Rigid-flex Circuit Card Design Handles Healthcare Wearable Concerns

The majority of electronic circuit boards in the present day are just rigid plates to connect circuitry. But, that’s changing rapidly; the demand for flexible electronic circuit boards (or flexible circuits) is speedily raising mainly caused by the booming wearable device market. Most likely the largest segment of that market is the healthcare industry where wearable products will be employed to get all varieties of physiological information for diagnosis and investigation, in addition to personal health use. Now wearables are offered to track heart rate, blood pressure level, glucose, ECG, muscle movement, and much more.


Those wearable devices present a number of complications for PCB designers that rigid boards do not. The following are some of the problems as well as what designers are able to do to alleviate them.

3D Design

While every single circuit card is actually 3 dimensional, flex circuits allow the entire assy to be bent and folded to adapt to the package that the product occupies. The flex circuitry is collapsed to ensure that the rigid circuit boards easily fit into the product package, living in space.
There is lots more to the design, thereforetherefore, the increased challenges, than just connecting the rigid boards. Bends need to be precisely designed so boards align where they are intended to mount, while not placing stress on the connection points. Up until recently, engineers actually used “paper doll” models to simulate the PC board assembly. At this time, design tools are available that provide 3D modelling of the rigid-flex assembly, encouraging faster design and far greater exactness.

Smaller sized Products and Dense Circuits

Obviously, wearable merchandise ought to be tiny and unobtrusive. In past times, a healthcare “wearable” such as a Holter pulse rate monitor included a pretty big exterior device with a neck strap or belt mount. The recent wearables are small and install directly to the sufferer without any or very few external wires. They gather a number of different info and are able to even process a handful of analyses.

An inconspicuous device attaching right to the sufferer determines flexible circuitry and really compact layouts. Plus, the board shapes are often times circular or even more unusual shapes, requesting wise placement and routing. For this sort of small and densely-packed boards, a PCB board tool that’s optimized for rigid-flex designs helps to make addressing odd shapes significantly easier.

Stackup Design is significant

The stackup – the map of the electronic circuit board layers – is important when you use rigid-flex techniques. Preferably, your PCB design software has the ability to design your stackup including both the rigid and flexible parts of the assy. As mentioned earlier, the layout of the flexing area ought to be made to help ease the pressures on the traces and pads.
One of the biggest obstacles with rigid-flex designs is qualifying multiple manufacturers. After the design is fully gone, every aspect of the design has to be communicated to the board fabricator therefore it will be effectively made. Even so, the best practice is to choose one or more makers at the beginning of the design and collaborate with them guaranteeing your design satisfies their fabrication demands as the design progresses. Working together with fabricators is made easier by using standards. In this instance, IPC-2223 is the vehicle for making contact with your manufacturers.

In the event the design is completed, the data package must be assembled to hand-off to be made. While Gerber continues to be employed for standard PCBs in certain firms, when considering the challenges of rigid-flex, it is strongly advised by both PCB software program providers as well as fabricators that a more intelligent data exchange format be utilized. The two most widely used intelligent formats are ODG++ (version 7 or later) as well as IPC-2581, each of which obviously specify layer requirements.


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