Flex and rigid-flex PCBs, mentor comments, are now found in all types of electronics products, from small consumer devices to aerospace, defence and automotive electronics. The Xpedition rigid-flex technology enables a streamlined design process from initial stack-up creation through manufacturing.
Engineers can design complex rigid and flex PCBs in a fully supported 3D environment (3D design and verification—not just a 3D view), resulting in a correct-by-construction methodology for optimum reliability and product quality. 3D verification ensures that bends are in the right position, and elements on the board do not interfere with folding; this can be reviewed early in the design stage to prevent costly redesigns. Users can then export a 3D solid model to MCAD for efficient bi-directional PCB-enclosure co-design.
Integration with Mentor’s HyperLynx high-speed analysis technology enables optimization of signal and power integrity across complex rigid-flex stack-up structures. For fabrication preparation, the Xpedition flow provides all flex and rigid information using the ODB++ common data format. This methodology eliminates data ambiguities by clearly communicating the finished board intent to the fabricator.
“Mentor’s Xpedition flow provides multiple board outlines, stack-ups, and bend areas which allow us to define a rigid flex within the design environment, and export a folded 3D step model for efficient mechanical design integration,” stated Charles Ietswaard, PCB design engineer at NIKHEF, the national institute for sub-atomic physics in The Netherlands. “The automated rigid-flex capabilities in Xpedition help us manage the growing complexities of today’s advanced PCB systems.”
For efficient rigid-flex development, key features and capabilities include:
- Definition of the rigid-flex stack-up with unique outlines for each region, enabling simpler design changes than stack-up by zone. Standard flex materials (e.g. laminates, ‘embedded’ or ‘bikini’ cover layers, stiffeners, adhesives, etc.) can be included in the stack-up.
- Full support of flex bends to manage where and how the PCB bends, including parts placement on flex layers, flex routing, plane shape fills, tear drops