Rigid-flex printed circuit boards are unique with their integrated construction of both rigid PCB and flex circuit technologies. Being unique comes with a number of unique requirements that should be reviewed and implemented during the rigid-flex PCB Gerber layout phase of the design process.
Flex and rigid-flex PCB constructions have many variations that allow for a wide range of applications and solutions. A significant difference to rigid PCB constructions is that uneven layer counts are allowed and frequently used. The primary reasons being reduced flex thickness, improved flexibility and reduced part cost.
Applications where cable assemblies are utilized can be electrically noisy environments. For an example these applications could be industrial where the cable assembly is installed on a factory floor. Understanding the environment in which your assembly will be used in may determine whether or not your application will require shielded cables.
An essential element of a flex or rigid-flex printed circuit board (PCB) design is verification that the construction will meet your mechanical bend requirements. Exceeding the minimum flex bend radius requirements creates the opportunity to exceed the physical properties of the copper circuitry resulting in failed parts and long term reliability concerns.
Designers and manufacturers of silicone rubber keypads understand they are used for a wide range of industries and applications. Keypads are used extensively in both consumer and industrial electronic products as a low cost and reliable switching solution. In specific applications rubber keypads may be used in harsh outdoor environments that must withstand hundreds of actuations on a daily basis.
This blog post is intended to enforce the design support we offer at Epec in regards to our flex and rigid-flex PCB's. Technical design and engineering is one of our core fundamentals that allows us to help our customers meet there product requirements. The blog post will cover design areas that require special consideration.
During our recent webinar titled "How Many Cycles Can I Expect from My Battery?" we were unable to answer all of the questions that came in during the Q&A section within the given time. One of the questions stood out from the rest so we wanted to share the question and answer on our blog.
PCB Laminate Utilization - Part and Panel Size:
Printed circuit boards are run through the fabrication process in sheet form, typically with rows and columns of identical circuit boards or sub-panels on a single sheet, which are later cut out for shipment. One of the biggest potential cost adders in PCB manufacturing is that of a poor-yielding PCB or sub-panel. While this is true for even the least complex PCBs, it is especially true for multilayers.
Avoiding Expensive PCB Materials & Processes
Printed circuit boards are just one component in an assembly which needs to be designed for the best cost-to-performance ratio possible. The finished product in which the PCB is installed must meet a price point that compares favorably against competing products. In order to make the best choices during the design cycle, it is important to first understand what some of the cost factors are.
Two distinct types of polyimide flex core material constructions are utilized in today’s flex circuit manufacturing. The difference is in the method used to physically attach the copper layers to the polyimide core. This results in a different set of material properties for each of the material types which must be factored in to a specific application to ensure the design meets all the requirements and is cost effective.