Technology development has led to the creation of fresh and enhanced printed circuit board (PCB) designs. Artist 3D’s Altium Rigid-Flex combines both rigid and flexible boards to provide the best. This design is gradually gaining popularity due to its adaptability, dependability, and affordability. This article will discuss the materials and applications of Artist 3D’s Altium Rigid-Flex and the recent market trends in this technology.
What is Altium Rigid Flex Design?
Altium rigid-Flex Printed circuit boards (PCBs) combine the benefits of rigid and flexible boards. It is a set of tools to create a unified design that combines rigid PCB boards and flexible circuits into one system. It enables the designer to define the board stack-up, circuitry, and layer structure for a rigid-flex board. Altium Rigid Flex Design provides an intuitive and efficient workflow from schematic capture to layout and fabrication.
Materials for Altium Rigid-Flex Designs
The following are the materials you should choose for excellent Altium rigid-flex solutions:
- Substrate Films: Substrate films are rigid-flex systems’ structural support and electrical insulation base. Engineers must carefully select these films to fulfill the application’s performance and dependability criteria. Polyimide (PI), polyamide-imide (PAI), polyester (PET), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are frequent choices for rigid-flex substrate materials (PETG). These materials have superior dielectric and mechanical properties, making them appropriate for high-performance applications.
- Conductors are the electrical routes that connect components and allow signals to flow through the rigid-flex construction. Copper and silver are the most famous conductors utilized in rigid-flex systems. Copper is less expensive and the material of choice for most uses. Silver is more costly than copper, but its superior electrical characteristics make it excellent for high-speed and high-density systems.
- Coverlay Films: Coverlay films help insulate and safeguard the copper traces on rigid-flex designs. Polyimide (PI), polyamide-imide (PAI), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are widespread coverlay materials (PET). These materials’ exceptional dielectric characteristics and mechanical flexibility make them ideal for high-performance applications.
- Adhesives: Adhesives help adhere substrate films to component layers and other rigid-flex constructions. Epoxy, acrylic, and polyurethane are common alternatives for rigid-flex bonds. These materials offer superior stickiness and flexibility, enabling a secure connection between the layers.
Applications of Altium Rigid-Flex
Altium rigid-flex designs are suitable for the following applications:
1. Control Panels:
Control panels also use Altium rigid-flex circuits. Despite the panel’s frequent vibration and movement, these circuits offer a dependable link between the various parts and the main circuit board. As the circuits can bend and fit the space and provide a reliable connection between the components and the main circuit board, rigid-flex circuits can also be helpful in control panel sensors.
2. CCTV Surveillance Systems:
These systems also utilize Altium rigid-flex circuits. Despite the system’s constant vibration and movement, these circuits offer a dependable link between parts and the main circuit board. As the circuits may bend and change shape to fit the space and provide a reliable connection between the parts and the main circuit board, rigid-flex circuits can also be applicable in CCTV sensors.
3. Consumer Appliances:
Altium rigid-flex applies to consumer appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dishwashers, and microwaves. It is perfect for these applications thanks to its exceptional flexibility and toughness combination, which can survive daily use’s continual movement and vibration. For a secure connection between the numerous components and the main circuit board, such as touchscreens and sensors, Altium’s rigid-flex circuits can help to connect multiple components. Since the circuits can stretch, fold, and curve to fit any location, their flexibility also gives designers more creative freedom.
4. Automotive Industry:
The automotive industry also makes extensive use of rigid-flex circuits. As they offer a dependable connection between parts and the main circuit board despite the constant vibration and movement of the car, these circuits are helpful in engine control modules. In addition, as the circuits may bend to fit the area and offer a dependable connection between the components and the main circuit board, rigid-flex circuits can also be helpful in-vehicle sensors.
5. Control Tower Systems:
Control tower systems also use Altium rigid-flex circuits. Despite the tower’s constant vibration and movement, these circuits guarantee a solid connection between its parts and the main circuit board. Because rigid-flex circuits may twist and flex to fit the space and offer a reliable connection between the parts and the main circuit board, they can also help control tower sensors.
6. Aerospace sector:
The aerospace sector also makes extensive use of rigid-flex circuitry. These circuits are frequently helpful in onboard systems as they offer a dependable connection between parts and the main circuit board despite the aircraft’s constant vibration and movement. Aerospace sensors can also use rigid-flex circuits because they can bend and change their shape to fit the space and offer a dependable connection between the parts and the main circuit board.
7. Industrial Automation Systems:
Altium rigid-flex circuits are also helpful in industrial automation, which is number six. Despite the system’s constant vibration and movement, these circuits offer a dependable link between parts and the main circuit board. Industrial automation sensors can also use rigid-flex circuits because they can bend and adjust the shape to fit the space and offer a dependable connection between the parts and the main circuit board.
Trends in Altium Rigid-Flex
Over the years, the Altium rigid-flex design has seen the following changes:
1. Increased Design Complexity:
With the expansion of technology, the demand for more complex designs has increased, straining the limits of rigid-flex designs. Increasing components, larger densities, and a more comprehensive dynamic range drive the need for more complicated rigid-flex systems.
2. Adoption of Embedded Components
Directly embedding components onto the board is becoming a prominent trend in rigid-flex designs. This aspect provides increased performance and a smaller footprint while making component placement easier to handle.
3. Wider Use of Flexible Substrates
As the need for increasingly intricate patterns rises, many designers are turning to flexible substrates. Flexible substrates can help generate more complicated forms and designs, enhancing performance and the decreasing size.
4. Improved Assembly Methods
Altium offers new assembly methods that make it simpler to construct rigid-flex systems. These approaches include laser and ultrasonic welding and automated pick-and-place equipment, which help increase precision and save assembly time.
5. Cost Reduction
As technology advances, the price of rigid-flex designs falls. Altium is trying to minimize the cost of rigid-flex designs by utilizing enhanced design methodologies, more efficient production processes, and more cost-effective materials.
Automation is becoming increasingly significant in rigid-flex design. The automation process is helping Altium shorten design cycles, increase accuracy, and decrease time to market. This contributes to the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of rigid-flex architectures.
7. Increased Reliability:
As the technology progresses, the reliability of rigid-flex solutions increases. As a result, Altium has created a variety of technologies to enhance the reliability of rigid-flex designs.
Rigid-flex designs are becoming increasingly versatile as desiforers seek to use them for various applications. The capacity to mix rigid and flexible components in a single design and use a variety of materials and substrates are two of the primary drivers driving the greater adaptability of rigid-flex designs.
In conclusion, Artist 3D’s Altium Rigid-Flex is a powerful technology that offers superior design flexibility and reliability. It provides the flexibility of a flexible board and the rigidity of a rigid board, making it an ideal choice for those who need high-performance and reliable solutions. Additionally, with its wide range of materials, assembly methods, and automation, Altium Rigid-Flex can provide users with the perfect solution for their needs.