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Harris : Patent Issued for Three-Dimensional Liquid Crystal Polymer Multilayer Circuit Board Including Membrane Switch and Related Methods (USPTO 9117602)

09/02/2015 | 05:09pm US/Eastern

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- HARRIS CORPORATION (Melbourne, FL) has been issued patent number 9117602, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Rendek, Jr., Louis Joseph (West Melbourne, FL); Shacklette, Lawrence Wayne (Melbourne, FL); Jaynes, Paul Brian (Indialantic, FL); Marvin, Philip Anthony (Melbourne, FL).

This patent was filed on January 17, 2008 and was published online on August 25, 2015.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "An electronic device may include one or more circuit boards. A typical circuit board is a two-dimensional (2D) planar board that mechanically supports electronic components. The electronic components may comprise, for example, resistors, capacitors, switches, batteries, and other more complex integrated circuit components, i.e. microprocessors. The circuit board typically comprises a dielectric material, for example, a plastic material.

"The circuit board may include conductive traces on the surface for connecting the electronic components to each other. As electronic circuitry has become more complex, multilayer circuit boards with at least two electrically conductive pattern layers have been developed. Typically, the different conductive trace layers of a multilayer circuit board may be connected through vertically extending vias, which comprise conductive materials, for example, metal. A typical multilayer circuit board may comprise a plurality of core layers with bonding layers therebetween affixing the adjacent core layers together. Each core layer typically includes a dielectric layer with electrically conductive pattern layers on the opposing surfaces of the dielectric layer. Typically, during manufacture of the multilayer circuit boards, the core and bonding layers are stacked together and then heated (laminated) to cause the bonding layer to affix the adjacent core layers together.

"Even with the advent of the multilayer circuit board, as the mounted circuitry has become even more complex, the size of the circuit board and associated packaging has also increased. This increase in size may pose installation drawbacks in applications where space may be limited or where fitting a planar two-dimensional circuit board may be problematic. Three-dimensional (3D) circuit boards are an approach to this drawback of typical 2D planar circuit boards. As with the typical planar multilayer circuit board, the typical 3D circuit board may comprise a plurality of core layers with bonding layers therebetween affixing adjacent layers together.

"Advantageously, 3D circuit boards may perform functions beyond the traditional mechanical support and electrical connection functions of the 2D circuit board. In other words, the 3D circuit board may be a multifunctional structure. For example, the 3D circuit board may perform mechanical, aerodynamic, and encapsulation functions.

"Another approach to growth in circuit board size is integrating external electronic components into the circuit board, for example, batteries, and switches. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,045,246 to Simburger et al. discloses a thin film battery embedded in a multilayer thin film flexible circuit board. The circuit board comprises polyimide material, which may have some undesirable material characteristics.

"One method to forming 3D circuit boards is disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/695,685 to Shacklette et al., also assigned to the assignee of the present invention, which is incorporated in its entirety by reference. The method includes thermoforming core layers individually on a 3D mold structure, stacking the thermoformed core layers, and laminating the stacked thermoformed layers at even a greater temperature. One possible drawback of this method is the two-step heating and cooling process increases manufacturing time and limits productivity."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In view of the foregoing background, it is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an electronic device with a multilayer circuit board including a membrane switch therein having effective sealing and good electrical properties.

"This and other objects, features, and advantages in accordance with the present invention are provided by an electronic device including a multilayer circuit board having a non-planar three-dimensional shape defining a membrane switch recess therein. The multilayer circuit board may include at least one liquid crystal polymer (LCP) layer, and at least one electrically conductive pattern layer thereon defining at least one membrane switch electrode adjacent the membrane switch recess to define a membrane switch. The electronic device may further include a compressible dielectric material filling the membrane switch recess. The electronic device may also include at least one spring member within the membrane switch recess. Advantageously, the multilayer circuit board may provide a hermetic seal for the membrane switch recess therein.

"Additionally, the electronic device may further comprise circuitry carried by the multilayer circuit board and being coupled to the membrane switch. The at least one LCP layer may further comprise at least one pair thereof, and the multilayer circuit board may further comprise a bonding layer between the at least one pair of LCP layers. In certain embodiments, the bonding layer may comprise a curable bonding layer. In other embodiments, the bonding layer may comprise a thermoplastic bonding layer.

"Another aspect is directed to a method for making an electronic device comprising forming a multilayer circuit board having a non-planar three-dimensional shape defining a membrane switch recess therein. The multilayer circuit board may comprise at least one liquid crystal polymer (LCP) layer, and at least one electrically conductive pattern layer thereon defining at least one membrane switch electrode adjacent the membrane switch recess to define a membrane switch of the electronic device. The electrically conductive pattern layer may comprise at least one of copper, nickel, silver, gold, indium, lead, tin, carbon, and aluminum.

"Moreover, the method may further comprise mounting circuitry on the multilayer circuit board, the circuitry being coupled to the membrane switch. The at least one LCP layer may comprise at least one pair thereof, and the multilayer circuit board may further comprise a bonding layer between the at least one pair of LCP layers.

"Furthermore, the forming of the multilayer circuit board may comprise forming a stacked arrangement comprising at least one pair of LCP layers with a bonding layer therebetween. The forming of the multilayer circuit board may also comprise heating and applying pressure to the stacked arrangement to shape the stacked arrangement into a non-planar three-dimensional shape and concurrently causing the bonding layer to bond together the adjacent LCP layers of the stacked arrangement. Each of the LCP layers may have a melting temperature, and the bonding layer may have a bonding temperature less than the melting temperature of each of the LCP layers.

"In certain embodiments, the bonding layer may comprise a curable bonding layer, and the bonding temperature may comprise a curing temperature for the curable bonding layer. In other embodiments, the bonding layer may comprise a thermoplastic bonding layer, and the bonding temperature may comprise a melting temperature for the thermoplastic bonding layer. The forming of the stacked arrangement may comprise initially forming a stacked planar arrangement."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Rendek, Jr., Louis Joseph; Shacklette, Lawrence Wayne; Jaynes, Paul Brian; Marvin, Philip Anthony. Three-Dimensional Liquid Crystal Polymer Multilayer Circuit Board Including Membrane Switch and Related Methods. U.S. Patent Number 9117602, filed January 17, 2008, and published online on August 25, 2015. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9117602.PN.&OS=PN/9117602RS=PN/9117602

Keywords for this news article include: Circuit Board, HARRIS CORPORATION, Electronic Components.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2015, NewsRx LLC

(c) 2015 NewsRx LLC, source Technology Newsletters

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