Rigid-flex PCB Design Handles Wearable Healthcare Gadget Difficulties

The vast majority of circuit boards in the present day are simply rigid plates for connecting circuitry. Nevertheless, that’s changing fast; the desire for flexible circuit cards (or flex circuits) is promptly boosting mainly as a result of the growing wearable device market. Possibly the most significant segment of that market is the medical care industry where wearable products will be helpful to accumulate all kinds of physiological info for prognosis and research, and also private health use. Presently wearables can be obtained to track heartbeat, blood pressure, glucose, ECG, muscle movement, and even more.


Those wearable devices bring numerous issues for PC board designers that rigid boards don’t. Here are a couple of the problems along with what designers can perform to help remedy them.

3-d Design

While each printed circuit board is certainly 3 dimensional, flexible circuits allow the entire assembly to be bent and folded to adapt to the package that the merchandise uses up. The flex circuitry is folded so the rigid PCBs fit into the item package, taking up minimal space.
There is a lot more to the design, hence the further challenges, than just connecting the rigid boards. Bends ought to be very well designed so boards align where they’re intended to mount, while not placing force on the connection points. Until recently, engineers actually used “paper doll” models to emulate the circuit card assembly. At this moment, design tools are offered that come with 3D modelling of the rigid-flex assy, which allows easier design and significantly greater exactness.

Smaller sized Items and Dense Circuits

Obviously, wearable goods are required to be small and very discreet. Before, a healthcare “wearable” perhaps a Holter pulse rate monitor included a fairly large exterior device with a neck strap or maybe belt mount. The innovative wearables are tiny and attach straight away to the patient with no or few external cables. They gather many different data and are able to even process a few analyses.

An inconspicuous device attaching straight away to the sufferer dictates flex circuitry and extremely compact layouts. Besides, the board shapes are typically round or maybe more uncommon shapes, requiring clever placement and routing. For this sort of tiny and densely-packed boards, a PCB board tool which is designed for rigid-flex designs can make handling unusual shapes less complicated.

Stackup Design is vital

The stackup – the map of the circuit card layers – is extremely important when using rigid-flex techniques. If at all possible, your PCB design software has the capacity to design your stackup including both the rigid and flex parts of the assembly. As mentioned previously, the layout of the folding area ought to be designed to reduce the pressures on the traces and pads.
One of the greatest difficulties with rigid-flex designs is qualifying multiple makers. After the design is complete, every aspect of the design need to be communicated to the board fabricator therefore it will be properly manufactured. Nevertheless, the best practice is to pick one or more companies at the start of the design and team up with them to guarantee your design fits their manufacturing demands as the design moves forward. Participating with fabricators is made simple by employing standards. In cases like this, IPC-2223 is the vehicle for making contact with your manufacturers.

The moment the design is done, the data package has to be assembled to hand-off to be produced. Although Gerber remains to be employed for standard PCBs in some corporations, when considering the complications of rigid-flex, it is highly recommended by both PCB program suppliers and also fabricators that a more intelligent data exchange format be employed. The 2 most popular intelligent formats are ODG++ (version 7 or later) and IPC-2581, because both versions evidently stipulate layer requirements.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *