Rigid-flex PCB Board Design Handles Wearable Healthcare Product Issues

Rigid-flex PCB Board Design Handles Wearable Healthcare Product Issues

The majority of circuit cards in today’s times are simply rigid plates to connect circuitry. However, that’s changing rapidly; the need for flexible PCB boards (or flex circuits) is quickly boosting largely caused by the growing wearable product industry. Most likely the most significant segment of that market is the medical industry where wearable products will be employed to gather all kinds of physical info for examination and investigation, together with individual health use. By now wearables are obtainable to keep an eye on heart rate, blood pressure level, glucose, ECG, muscle movement, and a lot more.


Those wearable devices bring many difficulties for electronic circuit board designers that rigid boards don’t. The following are some of those problems along with what designers can do to alleviate them.

Stackup Design is necessary

The stackup – the map of the circuit card layers – is crucial when working with rigid-flex techniques. If possible, your PCB design software has the power to design your stackup including both the rigid and flex parts of the assembly. As mentioned previously, the layout of the bending area should be built to minimize the pressures on the traces and pads.
One of the largest obstacles with rigid-flex designs is qualifying multiple makers. After the design is complete, all aspects of the design must be communicated to the board fabricator in order that it will be appropriately produced. Having said that, the best practice is to choose one or more producers at the start of the design and work together with them to make sure your design fits their manufacturing needs as the design progresses. Working together with manufacturers is made easier by utilizing standards. In such a case, IPC-2223 is the vehicle for getting in touch with your manufacturers.

Once the design is finished, the data package is required to be assembled to hand-off to be produced. Although Gerber still is used for standard PCBs in a few corporations, with regards to the intricacies of rigid-flex, it is strongly advised by both PCB program providers and manufacturers that a more intelligent data exchange format be utilized. The 2 most well-known intelligent formats are ODG++ (version 7 or later) and IPC-2581, each of which precisely define layer specifications.

Three-dimensional Design

While every single printed circuit board is certainly 3 dimensional, flex circuits permit the entire assembly to be bent and folded to conform to the package that the product takes up. The flexible circuitry is collapsed to ensure the rigid PCBs fit into the product package, living in space.
There is lots more to the design, therefore the increased challenges, than simply connecting the rigid boards. Bends must be correctly designed so boards fall into line where they are intended to mount, while not putting stress on the connection points. Up until recently, engineers actually used “paper doll” models to imitate the PC board assy. At this moment, design tools are available offering 3D modelling of the rigid-flex assy, which allows speedier design and a lot greater exactness.

Little Items and Condensed Circuitry

Obviously, wearable merchandise should be small and highly discreet. Up until recently, a healthcare “wearable” for instance a Holter heartrate monitor contained a pretty big external device with a neck strap or perhaps belt mount. The innovative wearables are small and attach straight away to the sufferer with no or few external cables. They collect many different data and can even process a handful of analyses.

An inconspicuous device mounting right to the sufferer dictates flexible circuitry and really dense layouts. On top of that, the board shapes are frequently circular or maybe more uncommon shapes, requiring wise placement and routing. For this kind of tiny and dense boards, a PCB board tool which is improved for rigid-flex designs helps make dealing with strange shapes more convenient.

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