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DIC and Partners Develop Plateable PPS Grade

The newly developed PPS compound can be plated with either electroless or electroplating processes on conventional production lines.

Stephen Moore

January 24, 2024

2 Min Read
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Metamorworks/iStock via Getty Images

At a Glance

  • Chemical etching with chromic acid on conventional plating lines is possible
  • EMI shielding for automotive with weight savings
  • Superior processability enables ribs and cooling channels to be incorporated in complex parts

Japan’s DIC Corp. has developed a plateable polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) compound, in collaboration with Japanese firms Tsukada Riken Industry Co. Ltd. and Yoshino Denka Kogyo Inc. Using the newly developed DIC.PPS MP-6060 Black compound in combination with plating technologies will enable the mass production of electroless and electro-plated PPS on existing plastic-plating production lines without the need for a special etching process, according to DIC.

Plateable PPS enables the use of plastic instead of metal for applications requiring durability — including electronic device housings, connectors, and other components — and providing electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. In the area of automotive components, vehicle electrification and autonomous driving are spurring increased use of plastics for electronic control units (ECUs) and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) housings, among other applications. The aim here is reducing vehicle weight and, thereby, helping to enhance both performance and sustainability by improving fuel efficiency and cruising range. 

Use in vehicle-mounted electronics

An advanced engineering plastic, PPS is favored for use in vehicle-mounted electronic components because of its durability, lightness, and processability. It accommodates the incorporation of complex structures with ribs and cooling channels. While metals and other electroconductive materials boast EMI shielding properties, plastics transmit these waves, necessitating deployment of a shielding technology such as the formation of a thin metal coating on the surface of the plastic used in component housings. However, owing to the superior chemical resistance of PPS, pretreatment using an etching solution — the standard approach when coating with plastic — has not been feasible.

Another difficulty has been ensuring proper adhesion of the metal coating and the PPS substrate. Accordingly, to date, special etching processes — notably blasting and plasma, hydrofluoric acid, and concentrated nitric acid etching — have been used to treat the PPS and enhance adhesion. DIC’s new DIC.PPS MP-6060 Black is revolutionary in that it can be chemically etched with a general-purpose solution like chromic acid, making it possible to produce plated PPS on existing plastic-plating production lines.

Telecom and consumer electronics applications

Modern communication systems, including smartphones and Wi-Fi, rely extensively on waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Given the proliferation of smart home appliances and advances in autonomous driving, the use of these electromagnetic waves is projected to increase further going forward. With the upsurge in consumer electronic devices in use, and the increasing density of substrate wiring, it is crucial to protect such devices against malfunctions or failures from signal interference by blocking or absorbing the waves that cause noise.

The combination of DIC’s PPS compounding technologies with the electroplating technologies of Tsukada Riken Industry and Yoshino Denka Kogyo will facilitate the mass production of plated PPS on existing plastic-plating production lines. It will also eliminate the need to manage the liquid chemicals conventionally used to coat highly chemical-resistant PPS with plastic and make it possible to uniformly coat complex shapes, which are not conducive to blasting.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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