The Usage for rigid flex PCB


When to make use of flex

It's obtaining harder to fit every little thing in the box; it's likewise getting even more costly. One option guaranteeing to aid developers satisfy the size restriction directly is rigid flex PCB technology, yet most design teams try to stay clear of utilizing rigid flex PCBs when item cost is a problem. Is it truly as pricey as we assume?

To start with, consider the price of the traditional rigid-cable-rigid PCB assembly to one based on rigid-flex innovation. The previous building and construction works well for short-run designs; nevertheless, it calls for ports on the interconect as well as each board, every one of which increase BoM price Furthermore, the rigid-cable-rigid design is prone to 'chilly joints', and lowered life span. In contrast, rigid-flex circuits eliminate these joints, making them a lot more trusted and also able to supply in general higher product top quality and longevity. While rigid flex PCB technology is certainly not new, different considerations now make it much a lot more viable-- not the least of which is expense.


Simulate the cost.

In some layouts, rigid flex will certainly not be a sensible option, and you have to do your due diligence in determining the break-even factor where the costs are about equal. This sort of rate simulation can be done by taking into consideration the total quoted expenses for fabrication and assembly. The PCBs can be estimated prior to design, as long as the criteria of design are well comprehended (as an example, the layer pile, estimated via count, track and also space ratios, and so on).

We did a manufacturing cost simulation with an actual rigid flex design as well as a comparative rigid-cable-rigid matching. The component BoMs for contrast varied only in the cable television and also ports needed for the non-flex variation. For our simulation, the traditional design is comprised of four-layer boards that make use of flexible wire and connectors in between them, while the rigid-flex design is a four-layer PCB with two internal flex layers. Manufacturing expense for both designs is based upon actual PCB fabricator quotes, and also includes the price of assembly.


Find your break-even point

As the project volume depicted in Figure 1 hits 100 units, the rigid-flex design comes to be a much more affordable alternative compared with the traditional design method. A crucial reason for this expense savings is that rigid-flex circuits do not utilize connectors/cables or need any port assembly. Also, they include boosted integrity and procedure returns. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Because rigid flex PCBs call for no cord assembly, their total assembly effort is lowered, as is their test intricacy-- both of which drive down cost. Furthermore, less parts need to be purchased, decreasing the supply chain threat. Rigid flex PCB can be made making item upkeep more convenient and also for that reason, more cost-effective throughout the product lifecycle.


Just what regarding design time?

While the expense of manufacturing, assembly, screening, and logistics are essential factors in taking into consideration the feasibility of rigid flex PCB modern technology for any type of offered growth, job and also design expenses could not be overlooked. Rigid flex PCB design typically calls for the mechanical group to help with the flex section of the design, and PCB combination with the final product. The process is quite time consuming and pricey, in addition to vulnerable to mistakes.

Making issues worse, PCB design tools frequently overlook the folding and also fitting facets of rigid flex design. Rigid flex modern technology design requires designers to think and function in 3D. The flex portions can be folded up, twisted and rolled to adhere to the design of the mechanism. Conventional PCB design devices don't sustain 3D board design or the interpretation and simulation of bends and also folds in the flex portion of the design. They do not also sustain the interpretation of different layer heaps in various parts of the design, consisting of the areas comprising the design's flex component.

Due to this, rigid-flex designers have been compelled to manually equate both the flex as well as rigid sections of their 3D design right into a flat, 2D representation ideal for fabrication. Then they have to by hand record all locations of the design that are flex, and also check that no elements or vias have been positioned near the changes in between the design's flex and also inflexible portions. This procedure is governed by numerous added policies, a lot of which are, not too remarkably, not sustained by the majority of PCB design software program.

As a whole, the additional effort it has actually taken to design rigid flex PCB as compared with standard inflexible PCBs utilizing traditional PCB design software application has made them much less cost competitive. Fortunately, contemporary design tools with innovative 3D capacities, and assistance for the definition and also simulation of bends and also folds up in the flex section of the design, along with the meaning of various layer heaps in various parts of the design, are now offered. These tools normally eliminate the need to deal with the flex part of the design with mechanical CAD devices, saving developers and design groups both money and time.

Design in 3D to guarantee success

Early coordination between the developers and the circuit board producer, supported by the use of a modern PCB design device, is another variable making rigid-flex innovation a much more economical option. Rigid-flex styles call for closer cooperation between the designer and also maker compared to conventional rigid board styles. The tradeoffs needed to produce a successful rigid-flex design equate to a set of design regulations the designer can develop with the producer's input. These considerations include the number of layers in the design, products choices, suggested sizes for traces and vias, attachment approaches, and dimensional control. With the right design device, these factors to consider can be plainly specified and given the appropriate weight they are entitled to early on to make sure that the rigid flex PCB can be appropriately optimized, even further maximizing its general price as well.


There's no rejecting that existing sector fads and consumer demands are pushing developers and also design groups to their limitations, requiring them to seek new choices to the digital design difficulties they now face. These challenges, and especially the requirements being placed on today's mobile devices, are pushing rigid-flex modern technology right into the mainstream, and also making it a lot more readily feasible for an array of applications. The availability of modern-day PCB design tools that sustain 3D item development, very early partnership, and all needed rigid flex definitions as well as simulation substantially decrease the pain of rigid flex PCB design as well as make it an even more engaging remedy-- one that under the ideal scenarios is cheaper compared to rigid-cable-rigid PCB design. For today's design teams, that choice might merely mean the distinction in between item success or failing.