When to make use of flex PCB design
It’s obtaining more difficult to fit every little thing in package; it’s also obtaining more costly. One solution promising to assist designers satisfy the dimension restriction directly is rigid flex PCB technology, yet the majority of design groups attempt to avoid making use of rigid flex PCBs when item expense is an issue. However is it truly as pricey as we assume?
To begin with, think about the cost of the typical rigid-cable-rigid PCB assembly to one based on rigid flex PCB technology. The former construction works well for short-run layouts; however, it needs adapters on each board and the interconect, every one of which drive up BoM expense. Furthermore, the rigid-cable-rigid design is prone to ‘chilly joints’, and decreased service life. In contrast, rigid-flex PCB circuits remove these joints, making them a lot more reliable and able to provide overall higher product high quality and longevity. So while rigid flex PCB innovation is absolutely not new, different factors to consider currently make it a lot more sensible– not the least which is price.
Simulate the price
In some designs, rigid flex PCB design will certainly not be a feasible alternative, and you have to do your due diligence in figuring out the break-even point where the expenses are about equivalent. This type of cost simulation can be done by thinking about the complete quoted expenses for PCB fabrication and assembly. The PCBs can be quoted before design, as long as the criteria of design are well understood (for example, the layer stack-up, approximated using count, track and space ratios, etc.).
We executed a PCB manufacturing cost simulation with a real rigid flex PCB design and a comparative rigid-cable-rigid matching. The element BoMs for comparison changed just in the cord and ports needed for the non-flex version. For our simulation, the standard design is consisted of four-layer PCB boards that use flexible cable television and connectors between them, while the rigid flex PCB design is a four-layer PCB with 2 inner flex layers. Manufacturing cost for both designs is based on genuine PCB producer quotes, and includes the price of assembly.
Find your break-even point
As the task volume illustrated in Number 1 hits 100 units, the rigid flex PCB design comes to be a much more affordable choice compared with the typical design approach.
A key factor for this expense savings is that rigid flex circuits do not make use of connectors/cables or require any type of connector assembly. Likewise, they include enhanced dependability and procedure returns. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Because rigid flex PCBs require no cable television assembly, their overall assembly initiative is minimized, as is their examination intricacy– both of which drive down price.
In addition, fewer components have to be bought, decreasing the supply chain danger. Rigid flex PCB can be designed to make item maintenance more convenient and for that reason, more economical during the item lifecycle.
What about design time?
While the expense of PCBmanufacturing, assembly, screening, and logistics are vital consider taking into consideration the stability of rigid flex PCB modern technology for any given task, design and development prices can not be ignored. Rigid flex PCB design usually calls for the mechanical team to assist with the flex section of the design, and PCB assimilation with the end product. The process is extremely time consuming and pricey, along with vulnerable to errors.
Making matters worse, PCB design devices often overlook the folding and suitable elements of rigid flex PCB design. Rigid flex PCB innovation design needs designers to think and work in 3D. The flex portions can be folded, bented and rolled to follow the design of the device. However typical PCB design devices don’t support 3D board design or the definition and simulation of bends and folds in the flex portion of the design. They do not also sustain the definition of various layer stacks in various parts of the design, consisting of the locations consisting of the design’s flex part.
Due to this, rigid flex PCB designers have actually been forced to by hand equate both the rigid and flex sections of their 3D design right into a flat, 2D depiction suitable for PCB fabrication. Then they have to by hand record all locations of the design that are flex, and double check that no parts or vias have actually been put near the transitions in between the design’s rigid and flex parts. This process is controlled by several extra rules, the majority of which are, not as well surprisingly, not sustained by most PCB design software application.
As a whole, the extra effort it has actually required to design rigid flex PCBs as compared to typical rigid PCBs utilizing conventional PCB design software has actually made them much less cost competitive. Luckily, contemporary design tools with advanced 3D capabilities, and assistance for the meaning and simulation of bends and folds up in the flex portion of the design, in addition to the meaning of various layer stacks in other parts of the design, are now available. These tools generally get rid of the have to take care of the flex part of the design with mechanical CAD devices, conserving developers and design teams both money and time.
Design in 3D to make sure success
Early control between the designers and the PCB manufacturer, supported by the use of a contemporary PCB design device, is an additional variable making rigid flex PCB modern technology a more cost-efficient choice. Rigid flex PCB layouts call for closer cooperation between the designer and PCB manufacturer compared to standard rigid board layouts. The tradeoffs called for to generate a successful rigid flex PCB design mean a collection of design regulations the designer could develop with the maker’s input. These considerations consist of the variety of layers in the design, materials selections, suggested dimensions for traces and vias, adhesion approaches, and dimensional control. With the right design device, these factors to consider can be plainly defined and offered the correct weight they deserve early on so that the rigid flex PCB can be effectively maximized, further maximizing its general cost as well.
There’s no rejecting that existing industry trends and consumer demands are pressing designers and design groups to their limits, compeling them to look for new alternatives to the electronic design challenges they currently deal with. These obstacles, and specifically the demands being positioned on today’s smart phones, are pushing rigid flex PCB modern technology right into the mainstream, and making it far more readily feasible for a variety of applications. The accessibility of modern PCB design devices that sustain 3D item development, very early cooperation, and all needed rigid flex PCB definitions and simulation considerably decrease the discomfort of rigid flex PCB design and make it a much more engaging remedy– one that under the appropriate conditions is less costly than rigid flex PCB design. For today’s design groups, that selection could just indicate the difference between product success or failure.