The use case for rigid flex PCB



When to make use of flex
It's getting more challenging to fit every little thing in the box; it's also obtaining more pricey. One solution guaranteeing to help designers fulfill the size restraint head on is rigid flex PCB modern technology, yet most design teams aim to stay clear of using rigid flex PCBs when product expense is a concern. Is it really as pricey as we assume?
To start with, take into consideration the expense of the typical rigid-cable-rigid PCB assembly to one based upon rigid-flex modern technology. The former building and construction works well for short-run designs; nonetheless, it calls for connectors on each board and also the interconect, all of which increase BoM expense Furthermore, the rigid-cable-rigid design is prone to 'cool joints', and also reduced service life. On the other hand, rigid-flex circuits eliminate these joints, making them much more reliable and also able to deliver in general higher item quality as well as durability. So while rigid-flex PCB technology is definitely not new, different considerations currently make it much more sensible-- not the least of which is expense.

Simulate the cost.
In some styles, rigid flex will not be a practical choice, and also you should do your due diligence in identifying the break-even factor where the costs have to do with equal. This type of rate simulation can be done by thinking about the total quoted prices for fabrication and also assembly. The PCBs can be priced quote prior to design, as long as the specifications of design are well understood (for instance, the layer stack, estimated by means of count, track and also room ratios, etc.).
We executed a manufacturing cost simulation with an actual rigid flex design as well as a relative rigid-cable-rigid matching. The component BoMs for contrast differed just in the cable as well as ports needed for the non-flex variation. For our simulation, the standard design is comprised of four-layer boards that use flexible cord as well as ports in between them, while the rigid-flex design is a four-layer PCB with 2 inner flex layers. Manufacturing price for both designs is based on actual PCB fabricator quotes, as well as includes the cost of assembly.

Locate your break-even factor
As the job volume shown in Figure 1 strikes 100 units, the rigid-flex design becomes a more affordable choice compared with the traditional design method. An essential reason for this price financial savings is that rigid-flex circuits do not make use of connectors/cables or require any type of port assembly. Likewise, they include enhanced integrity as well as procedure returns. However that's merely the tip of the iceberg.
Since rigid flex PCBs need no cable television assembly, their total assembly initiative is reduced, as is their examination complexity-- both of which drive down price. Additionally, less components need to be bought, lowering the supply chain danger. Rigid flex PCBs can be designed to make item maintenance easier as well as a result, more affordable over the course of the product lifecycle.

Exactly what about design time?
While the expense of manufacturing, assembly, testing, as well as logistics are essential consider thinking about the stability of rigid flex PCB technology for any given task, design and growth costs could not be ignored. Rigid flex PCB design frequently requires the mechanical group to assist with the flex section of the design, and also PCB integration with the final product. The procedure is quite time consuming and pricey, along with prone to errors.
Making issues worse, PCB design devices frequently overlook the folding and also suitable aspects of rigid flex design. Rigid flex modern technology design requires developers to think as well as function in 3D. The flex parts can be folded, twisted as well as rolled to follow the design of the system. But traditional PCB design devices don't support 3D board design or the meaning and simulation of bends as well as folds in the flex portion of the design. They do not also sustain the interpretation of various layer stacks in different parts of the design, consisting of the locations comprising the design's flex component.
As a result of this, rigid-flex designers have been forced to by hand equate both the flex and stiff sections of their 3D design into a level, 2D depiction appropriate for fabrication. After that they need to by hand document all areas of the design that are flex, as well as check that no components or vias have been placed near the changes in between the design's inflexible and also flex sections. This process is governed by several additional rules, a lot of which are, not too surprisingly, not sustained by most PCB design software.
Generally, the extra initiative it has actually required to design rigid flex PCB as compared with standard rigid PCBs utilizing typical PCB design software program has actually made them much less set you back competitive. Thankfully, modern design tools with innovative 3D abilities, and support for the meaning and simulation of bends and folds in the flex portion of the design, in addition to the interpretation of various layer heaps in various parts of the design, are currently available. These tools typically remove the have to manage the flex part of the design with mechanical CAD tools, saving designers and design teams both time and money.
Design in 3D to guarantee success
Early coordination between the designers and also the motherboard producer, supported by the use of a modern-day PCB design tool, is one more factor making rigid-flex innovation a more economical option. Rigid-flex layouts require closer partnership between the developer and producer than conventional inflexible board styles. The tradeoffs needed to create an effective rigid-flex design equate to a set of design rules the designer can create with the maker's input. These considerations include the variety of layers in the design, products choices, suggested sizes for traces and also vias, bond techniques, and also dimensional control. With the ideal design tool, these factors to consider can be clearly defined and given the correct weight they are entitled to early to make sure that the rigid flex PCB can be effectively maximized, additionally optimizing its overall expense too.

There's no rejecting that existing market trends as well as consumer demands are pushing developers and design teams to their limitations, forcing them to seek new alternatives to the digital design obstacles they currently face. These obstacles, as well as particularly the demands being positioned on today's mobile devices, are pressing rigid-flex innovation right into the mainstream, as well as making it much more readily feasible for a variety of applications. The accessibility of modern PCB design tools that sustain 3D product development, early collaboration, and all essential rigid flex meanings as well as simulation substantially lessen the pain of rigid flex PCB design and also make it an even more engaging option-- one that under the appropriate scenarios is less costly compared to rigid-cable-rigid PCB design. For today's design groups, that option may simply suggest the difference between item success or failing.