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Flexible circuits processing, performance and reliability using lead-free soldering process

Objective

Flexible circuit boards are a functionally pivotal and rapidly growing technology for electronics goods. Applicationsinclude: computer peripherals (e.g. flat panel displays, ink-jet printers, disc drives), hand held devices (e.g. GPS, personaldigital assistants, membrane keyboards), telecommunications (mobile phones), automotive (e.g. engine controls,dashboards/connections), smart cards (antenna foils), aerospace (lightweight, compact systems) and medical devices (e.g.sensors). The drive to use flexible circuits is based on the technologies ability to: reduce size, weight, assembly time andcost, accommodate relative movement between component parts, increase system reliability (reduced interconnect), improvecontrolled impedance signal transmission and heat dissipation and enable three dimensional packaging.These benefits have resulted in a significant increase in the use of flexible circuits for electronics and systems assembly,particularly consumer products. The global market size has been estimated by various bodies to be between 4 billion to 7billion with anticipated growth rates up to 15% per year.Flexible circuits are most commonly manufactured using one of two base materials, either polyimide or polyester. Theformer is favoured where soldering is required, the latter is generally used in low cost applications. Both flexible circuitmaterial systems are sensitive to temperature (continuous service temperature: polyimide ~177C, polyester ~74C), whichraises considerable concerns as to their capabilities of withstanding the higher soldering temperatures, which will beimposed by lead-free solder and its impact on their operating properties. As flexible circuits are developing into such asignificant technology for electronic products, with a major role in manufacturing and assembly being played by SMEs, it isessential that an understanding of the impact of this major change in technology on flexible circuits is #

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/electrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering/information engineering/telecommunications/mobile phone

Funding Scheme

Cooperative - SMEs-Co-operative research contracts

Coordinator

TWI LIMITED
Address
Granta Park, Great Abington
Cambridge
United Kingdom

Participants (12)

ELDOS SPOLKA Z ORGRANICZONA ODPOWIEDZIALNOSCIA
Poland
Address
Bacciarellego 54
Wroclaw
FLEXIBLE TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
Townhead, Rothesay
Bute, Scotland
FLEX-ABILITY LTD
United Kingdom
Address
Prospect Way, Park View Industrial Estate
Hartlepool
KOMED MANUFACTURING AND TRADING COMPANY LTD
Hungary
Address
Reitter F. U. 46-48
Budapest
EPIGEM LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
2 Park Lane
Leeds
INTERNATIONAL CONSULTING BUREAUX
Germany
Address
Moritz-von-rohr-str. 1A
Jena
ICI BELGIUM NV
Belgium
Address
Te 3078 Everberg, Everslaan 45
Handelsregister Van Leuven
KIC INTERNATIONAL SALES INC
United Kingdom
Address

Wokingham
FREUDENBERG FORSCHUNGSDIENSTE KG
Germany
Address
Bau 35
Weinheim
GTS FLEXIBLE MATERIALS LTD
United Kingdom
Address
41 Rassau Industrial Estate
Ebbw Vale
BUDAPEST UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONICS
Hungary
Address
Goldman T. 3
Budapest
UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH
United Kingdom
Address
Old Royal Naval College, Park Row
Greenwich