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LCP, or liquid crystal polymer, is a relatively new material emerging in the printed circuit board manufacturing market that is developing a strong presence. This unique thermoplastic material is very thin (1, 2 and 4 mil cores), flexible, lightweight, and has very low moisture absorption as well as a high chemical resistance. LCP also possesses excellent electrical properties including low loss and a stable dielectric constant that make it ideal for high-frequency and mm-wave type applications, especially those that can benefit from the thin, light-weight cores. Due to its unique quality and versatility the demand for LCP is growing yet much of the fabrication community has limited experience with the product.
CEO Walt Stender said, “Coast to Coast is currently in the manufacturing leadership position with LCP, having started to work with this material before there was even an official specification sheet.”
Jeff Schmitt, director of engineering services, added, “This journey has been accompanied by numerous challenges. After a thorough assessment of these difficulties, we are pleased that we were able to become involved with this emerging technology because it has allowed us to assist our customers in ways we could not imagine in years prior.”
Schmitt continued, “Recently, one of our key defense customers utilized this material in a major aerospace project that is now ramping up to production levels. It is gratifying to be able to deliver product to a customer in production quantities with yields and complexities only dreamed of more than 7 years ago when we first engaged with this customer on this unique material platform.”
He went on to note that Coast to Coast Circuits has made boards for dozens of applications from aerospace to semiconductor and it took several man-years of process development in order to manufacture complex multilayer LCP boards with predictable yields.
Interest continues to grow within different market segments for this high performance material, with an increase in production volumes. With many developmental efforts starting to pay off, Coast to Coast is becoming involved with more designs upfront. Early involvement with customers and their engineering teams is critical to reducing cycle-time allowing for early resolution of issues that can surface as a result of minimal LCP experience. Since this is a unique material, a good understanding of the challenges in manufacturing can help tremendously in the design phase.
During the past years, Coast to Coast has solved problems for more than 20 different customers in multiple industries as they move to designs that demand LCP. These projects involved customers in various industries including defense, aerospace, medical, automotive, semiconductor as well as several universities and other research organizations.
Coast to Coast looks to expand this offering to more customers and encourages those interested in LCP to reach out to further discuss the material and its benefits. This is an exhilarating time for the industry and this new material and Coast to Coast is well positioned to move it forward. Contact Coast to Coast for an onsite lunch and learn LCP presentation and they will be happy to share years of LCP experience in order to make your designs successful.