Sabic Unveils At Npe 2018 First Successful Micromolding Of Ir Optical Sensor Lenses Using High-Performance Extem™ Resin

11 May 2018

SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, unveiled today at NPE 2018, booth S19001, a major breakthrough in the production of infrared (IR) optical sensor lenses for proximity sensing and gesture recognition in smartphones and other electronics applications using its EXTEM™ thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resin. SOPROD SA, a Swiss molding company, selected the high-performance SABIC material, which features IR transparency, to mass-produce sensor lenses using micromolding with a multi-cavity tool. Efficient, high-volume molding of EXTEM resin can deliver multiple advantages over grinding and polishing of quartz glass and curing of epoxy resin. These benefits can include speed, consistently high quality and the avoidance of costly secondary operations. SOPROD’s achievement offers the electronics industry a new and highly efficient solution to meet accelerating demand for IR optical sensors.

“Thanks to the exceptional properties of EXTEM resin, this project – our first experience micromolding a thermoplastic resin – has been a great success,” said Jean-Camil Pitteloud, chief operating officer (COO) of SOPROD SA. “The SABIC material’s high flow and low shrinkage make it well-suited for mass producing small, precise parts. Further, it can withstand the high temperatures of lead-free soldering commonly used in device assembly. We are excited to leverage our long-standing expertise in producing fine watch movements to help pioneer this new manufacturing approach, which has clearly given us a strong competitive advantage.”

“IR optical sensors are widely used to add new functionality in consumer electronics – from phones to video game controllers and even drones,” said Andy Verheijden, global EXTEM business manager, SABIC. “Our collaboration with SOPROD demonstrates the advantages and feasibility of micromolding IR optical lenses from EXTEM resin. With this new method, our customers in the electronics industry can quickly produce the components required to develop true next-generation devices.”