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




Suggested Items

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

06/17/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
We’re still not officially into summer yet, but Atlanta is bringing the heat, baby! It’s hit 97 degrees a few times this week, and I now have a fan aimed right at my face. At least it’s nice and humid too. I’m glad I don’t wear make-up. And it’s been a hot week in the circuit board community. This week, Eltek reported a fire at a board shop in Israel, and Flex committed to building a 145,000-square-foor facility in Jalisco, Mexico to serve the electric and autonomous vehicle segment.

Additive Manufacturing Requires Additive Design Techniques

05/09/2022 | Luca Gautero, SUSS MicroTec
Although I am not a designer by trade, I want to share my thoughts on what additive manufacturing means for designers, especially how it relates to solder mask. In this article, you will learn what topics I feel are the most important to address.

Additive Design: Same Steps, Different Order

04/12/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
We recently spoke with Dave Torp, CEO of Winonics, about the company’s additive and semi-additive processes and what PCB designers need to know if they’re considering designing boards with these new technologies. As Dave explains, additive design is not much different from traditional design, but the steps in the design cycle are out of order, and additive designers must communicate with their fabricators because so much of the new processes are still proprietary.



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.