NMT Bonding for Smart Device Applications
Modern smart device applications require innovative processing techniques to meet both smartphone and wearable market requirements. With increasing industry demands for lighter components, enhanced durability and significant cost reduction, OEMs must also continue to deliver high-quality alternatives capable of equal if not improved performance and functionality compared to traditional materials.
These types of demands are challenging to attain, as the ideal materials must be light enough to add minimal weight to the finished product, but also strong enough and functional enough for long-term performance. To achieve such components, plastics and metals can be fused together in several ways to develop bonded material with the ideal combination of characteristics for integral smart device applications, including antenna splits and plastic-metal hybrid structures. One of the methods OEMs utilize is known as nano molding technology (NMT) bonding, which enables them to directly bond plastics with metals such as aluminum or stainless steel.
Solvay’s portfolio of specialty polymers for smart devices provides OEMs with an array of NMT compatible materials to better facilitate innovative components in next-generation smartphones and wearables.
Benefits of NMT Bonding
NMT bonding is a plastic-metal integration molding technique that provides a wide range of unique benefits for smartphone and wearables applications. NMT bonded materials provide the combined advantage of the stiffness and durability of metal with the geometric design freedom typically associated with plastics and polymers. Additionally, NMT materials display good mold-in aesthetic properties in addition to the radio frequency (RF) signal transparency of completely plastic components, which is an integral feature in applications such as antenna splits. These properties not only contribute to improved application performance, but they also enable ease of processing for smart device manufacturers. NMT bonded materials often facilitate more efficient processing and significant potential cost reduction when compared to traditional die casting.
Key Features of NMT Bonding Materials
For optimal compatibility, Solvay’s polymers for plastic-metal hybrid applications in smartphones and wearables must be designed with NMT bonding in mind. These specialty materials must exhibit good bonding strength to metal, good cosmetics, and excellent colorability. As NMT materials are often used for outward-facing, plastic-metal hybrid structural components, it is also imperative that polymers for NMT-based applications display excellent color stability, premium aesthetics and high toughness to pass device level tests. Additionally, as an industry-leading portfolio, Solvay’s materials for plastic-metal hybrid structures and antenna splits in smart devices provide OEMs with a range of choices for various types of surface treatment technologies. Solvay’s selection of specialty polymers for smart devices offers anodization-, PVD-, and machining- compatible grades.
NMT Compatible Polymers from Solvay
Solvay’s portfolio of polymers for plastic-metal molded components is composed of multiple grades of Ixef® PARA, Ryton® PPS, Kalix® HPPA and AvaSpire® PAEK. Ixef® PARA, a polyarylamide with a unique combination of strength and aesthetics, provides NMT processes with exceptional mechanics and excellent adhesion properties. Kalix® HPPA, a high-performance polyamide designed specifically for smart device structural components, offers NMT applications high strength, rigidity and high-quality surface aesthetics in addition to the highest filler percentage of 55%. AvaSpire® PAEK, a polyaryletherketone with advanced ductility and toughness, offers good adhesion, high thermal stability, good chemical stability and low dialectics. Additionally, AvaSpire® PAEK is available in anodization-compatible grades.