barcode reading in c#.net FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS in Software

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FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS
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FLEXIBLE CIRCUIT APPLICATIONS AND MATERIALS
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61.1 INTRODUCTION TO FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS
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Flexible circuits are a form of printed wiring interconnect structure built on thin, flexible substrates. They are also bendable to complete three-dimensional (3-D) wiring that rigid circuit boards cannot achieve. Because of this flexibility, flexible circuits have many advantages over other wiring methods and have many applications in electronic equipment that requires highdensity wiring in a small space. As the samples in Fig. 61.1 show, most flexible circuits have cabling functions rather than the mounting functions of electronic components. Tape-automated bonding (TAB) has not been considered as a type of flexible circuit because of the slightly different manufacturing processes. However, the basic construction and materials of the final products are the same; therefore, TAB is categorized as a type of flexible circuit in this book (see Fig. 61.2).
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61.1.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Circuits The basic advantages of the flexible circuits are its thinness and ability to bend. However, a thin flexible circuit generates many supplemental advantages not available with other wiring methods (see Table 61.1). A 3-D wiring with component assembling in a small space and a long-term dynamic flexing with small radius are typical examples of what other wiring materials cannot replace. On the other hand, flexible circuits also have many disadvantages due to unstable thin constructions. It is necessary to consider how to avoid the disadvantages when using a flexible circuit in a packaging system. Otherwise, overall process yield and productivity will be low and the final cost will be relatively very high.
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61.1.2 Economics of Flexible Circuits The largest disadvantage of flexible circuits is that they cost more than rigid circuit boards or flat cables of the same size. Usually, flexible circuits are larger than rigid circuit boards to allow 3-D wiring capability; however, although the total circuit cost increases, using flexible circuits is still often cheaper than using multiple rigid boards and associated connectors.
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PRINTED CIRCUITS HANDBOOK
FIGURE 61.1 Various examples of flexible circuits.
FIGURE 61.2 Example of fine TAB circuits.
That is, the cost of using flexible circuits must be compared to the total cost of rigid circuit boards in terms of the following:
Connectors Wires Additional assembly costs
FLEXIBLE CIRCUIT APPLICATIONS AND MATERIALS
TABLE 61.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Circuits Advantages Thin Light Bendable Flexible Long flexing endurance 3-D wiring High-density wiring in a small space Avoid connectors and soldering Avoid missed wiring Low total cost, including all elements Disadvantages Fragile Unstable dimensionally Low reliability fatigue Difficult to design Complicated manufacturing process Difficult to handle Need special tools for assembling Low yield in assembling Difficult to rework High cost of circuit fabrication
Because the total cost of a flexible circuit is greater than that of an equivalent rigid circuit board alone, designers should not choose flexible circuits over other wiring methods unless three-dimensional advantages are needed, especially for consumer applications that require low-cost wiring. A flexible circuit should be used only when it provides the solution for the application s wiring requirements (for example, when the application requires bendable wiring in a small space, lightweight, long-flex endurance, and so on).The critical question is whether the value of a flexible circuit s performance is greater than its cost. Miniaturization of electronic products requires extremely lightweight wiring in a small space, and therefore there have been many opportunities for flexible circuits. Figure 61.3
FIGURE 61.3 Flexible circuits applied for digital camera. (Courtesy of Canon).
PRINTED CIRCUITS HANDBOOK
shows examples of flexible circuits applied to a digital camera in which their advantages make them the best technical solution, and also the least expensive. In this example, the entire circuit was divided into one multilayer rigid board and more than 10 flexible circuits to optimize the advantages and minimize the total wiring costs.
APPLICATIONS OF FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS
As described, a flexible circuit should be adopted only when other wiring or packaging methods cannot satisfy the application s requirements. Table 61.2 shows how features of flexible circuits relate to appropriate applications. The table shows typical examples of flexible circuit applications in electronic products. Portable electronic products such as cellular phones, digital cameras, automobile instrument panels, and handheld calculators require reliable 3-D wiring in a small space. In some cameras, more than 10 flexible circuits are squeezed into a small space. Flexible circuits are used for the hinge wiring in many electronic products that have mechanical moving parts, such as notebook computers, palmtop computers, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Many new electronic products, such as hard disk drives, small printers, and clamshell type cellular phones, require a long-life dynamic flexible endurance. Multilayer rigid/flexible circuits have been effective in reducing wiring space and increasing wiring reliability in aerospace electronic equipment and small portable electronic products such as cellular phones. Only flexible circuits could satisfy all these wiring requirements. Efforts to minimize the cost of flexible circuit wiring for consumer applications are ongoing. Often, the miniaturization of a consumer electronic product assumes a wiring system with multiple flexible circuits, especially if the equipment has mechanical moving portions.
TABLE 61.2 Features and Applications of Flexible Circuits Features High-density wiring in a small space Lightweight 3-D wiring Reliable wiring Long flexing endurance Applications Digital camera, cellular phone, flat panel display, video camera, facsimile, ultrasound probe Calculator Automobile instrument panel, cellular phone, camera, notebook computer Aerospace applications, industrial applications Printer, hard disk drive, floppy disk drive, CD drive, VCR
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