Managing the Challenges of Flex and Rigid-Flex Design


Reading time ( words)

PCB designers working with flex or rigid-flex technology face many potential risks that can derail a project and cause costly design failures. As the name implies, flex and rigid-flex designs comprise a combination of rigid and flexible board technologies made up of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates, attached internally and/or externally to one or more rigid boards. These combinations provide flexibility for the PCB designer working on dense designs that require a specific form factor. Rigid-flex allows the PCB design team to cost-efficiently apply greater functionality to a smaller volume of space, while providing the mechanical stability required by most applications.

Rigid-flex technology is usually applied when a product needs to be compact, lightweight and/or flexible. Examples of end products where flex and rigid-flex systems are found include smart phones, modern televisions, digital cameras and laptops. As flex and rigid-flex boards are becoming more complex, modern design tools must be able to understand the unique design constructs and rules that surround these designs.

The Key Benefits of Flex and Rigid-Flex

The major benefits of flex and rigid-flex technology implementation and why design teams need to adopt this methodology include:

  • Reduced cost and increased reliability by eliminating physical connectors used in the traditional “design-separately-then-assemble” approach to systems design.
  • Improved signal integrity through the removal of cross-sectional changes to the conductors (eliminating physical connectors and their associated solder connections).
  • Physical space requirement reduction since parts can be placed, and traces can be routed, in three dimensions.
  • Improved electromechanical functionality including dynamic bending, vibration and shock tolerance, heat resistance, and weight reduction.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the recent issue of Flex007 Magazine, click here.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

DFM 101: PCB Materials

04/30/2021 | Anaya Vardya, American Standard Circuits
One of the biggest challenges facing PCB designers is understanding the cost drivers in the PCB manufacturing process. This article is the first in a series that will discuss these cost drivers (from the PCB manufacturer’s perspective) and the design decisions that will impact product reliability.

Karen McConnell: Recipient of the IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award

03/11/2021 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
"I heard about IPC when I started a new job at UNISYS after graduating college. I moved from ASIC design to printed circuit boards," said Karen McConnell after being inducted into the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame. "At the time, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, there were rumors going around that printed circuit boards were going to disappear, and ASICs were going to take over the world. But something in printed circuit boards fascinated me. I minored in robotics in college as an electrical engineer and the data used to fabricate, assemble and test the boards is actually all robotic language. I was hooked."

Cadence’s Celsius: Don’t End up Holding the Hot Potato!

12/17/2020 | Clive "Max" Maxfield, Maxfield High-Tech Consulting
I was just thinking about the party game Hot Potato. It reminded me of today’s increasingly competitive marketplace: Accurate thermal analysis must be performed, and any potential issues have to be identified and addressed as early as possible in the design cycle. Otherwise the system will run into problems, market windows will be missed, and someone will be left holding the hot potato. Trust me, you do not want to be that someone.



Copyright © 2021 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.