Rigid-flex Circuit Card Design Fixes Medical Wearables Obstacles

Rigid-flex Circuit Card Design Fixes Medical Wearables Obstacles

The vast majority of PCBs in the present day are just inflexible plates for connecting circuitry. But, that’s changing fast; the desire for flex circuit cards (or flex circuits) is quickly escalating mainly as a result of the developing wearable device industry. Maybe the largest segment of that market is the medical industry in which wearable products will be utilized to get all sorts of physical data for prognosis and investigation, in addition to personal health use. Actually wearables can be found to watch pulse rate, blood pressure levels, glucose, ECG, muscle movement, and even more.

Those wearable devices deliver a number of challenges for PCB designers that rigid boards don’t. Here are several of those problems and what designers can do to alleviate them.


Three-dimensional Design

While every single PCB is certainly three-dimensional, flex circuits enable the entire assembly to be bent and folded to adapt to the package that the product occupies. The flexible circuitry is collapsed to ensure the rigid PC boards fit in the item package, occupying minimal room.
There are lots more to the design, therefore the added challenges, than just connecting the rigid boards. Bends should be precisely designed so boards align where they’re meant to mount, while not putting force on the connection points. until recently, engineers actually used “paper doll” models to emulate the printed circuit board assy. Right now, design tools are available offering 3D modelling of the rigid-flex assy, helping more rapidly design and much greater precision.

Small Products and Dense Circuitry

By definition, wearable goods ought to be tiny and unobtrusive. In the past, a medical “wearable” for instance a heartrate monitor contained a reasonably large external device with a neck strap or maybe belt mount. The innovative wearables are small and install straight to the patient with no or few external wires. They pick up a variety of info and are able to even process a few analyses.

An discreet device affixing straight away to the patient requires flexible circuitry and very compacted layouts. Also, the board shapes are usually round or even more unconventional shapes, requiring wise placement and routing. For these types of tiny and densely-packed boards, a PCB board tool that is designed for rigid-flex designs can make dealing with uncommon shapes much simpler.

Stackup Design is significant

The stackup – the map of the PCB layers – is critical when you use rigid-flex techniques. If at all possible, your PCB design software has the capacity to design your stackup including both the rigid and flexible parts of the assembly. As mentioned previously, the layout of the flexing area must be made to help ease the pressures on the traces and pads.
One of the primary complications with rigid-flex designs is qualifying multiple manufacturers. After the design is fully gone, every aspect of the design need to be communicated to the board fabricator so it will be effectively produced. On the other hand, the best practice is to select one or more companies at the outset of the design and work together with them to guarantee your design agrees with their assembly requirements as the design progresses. Collaborating with manufacturers is simplified by employing standards. In such a case, IPC-2223 is the vehicle for getting in touch with your fabricators.

Once the design is completed, the data package is required to be assembled to hand-off to be produced. Whilst Gerber is still employed for standard PCBs in a few companies, in terms of the difficulties of rigid-flex, it is strongly suggested by both PCB software program providers along with fabricators that a more intelligent data exchange format be utilized. The two most well-liked intelligent formats are ODG++ (version 7 or higner) and IPC-2581, each of which obviously define layer standards.


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