Manufacturers requiring localized heating for their applications turn to the advantages of flexible heaters that are mounted to components and equipment. These heaters can provide low level or high-level heat at varying temperatures to offer the appropriate thermal transfer based on the applications.
Whether used in the aerospace industry to de-ice equipment, or the food industry to bring ingredients up to a suitable temperature, flexible heaters provide the right amount of generated heat based on the application. These types of heaters can be attached to smooth, bulky and curved equipment in different sizes and functions.
Flexible circuit boards are necessary in numerous applications where a design requires the circuit to be bent within the electrical equipment or electronic device. However, it is not desired to have the flexible circuit board bend adjacent to connectors, mounted components, solder joints, and hole patterns. In these instances, a stiffener needs to be designed in to add rigidity and stability so that the flex circuit performs reliably.
Selecting the optimum flex circuit board material is a key element to the success of a flexible circuit design. A wide variety of materials and configurations are available to address the needs of today’s design applications.
In my last blog post, Five Why Root Cause Analysis Starts with a Good Problem Statement, I recommended that problem-solving teams develop well-crafted problem statements. This blog post will discuss the best practices for the five why method of root cause analysis.
When developing a flex PCB based design, one of the most common early decisions is whether a flex circuit with stiffener(s) will meet the design requirements or if a rigid-flex construction is necessary or more effective. While there is some overlap between the two methodologies, there are significant capability, performance, and cost differences that require review to ensure a successful design.
The integration of a flex circuit(s) with rigid PCBs into a rigid-flex configuration can solve many of today’s design challenges. The combination of the mechanical capabilities of flex circuits with the functionality of rigid PCBs is a solution that provides many benefits, including improved reliability, tighter packaging capabilities, high speed signal performance, reduced assembly costs, and opportunities for further overall design packaging reductions.
Keypads that utilize dome switches, silicone elastomer keys, or tactile switches rely on actuation force as a critical feature to define how much load is required to close the normally open switch. In this context, force is a vector acting normal to the keypad surface and is usually defined in grams (g) or pound force (lbf).
Stiffeners are a key design element in most flex designs and have a significant impact on both the performance and reliability of the finished flex circuits. As a result, stiffeners need to be fully and accurately defined in the data set. Not doing so may result in a finished part that does not meet your requirements.
Many of today’s rigid-flex circuit designs utilize the same high-density components found in rigid PCB designs. This requires the use of blind and or buried vias to allow the signal lines to be routed out from within the high-density components or the high-density areas of the design. The most common component that we see driving this today is the 0.4mm pitch BGA package.