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Rigid-Flex, proving to be an assembly cost saver!

Every manufacturing company is always looking for ways to drive costs lower. On the occasions when prices are moving the wrong way, this can be very difficult. Those using PCBs in their products will be fully aware that 2021 has seen substantial increases.

Rigid Flex PCB Animation

Recently a valued customer was looking to reduce the price of two rigid FR4 boards in a single assembly at a time when PCB costs were increasing, making “cost-downs” impossible. The PCBs in question were already being manufactured at one of our Asia factories best suited to the boards technology and to achieve the lowest price points possible. With no opportunity to reduce the cost of the PCBs our engineers took a holistic approach to the project and examined the box build with the customer’s engineers.

At assembly stage, the two FR4 PCBs were joined by several connectors. These were adding considerably to the kitting costs of the BOM and played a significant part in the assembly labour costs too. It was interesting to learn that when there was a failure at assembly it was often attributed to a connector.

We discussed the options of a Rigid-Flex board with the engineers. They were aware of the technology but had only previously considered it for space-saving. We explained that redesigning the two FR4 boards with dynamic connections through a flexible circuit between the two would provide many advantages; with the most relevant for this project being lower overall box-build costs. The boards were redesigned by the customer and re-costed as one single Rigid-Flex assembly. Although the price was higher than two single FR4 boards the overall product cost reduced considerably with no connectors needed and a lower labour assembly cost.

Reducing the overall product cost was the driver for the redesign but the customer also received some additional welcome benefits; lower overall weight, ultimate use of packaging space, increased product reliability with no connectors and a sturdier product for the high vibration environment their product could be subject to.

Switching to a Rigid-Flex design was a success for this customer. Our team at DK-Daleba would be pleased to discuss how your PCB requirements could similarly benefit from this technology.

Date : 09-11-2021

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