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issue: April 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Low-Profile SMD LEDs

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A new surface-mount device (SMD) LED claims to be one of the thinnest in the market, allowing engineers to design smaller and lighter appliances.

In addition to its small size, a new SMD LED from Kingbright (City of Industry, California, U.S.) offers low power consumption to help appliance engineers meet stringent energy conservation requirements.

With a small, 0.4-mm character height and weight of only 0.0014g/pc, the SMD LED from Kingbright Corporation can be used in a variety of membrane switch applications. According to Man Yu, engineering manger, the low-profile device is especially useful to the appliance industry as it strives to create more innovative, visually interactive appliances. “Thin LEDs allow engineers to design with ease in applications such as LCD backlights, indicator lights and other switch applications,” Yu says. “The thinnest LED will have the least protrusion from the membrane switch assembly.”

To achieve the LED’s small size, Kingbright engineers used an ultra-thin printed circuit board (PCB) and a lightweight epoxy. In addition to keeping weight low, Yu says the epoxy was key in determining the shape, dimension and heat dissipation capability of the new LEDs. “LEDs are usually exposed to high-moisture, high-temperature environments in most appliance applications, and the epoxy acts as a protective barrier that will increase the LED’s longevity and reliability,” he explains. The epoxy, together with the lead frame, casing and robust infrastructure of the LED chips, allow the electronic devices to meet industrial temperature ratings of -40°C to +85°C.

The LEDs also feature low power consumption, operating under current as low as 2 mA at 1.8 V. According to Yu, this is achieved using the latest InGaN and AllnGaP LED chip technology, which emits high intensity output at super low current and voltage. “With InGaN and AllnGaP chip technology, LEDs require less than 100 mW of power to generate around 80 mcd of luminous intensity and classify as one of the most efficient light sources available,” Yu says.

Keeping in mind today’s production demands, the IR reflow solderable LEDs have been designed for automatic pick-and-place mounting processes. This, Yu notes, helps appliance companies increase productivity while reducing assembly cost by eliminating unnecessary human errors.

Applications for the new LEDs include small appliances such as espresso machines and toasters, large appliances such as refrigerators and washers and consumer electronic devices such as digital cameras and cellular phones. They can also be used in hand-held testing devices and industrial equipment. LED color choices include blue, green, orange, red, and yellow.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Kingbright Corporation

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