DK-Daleba’s Business Development Manager, Tony Hawkins, explains how the many benefits of rigid, flexible and flexible PCBs lead to global growth.
Engineers are turning to flex and flex-rigid to help solve design problems that would be presented with standard hard PCBs. Advantages include weight reduction, higher signal speed and increased reliability in high vibrations or heavy environments. These boards also offer a variety of connectivity options, which helps reduce packaging requirements. Placing boards in smaller spaces is often considered a major advantage.
IoT involves embedding electronics in everyday consumer products. This inevitably means overcoming extreme packaging problems, which often makes rigid flexible PCBs the only answer. Their use is increasing as the IoT market grows, projected to reach $ 1386 billion by 2026 from $ 761.4 billion in 2020, an average growth of 10.53 percent.
In addition to these market engines, the ability to save costs is becoming an important factor. Many engineers believe that the cost of rigid flexibility is more than the fixed cost, but a comprehensive approach to the whole project can often provide interesting results.
Recently, a customer of DK-Daleba had to reduce the price of two hard FR4 boards in one installation, at a time when increasing the cost of printed circuit boards made “cost reduction” impossible. The tiles are manufactured in one of the Asian factories of DK-Daleba, which are most suitable for the technology of the boards, while achieving the lowest possible prices. Without the possibility of reducing costs, engineers were encouraged to take a holistic approach and study the entire design of the box.
At the assembly stage, the two FR4 printed circuit boards were connected with connectors. This significantly increased the cost of kits and labor for installation. Past product failures have been attributed to the connectors, so a new installation without them was welcome.
DK-Daleba discussed rigid-flex with the customer, who previously thought it was just a matter of saving space. By redesigning the two FR4 boards, with dynamic connections via a flexible circuit, the total cost of building a box can be reduced. When designing a rigid flexible printed circuit board, different considerations should be taken into account compared to the design of a rigid printed circuit board. Advice was given and the client redesigned the boards as a rigid flexible installation. Although the price was higher than two single solids, the total cost of the product was significantly reduced without clutches and lower installation costs.
In addition to reducing costs, the product also benefits from: lower total weight; end use of packing space; increased reliability without connectors; and stronger construction for high vibration work environments.
The transition to a rigid flexible design has been a success for this customer and there will be countless similar experiences ahead with the growth of this technology. DK-Daleba engineers are available to ensure that customers’ transitions to rigid flexible PCBs are smooth.