|Publication number||USRE41715 E1|
|Application number||US 11/500,517|
|Publication date||Sep 21, 2010|
|Filing date||Jan 25, 2001|
|Priority date||Jan 25, 2000|
|Also published as||CN1177512C, CN1397146A, DE60106568D1, DE60106568T2, DE60106568T3, EP1256261A1, EP1256261B1, EP1256261B2, US6774342, US20030180545, WO2001056334A1|
|Publication number||11500517, 500517, PCT/2001/38, PCT/IT/1/000038, PCT/IT/1/00038, PCT/IT/2001/000038, PCT/IT/2001/00038, PCT/IT1/000038, PCT/IT1/00038, PCT/IT1000038, PCT/IT100038, PCT/IT2001/000038, PCT/IT2001/00038, PCT/IT2001000038, PCT/IT200100038, US RE41715 E1, US RE41715E1, US-E1-RE41715, USRE41715 E1, USRE41715E1|
|Inventors||Luigi Capriotti, Ciro Paudice|
|Original Assignee||Pilkington Italia S.P.A.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (44), Non-Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (2), Classifications (13), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to a glazing provided with an electric circuit including an electrically conducting substrate and a terminal for making electrical connection thereto. In particular, the circuit may be a heating element for defrosting or demisting the glazing, or an antenna circuit. The glazing may be for a vehicle window, or a window for an appliance or a building; in the case of a vehicle it may be a windscreen or rear window.
Various techniques are known for making electrical connection to a terminal. For instance, it is known from GB-A-2 223 385 to solder a terminal to a busbar or current collector. Alternatively, EP-A-410 766 discloses an electrical device comprising a substrate supporting a film-type heater track formed of conductive polymer ink. A connector member is bonded to the substrate by means of adhesive, and the heater track overlies at least an end portion of the connector member to provide an electrical contact between them.
It is also known from EP 278 611 A1 to employ an electrically conductive adhesive to bond a busbar onto a conductive layer formed on a substrate, which may be used as a window. Furthermore, in GB 1 393 887, the use of steel filings to make electrical contact through an adhesive coating is disclosed in the context of a rear window heating circuit.
However, FR 2 519 477 teaches that electrically conductive adhesives have various disadvantages, for example, they are not sufficiently durable under the conditions to which a vehicle window is typically subjected, and they are expensive. Instead, FR 2 519 477 suggests that it is preferable to employ a non-conductive adhesive to maintain a suitably configured terminal in intimate contact with an electrically conducting substrate so as to ensure electrical continuity.
Unfortunately, the invention of FR 2 519 477 is also not without disadvantages; it has been found that the inevitable mismatch of the thermal expansion coefficients of glass, metal and adhesive results in a weakening of the adhesive bond to the extent that electrical contact is adversely affected. Consequently, soldering remains a widely used technique for attaching electrical terminals to glazings, although the strength of the bonds produced is not always satisfactory, and there are increasing environmental concerns about metals, such as lead, which are commonly used in solders. Furthermore, the actual soldering operation is inclined to produce thermal stresses in the glass, which sometimes lead to damage.
It would be desirable to improve the attachment of electrical terminals to glazings, avoiding the disadvantages described above.
According to the present invention there is provided a glazing with an electric circuit including an electrically conducting substrate and a terminal for making electrical connection thereto, wherein the terminal is attached to the substrate by adhesive, characterised in that the electrical connection between the terminal and the substrate is provided by means other than, or additional to, physical contact between the terminal and the substrate.
The provision of a secure and reliable electrical connection between the terminal and the substrate allows adhesives to replace solder without attendant problems of electrical continuity. Modern adhesives are able to offer many advantages over solder. They may be flexible in the cured or set condition, and thereby absorb stresses generated in, or exerted on, the terminal. Adhesives are available which do not require to be heated in order to form a bond, or only need to be heated to a modest temperature, and yet which still provide a strong bond. Furthermore, it is usually possible to arrange the manufacturing operation so that the adhesive is heated just before it contacts the glazing, thereby avoiding the need to heat the glazing directly. Durable electrically conducting adhesives are now available, thereby allowing the adhesive to fulfil both the mechanical and electrical functions of a conventional soldered joint. Generally, such adhesives contain finely dispersed metal powder to make them conductive. Providing that the electric current to be carried is not large, the adhesive constitutes a sufficient electrical connection. A further important advantage is that suitable adhesives are available which have fewer health and safety hazards and less adverse environmental impact than the conventionally used solders.
Preferably the terminal comprises separate base and connector parts which are adapted to mutually engage, and the base part of the terminal is attached to the glazing by adhesive.
Advantageously, especially in the automotive industry, the base may be of a standardised design of general applicability, whereas the connector part may be tailored to the specific requirements of a particular glazing, vehicle or vehicle manufacturer. That is, the base is preferably usable with a variety of differing designs of connector part.
Means of electrical connection between the terminal and the substrate may, for example, include the use of an electrically conducting adhesive, and/or a soldered connection. In high current applications, a joint soldered directly between the terminal and the substrate is preferable as the additional means of electrical connection, in order to obtain a low resistance connection. In this situation the solder complements the adhesive, as the latter bears the mechanical load and stresses, leaving the solder to provide, or enhance, electrical continuity without being compromised. This makes it possible, for instance, to use solders which are less environmentally aggressive, even if there is some loss in bond strength.
The invention also provides a method of making a glazing with an electric circuit including an electrically conducting substrate and a terminal for making electrical connection thereto, comprising the steps of:
Improvements can also be made in the type and method of application of the adhesive.
Preferably the adhesive is provided in the form of a tack-free tablet which is placed in contact with the terminal. The use of a tack-free (i.e. non-sticking) form of adhesive is advantageous because handling of the adhesive is greatly facilitated.
It is also preferable for the adhesive to be pre-shaped to match the part of the terminal that the tablet is in contact with. This increases the area of the terminal that is bonded, and hence the strength of the bond, while reducing the likelihood of adhesive escaping from underneath the terminal and becoming visible, which is likely to be unsightly. It also results in less waste and hence a cost reduction.
Advantageously the adhesive is pre-applied to the terminal, e.g. the terminals may be supplied with adhesive already applied to the requisite part of the terminal.
Optionally the adhesive may be heated to activate or cure it. The term “activating” an adhesive is used to refer to any process which initiates the bonding process, e.g. one which makes a previously tack-free adhesive sticky, or one which starts the curing process. Activation may involve melting the adhesive (at least on its surface), initiating a heat-dependent chemical reaction, or removing or destroying a barrier which separates two reactants. The extent of heating an adhesive is frequently less than is required for solder, and with regard to heating for activation, the adhesive need not necessarily be in contact with the glazing at the time of heating.
In this specification, the term “solder” is used to denote a fusible alloy of metals. The term “adhesive” is used to denote a substance employed to bond other substances together, but does not include a solder as such. An adhesive may be wholly non-metallic or may contain a metallic component.
The invention will now be further described by way of the following specific embodiments, which are given by way of illustration and not of limitation, and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
The pane 3 of glazing material may be a sheet of glass, which may be annealed or toughened, or a composite pane made up of two or more plies of glass (or other glazing material) laminated together. In the case of an automotive glazing, the glass would be safety glass, i.e. toughened or laminated glass. There are alternative glazing materials to glass including various plastics such as polycarbonate for example.
Attached to the glazing, or more precisely, to an electrically conducting substrate 4 which forms part of the-electric circuit 2, is a terminal 5. The embodiment of terminal 5 shown in
In this embodiment, the electrically conducting substrate 4 constitutes a busbar supplying current to heating elements of the electric circuit 2. The substrate may be composed of thin sheet metal, such as a foil, or may be made from an ink which is applied to the pane (e.g. by screen printing), dried, and fired to provide a durable conducting path. For example, silver-containing inks are widely used in the manufacture of electrically heated rear windows for vehicles.
The terminal 5 includes a spade connector 9, to which an electrical lead (not shown) may be attached in conventional fashion by a corresponding female connector. Many variations on the type and embodiment of connector are possible; for example, it may be cranked, or otherwise bent, to facilitate access or to improve its aesthetic aspect. Alternative forms of connector, e.g. the press stud type, may also be used. The terminal may be manufactured from thin sheet metal; in particular, copper sheet, preferably tinned to prevent oxidation, is a suitable material.
It has already been mentioned that it is convenient for the terminals to be supplied with the adhesive pre-applied, especially in a tack-free form. The tablet of adhesive (generally comprising pre-mixed components) is pressed onto the surface of the terminal with just sufficient heat to cause it to adhere to the surface. When the terminal is in two (or more parts) as in
The adhesive may be electrically conducting, in which case no further electrical connection may be necessary. However, if the adhesive is non-conducting, or if the electric circuit has a high power requirement, a means of electrical connection will be required between the terminal and the electric circuit. This may conveniently be provided by a soldered joint between the terminal and the electrically conducting substrate. In
In FIG. 5(a), a T-shaped block 50 of adhesive is shown, which is suitable for use in the correspondingly T-shaped part of the terminal (i.e. where the limbs of the “T” cross, one limb being the spade). FIG. 5(b) shows a thin rectangular block 51 of adhesive and FIG. 5(c) shows a thin cylindrical tablet 52 of adhesive.
There are many suitable adhesives for attaching terminals to glazing. Polyurethanes are a suitable class of adhesives, including moisture-cured polyurethane (e.g. Betaseal HV3 available from Gurit-Essex AG of Freienbach, Germany), moisture/heat cured polyurethane (e.g. Sika 360 HC available from Sika AG of Switzerland), reactive hot melt polyurethane (e. g, PUR-FECT 310 available from National Starch & Chemical Company of Bridgewater, N.J., USA, a member of the ICI Group), two component polyurethane, and other polyurethane-based compositions (such as Techbond PUR available from A. Raybond SARL of 68300 Saint-Louis, France). A further suitable class of adhesives is that of epoxy based compositions, e.g. Raybond's Techbond EPO. Also suitable are structural adhesive tapes (e.g. 3M 9214 available from the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company of St. Paul, Minn., USA). Suitable conducting adhesives contain finely dispersed metallic particles in sufficient quantity to pass the required current density.
The preferred tack-free adhesives in tablet form are available from A. Raybond SARL in both epoxy and polyurethane compositions (Techbond EPO and PUR), and terminal base parts can be supplied with the adhesive preapplied. In a polyurethane-based composition such as Techbond PUR, the polyol and isocyanate reactants are pre-mixed in stoichiometric ratio, but the isocyanate is “end capped” or micro-encapsulated to prevent contact with the polyol. The adhesive is solid at room temperature. Application of heat activates the adhesive by destroying, e.g. melting, the capping or encapsulating membrane and allowing the isocyanate component into contact with the surrounding polyol so that the curing reaction starts. The method of use of these adhesives is as follows.
A pane of glass carrying an electric circuit is provided and cleaned with a cleaner such as Betaseal VP-04604 from Gurit-Essex; a terminal, or terminal base part, with tack-free adhesive pre-applied is also provided. The terminal is positioned over the pane, and rapidly heated to a temperature in the range 100°-140° C. Suitable rapid heating techniques include infra-red lamps, hot air jets, inductive heating or radio frequency dielectric heating. The heat activates the adhesive, and the terminal is pressed into position on the pane. During the initial cooling period the terminal should be held in place, until the temperature has reduced to a value in the region of 60°-80° C. The pane may then be moved, but the bond does not develop full strength until post polymerisation has been completed, which may require up to 20 minutes at room temperature. Note that the pane need not be directly heated, thereby reducing thermal stresses.
As mentioned above, in many cases it will be necessary to make a separate electrical connection between the terminal and the circuit, and a preferred method involves soldering. In this case, the heat of soldering may advantageously also be used to activate the adhesive and eliminate a separate operation. The locations on the terminal body to which solder is applied should be close to those to which adhesive is applied. A soldering tool (which may be automated, e.g. robot-controlled) is then used to solder the terminal in position, and simultaneously heat the adhesive to activate it. The soldering tool may be one which contacts the work, or a hot air soldering technique may be used. Generally, soldering requires a higher temperature than activation of the adhesive, so the temperature attained may be governed by soldering considerations. However, one of the advantages of the invention is that the mechanical bond is provided by the adhesive, so that the solder solely provides an electrical connection. Consequently, solders may be used which have a lower melting point than those used in the prior art, where both mechanical and electrical considerations apply.
In practice, certain types of adhesive are activated by melting them, and so the heat used to melt the solder preferably also melts the adhesive. It is therefore advantageous to select an adhesive and a solder which have similar melting points. Suitably, the adhesive and solder have melting points within 20° C., preferably 10° C., most preferably 5° C. of each other.
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|1||EP opposition against EP 1 256 261-Provisional Opinion from the EPO.|
|2||EP opposition against EP 1 256 261—Provisional Opinion from the EPO.|
|3||EP Opposition against patent EP 1 256 261 (English language translation included).|
|4||Response to EP Opposition against patent EP 1 256 261.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US20100200293 *||Apr 19, 2010||Aug 12, 2010||Radiant Glass Industries, Llc||Heated glass panels|
|US20140057501 *||Mar 15, 2013||Feb 27, 2014||GM Global Technology Operations LLC||Electrical-mechanical fastening device for motor vehicles|
|U.S. Classification||219/203, 219/543, 219/522, 219/541, 219/547, 219/219|
|International Classification||H05B3/84, H01R43/00, H01R4/04, B60L1/02|
|Cooperative Classification||H05B2203/016, H05B3/84|