Why It Is Important to Comply with Flex PCB Design Standards
Every day, deadlines get tighter, and products get more complex. And when tasks start piling up, it is easy to think that corners can be cut without consequences. We have seen it repeatedly — PCBs have design issues that could have been avoided had the PCB engineers followed the design standards.
Though plenty of people design and use PCBs, only a tiny percentage realize that there are standards that must be complied with during design. These standards exist for the sole reason of improving the longevity and functionality and even simplifying the work of those involved in the process of sourcing, manufacturing, and assembling these boards.
If you also take the design standards lightly, making sure your PCBs have been designed to comply with PCB design standards is probably on the bottom of your to-do list. The reality is, there are a host of reasons why compliant PCB design is not just desirable—it is necessary, especially when it comes to flex printed circuit boards.
The Importance of Complying with the Flex PCB Design Standards
For those of you who are new to the world of flex PCBs and bending, let us fill you in on why complying with these standards is so important.
Flex PCB design is an intricate process that should be handled carefully, especially in large-scale production. Since flexible PCBs are mainly produced manually, it is crucial that the manufacturing facilities follow these design standards to ensure quality and consistency. Following are some reasons why you need to be aware of the flex PCB design standards.
Flexible PCB design standards help reduce the costs of manufacturing and shipping your products. When your design complies with these standards, you can expect better quality control throughout the production process, which means fewer defects and improved efficiency in production lines. That translates into lower cost per unit for you and reduced lead times for high-volume orders from your customers.
Faster Turnaround Time
If you are looking for a quicker turnaround time from your manufacturer, then choosing a standard-compliant design will help reduce their workload since they will be able to meet all your requirements without having to make any changes to your design or manufacturing process.
This means that you would not have to wait around for them to figure out how exactly they will go about manufacturing your product which can be pretty frustrating when time is of the essence. This also makes it possible to use more automated manufacturing processes, resulting in higher productivity for orders from suppliers and customers alike.
Enhanced Quality Control
The most common manufacturing defect that occurs during making flexible PCBs is delamination between layers. This causes problems like shorts, open circuits, and faulty connections within your circuit board design, which can be very costly to repair or replace. By following the design guidelines and standards, you can ensure that your manufacturer will pick up any issues before they hit the production line so that they can be dealt with before it is too late.
Ease of Maintenance
In addition to being easier to produce and cheaper to ship, compliant flex PCB designs are also easier to maintain. This means that when you have an issue with a product, it will not take long before you can get it back up and running again. You will be able to get the product back on the market much faster than if it was not compliant with these standards.
Reduced Waste During Production
Compliance with flex PCB design standards also minimizes waste during production by allowing manufacturers to reuse and recycle flex PCB components that would otherwise be discarded due to damage or improper fitment during assembly processes. This helps reduce costs on your end while also benefiting the environment by reducing the amount of waste produced yearly by electronic manufacturers worldwide.
Minimum Bend Radius
You may have heard about minimum bend radius before when discussing rigid flex printed circuit boards, but it is more relevant to flex circuits. This size limitation imposed by manufacturers during fabrication limits how much a flexible circuit board can be bent without damaging its components or losing electrical connectivity. Compliance with this standard helps reduce the risk of damage during shipping which can result in costly scrap rates if damaged products get shipped out instead of being repaired at their destination.
Improved EMI Performance
Flexible PCBs are subjected to electromagnetic interference (EMI) during their lifetime in various environments, such as during transportation or while being handled by factory workers or consumers. Compliance with the design standards ensures that your product meets international electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements and therefore improves its overall performance by preventing it from causing damage to other devices or equipment nearby when exposed to EMI sources such as computers, routers, and power cables. In addition, it also helps prevent premature failures caused by EMI interference, such as burnt-out components due to overheating from prolonged exposure.
Better Thermal Performance
The standard thickness for flexible PCBs is 0.6mm, which allows for better thermal dissipation than other materials such as FR4 and CEM3 substrates commonly used for rigid PCBs. This means that your product will run cooler and consume less power when running at full load compared to rigid counterparts with similar specifications and components packed into them. This also translates into longer battery life for portable devices like smartphones or tablets that use your product as the main component within their design framework.
The standardization of flex circuits also helps improve reliability in various aspects of their use, such as resistance to impact damage, pressure sensitivity, temperature sensitivity, etc. This is particularly important today when we use flexible circuit boards as part of more complex systems like medical devices or even aircraft, where failure could mean a loss of life or severe damage to equipment.
Factory owners, OEM design engineers, component buyers, and PCB assemblers will undoubtedly have their own opinions on whether flex PCB standards are worth following--and those opinions may influence their decisions to buy certain products or services. The main reason for having flex PCB design standards is to ensure that a design works as expected when produced in volume at a low price, and this is beneficial to everyone involved.
Adhering to flex PCB design standards ensures consistent mechanical and manufacturing performance across multiple designers and manufacturers of products for the mass market, lowering overall costs and providing predictable working environments for all involved. In addition, complying with these standards will also help you avoid problems with your supply chain partners or even worse, potential legal issues that could jeopardize your business.
Check Out Hemeixin
For more information on flex PCB designing, check out us for a complete guide to designing flex PCBs. Hemeixin is an industry leader in PCB manufacturing and has the highest quality flex PCBs available on the market that comply with design standards. We offer a wide variety of PCBs for a large number of applications and industries.