With the rising deployment of digital solutions and computing applications in the modern world, the demand for designing and developing a rigid-flex board has also increased. When it comes to industrial design, rigidity is one of the most important attributes that designers need to consider. It can be especially challenging for designers who are working with flexible products and materials. With the expansion of flexible manufacturing processes and materials into the industry, designers no longer have a choice when it comes to creating products that require flexible manufacturing methods. Here are some of the best practices for designing rigid-flex boards.
Equip your workforce with IPC Certification
To design a rigid-flex board, you must consider the manufacturing processes the finished product will go through, the material properties of the rigid and flexible parts of your design, and how these factors will affect each other when they are assembled. There are many aspects of rigid-flex design that can be difficult to understand but having an IPC Certification helps you learn the fundamentals and industry standards, as well as give you the tools to succeed. Find a provider that offers on-site IPC Training so you and your team can get hands-on experience with rigid-flex design and manufacturing techniques.
Keep bend lines clear
The first step in designing a rigid-flex board is determining how much flexibility you want your finished product to have. Two main factors determine how much flexibility you should consider for your design: strength and bend resistance. The rigid part must be able to withstand the stresses placed on it. It is best to leave at least ½ mm clearance between any components and adjacent vias to avoid material stress from frequent bending.
Decrease the stress points
To avoid damage to the board and components, it is important to decrease stress points. You can do this by leaving space between components and routing traces in a way that they do not cross over each other multiple times. Distribute stress evenly through the design by keeping bend lines clear and avoiding sharp bends.
Communicate with the fabricator
Working with an experienced fabricator is the best way to ensure your design is properly implemented. When designing the rigid part of the board, it is important to communicate with the fabricator to ensure proper design. The fabricator will need to know if any special requirements must be met. For instance, they can offer helpful feedback regarding bend requirements, stiffness, material, and more.
No matter what kind of rigid-flex product you have in mind, designing it with the right manufacturing techniques and material properties is the key to ensuring the product can have its desired design attributes maintained throughout the finished product’s life cycle.
These are just some of the best practices that can help ensure both design and manufacturing intent is achieved. If you want your workforce to be able to meet the demand of designing rigid-flex boards, make sure to find an on-site IPC Training provider that can teach your team about the best practices for designing rigid-flex boards.