Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Rigid-Flex PCB Right the First Time - Without Paper Dolls
Rigid-Flex PCB Right the First Time - Without Paper Dolls
The biggest problem with designing rigid-flex hybrid PCBs is making sure everything will fold in the right way, while maintaining good flex-circuit stability and lifespan.
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Authored By:
Benjamin Jordan
Altium Inc.

Summary
The biggest problem with designing rigid-flex hybrid PCBs is making sure everything will fold in the right way, while maintaining good flex-circuit stability and lifespan. The next big problem to solve is the conveyance of the design to a fabricator who will clearly understand the design intent and therefore produce exactly what the designer/engineer intended.

Rigid-Flex circuit boards require additional cutting and lamination stages, and more exotic materials in manufacturing and therefore the cost of re-spins and failures are very much higher than traditional rigid boards. To reduce the risk and costs associated with rigid-flex design and prototyping, it is desirable to model the flexible parts of the circuit in 3D CAD to ensure correct form and fit. In addition it is necessary to provide absolutely clear documentation for manufacturing to the fabrication and assembly houses.

Conclusions
Further time and error is reduced for final assembly, as clear images and video can be generated from the folding steps of the rigid-flex PCBA to discover the optimal assembly sequence. This video or image output can be utilized in both assembly and product service documentation.

Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings

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