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FEATURE CABLES & CONNECTORS


TAXIS FARE BETTER WITH CUSTOM CABLE ASSEMBLIES


Black cab drivers across London face many challenges, not only from stringent and changing legislation, but also from competitors such as Uber and Addison Lee. With the help of GCT, traditional cabbies are fighting back with an action plan to guarantee a faster, smarter and greener future for London’s black cabs. Details include zero emission capable cabs by 2018, and adoption of technologies such as fast Wi-Fi and electronic card payment with contactless support


E


lectronic payment ability has become mandatory since February 2016, when


TfL announced that all licenced taxi drivers must offer passengers the option of paying their fare electronically at the point of sale. Verifone has long been providing a valuable resource into this area, offering over 25 years of experience with taxi fleets. Its fully TfL compliant card payment solution accepts payment from all major Chip and PIN, swipe and contactless credit and debit cards, and can accept electronic payment via ApplePay and NFC enabled android devices. Verifone’s


provision of card payment technology to taxi fleets meant that it had to respond rapidly when TfL introduced its new legislation last year. The company needed to fulfil an urgent request to equip nearly a quarter of London’s black cabs with ePOS card payment units, as well as Fare Taximeters and taxi advertising systems, which deliver a customer information channel on a 15-inch digital screen within the passenger compartment. The company’s success in meeting the project’s tight deadlines was due in part to support from GCT, its trusted cable and connector supplier. GCT designed a set of cable assemblies that, while being customised for connector arrangements and environmental resilience, were produced in the required production


28 JUNE 2017 | DESIGN SOLUTIONS


volumes within critical deadlines. GCT’s supply comprised four cable


Our task was made easier, and turnaround


was greatly facilitated by the responsive support from Verifone’s engineers at all times throughout the project..."


assembly types, using various custom combinations of Micro USB, USB, DSUB and Jack connectors. One example splits a USB A output into a Micro USB B male and a Micro USB B female connector. I n another, the split is from mini HDMI to a DC Jack and DSUB 9 Pin connector. The assemblies were customised for their environment as well as their connector combinations. The CJack/DSUB cable has a copper foil shield over its inner mould on the connectors, to eliminate electrical noise


interference and reduce signal attenuation. This


also helps compliance


with ATC and RoHS certifications. Additionally,


the cables have a braid and PVC jacket to allow an extended flex cycle life – an important consideration as shock and vibration are ever-present parts of taxi vehicle operation. As the cables were more complex than previously required, while being on a very tight delivery target, GCT had to make special arrangements to meet Verifone’s requirements. After a prompt and early visit to Verifone’s premises, to ensure a detailed understanding of the project, GCT set up a manufacturing plan that included extensive factory overtime.


SPECIFYING FLAT FLEX CABLE ASSEMBLIES


In GCT’s experience of supplying custom flat flex cable assemblies, ensuring that every aspect has been thought about contributes to reducing production costs. It is not just about the price and the delay of encountering and rectifying mistakes. GCT, for example, can customise cables to cut assembly time and cost, as well as improve electrical performance. Below is a step-by-step guide to completely defining your cable assembly.


ORDERING GRID The most obvious and best starting-point to specifying flat flex cable assembly is the part number ordering grid, as shown on GCT’s Flat Flex Cable ordering information drawing, which covers the key variables that must be specified for every cable. These include the pitch, the number of conductors, cable type (Connector Same Side or Connector Opposite Side), cable length in millimetres, conductor thickness and width, as well as plating (tin or gold).


SPECIAL SHIELDING OPTIONS If standard shielding is sufficient, then it is best to choose aluminium foil. Copper foil is available for higher- performance applications. You also need to decide on the number of connectors to be grounded to the shield, and if the cable is Conductor Opposite Side type, the position of conductor one also needs to be decided.


ELECTRICAL, MECHANICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL Is a higher temperature or voltage rating required? What about enhanced durability (insert/withdraw cycles)?


DIMENSIONAL GCT can discuss exposed conductor length, support tape length, custom conductor thickness and width, and folding/bending to an angle.


OTHER


For high-volume orders, custom choices for conductor, insulation and supporting tape material are available. The part number or other information can also be printed onto the cable.


/ DESIGNSOLUTIONS


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