick-and-place (SMT) equipment. Electronics can be as simple as LEDs or as complex as microprocessors. Components are attached to the IML using conductive adhesives able to withstand the temperature and pressure associated with injection molding.
Thermoforming transforms the flat electronic film into its 3D shape. TactoTek design rules, including material selection, printed electronics layout and component position combine with other know how to maintain electrical system integrity through the forming process.
With electronics in place, the IML carrier is used as an insert for injection molding. Typical molding materials include high pressure, high temperature plastics such as polycarbonate (PC), acrylic (PMMA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and for flexible designs, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
To ensure economical, scalable mass production, TactoTek has developed IMSE design rules and production methods that enable using standard equipment, including high speed 2D pick-and-place (SMT) for surface mounting electronic components.
TactoTek develops and manufactures production-ready IMSE prototypes in its vertically-integrated production facility in Oulu, Finland. TactoTek has all product engineering and production operations in-house, including printing, surface mounting (SMT), thermoforming, and injection molding. Vertical integration makes for rapid iterations as your product develops from concept to mass production ready. ISO 9001 certified manufacturing operations and ISO 7 clean room ensure quality and consistency.
Once prototypes are mass production-ready, they can be manufactured by TactoTek or a TactoTek licensee.
TactoTek in-house capabilities include:
- Design optimization for in-mold structural electronics
- Tooling and fixture design
- Decoration printing
- Electronics printing
- Surface mount technology
- 3D forming
- Injection molding
- Software development
- Thermal cycling