Advantages of Rigid-flex PCB

- Apr 29, 2020-

In recent years, a large number of high-performance, multi-functional equipment emerge in an endless stream, the market development is particularly rapid to dazzle the consumer. However, a tight design process is needed to bring these products to the electronic design market, which usually involves a high density of electronic circuits, as well as reducing manufacturing time and cost. Designers are faced with more and more complex designs, such as a series of peripherals connected via IO. Moreover, today's designs increasingly seek to make products smaller, cheaper and faster, especially in the mobile device market. This is a changing era. In addition to creativity and design ability, designers face many limitations.

 

One solution to help designers and design teams meet these challenges is to use rigid and flex design techniques known as Rigid-Flex printed circuits board. It's not the latest technology, but it's the most pervasive and cost effective.

From the traditional rigid PCB connected by cable, developed to today's rigid-flex board technology. Considering from the aspect of cost, it is feasible for short-term design to connect two rigid pcb with flexible cable. But that requires installing connectors on every board, and connectors need to be assembled into circuit boards and cables -- all of which add to the cost. In addition, the rigid PCB connected with the cable is prone to the problem of virtual welding, which will lead to the occurrence of faults. Rigid-flex PCBs can eliminate these virtual solder joints, making the PCB more reliable and providing higher overall product quality.

 

Let's take a closer look at the total cost, and the chart below compares the simulation manufacturing costs of a rigid PCB using a traditional cable connection and a rigid-flex PCB design.

The traditional design consists of rigid boards that use flexible cables and connectors, while the combination design is embedded in the rigid-flex board with two layers of built-in soft layers in the middle, and the overall structure is a set of four-layer printed circuit boards.

The manufacturing costs for both designs are based on the PCB manufacturer's quote, including assembly costs (XPCB LIMITED, www.x-pcb.com). In addition, the cost of two separate four-layer circuit boards, connectors, and cables in traditional design factors is added.


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As can be seen from the chart, when more than 100 sets are produced, Rigid-Flex PCB design will save more time and increase efficiency compared with the traditional cable design. The main reason is that the Rigid-Flex PCB does not contain any connector components/cables and does not require connector assembly. Not only that, their performance is reliable, sophisticated. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

With the technology of Rigid-Flex printed circuits board, designers can interconnect multiple PCBS in a single package without using connectors, wires, and cables. Since the boards do not require cabling, this reduces overall assembly costs and test complexity, both of which help reduce costs. In addition, fewer components need to be purchased, which reduces the bill of materials, thereby reducing supply chain risks and costs. Rigid-Flex PCB makes the maintenance of the product more convenient and saves the cost in the whole product life cycle.