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.
Look around at your desk, work station, or wherever you’re siting while reading this blog post. The odds are favorable there are multiple cables within reach right now! It’s true, everyone needs and uses cables. Not just in one’s personal life, but also in the workplace, in industry, and even in combat.
Nobody wants to experience the feeling of populating your new printed circuit board (PCB) design and finding out that it is not electrically functional. Most often, the lack of functionality is attributable to a specific production problem or a combination of several different problems. Sometimes, however, the problem is that the Gerber files exported from your PCB CAD program contained an error that went unnoticed because there was no way to verify that the files matched your design intent. You can avoid a good deal of trouble by supplying an IPC-356 format netlist file with your fabrication data package.
In the world of electronics, oftentimes how a signal is being transmitted from a sender to a receiver is just as important as what is being transmitted in the first place. Certain applications call for incredibly high levels of reliability and resistance to outside electrical interference, so more "traditional" or "common" cables just won't do.
As costs of materials, freight, and labor rise it has become imperative to seek out alternative ways to save costs in the manufacturing process. With traditional means of saving no longer as viable, we now must be more creative and specific when we’re asked, “what can I do to lower the cost of my printed circuit board (PCB)?”
The process of v-scoring has been used for many years in the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs). As PCB production technology rapidly advances, it is important to understand the most current PCB scoring guidelines to follow and how they may have changed from what you previously used.