Targeting industrial, energy, and transportation markets in the Internet of Things (IoT), Intel intelligent gateway solutions connect legacy and new systems and enable seamless and secure data flow between edge devices and the cloud. In this video from Embedded World 2014, Craig Owen, a solution architect at Intel, demonstrates a model train system equipped with two Intel Galileo boards based on the Intel Quark SoC X1000 application processor that act as sensors for temperature, light, distance, and weight, and connect to the cloud.

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Intel Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) | Intel Source

Internet of Things PCB considerations for Startups

Because IoT devices are so fresh new, you would believe that getting an IoT printed circuit board (PCB) project off the ground starts by reinventing the wheel and facing a lots of technical headache. This is not true.

Nevertheless it doesn’t imply IoT startups have a clear path to stardom. Facing them is many design and manufacturing issues which are completely unique to these small products. These factors are required to be thought of for the fresh new IoT product to achieve success.

On the plus side, it’s something to consider for IoT startups to recognise that the basic foundation for a successful cool product does exist. This means that experience and knowledge involving the design, fabrication and assembly of these state-of-the-art products are readily available. And the most sage advice is for heady IoT product businessmen and leaders to heed the advice that expert electronics manufacturing services or EMS suppliers have to offer. These corporations as well as their engineering team members already have completed the job with revolutionary IoT firms in Silicon Valley moving into the very first of this appearing market.

The PCB of an IoT device is a special beast than the traditional one, which is significantly larger and flat. IoT units, in contrast, consist mostly of either rigid-flex or flex circuit assemblies, which include their own categories of design layout, fabrication and assembly factors and detailed aspects.

PCB PWB Design Layout Fab Assembly


A foremost factor is to hunt for skilled designers who’ve achieved a number of rigid-flex PCB designs. PCB space for an IoT device is scarce. So you want the designer to have direct layout knowledge to effectively design vital elements on that modest space.

At the same time, nearly all IoT gadgets aren’t fixed; they bring sizeable movement and folding. Right here, the skilled designer plays a vital role in figuring out bend ratios and lifecycle iterations as a critical part of a design. Other vital design layout factors comprise of signal trace thickness, number of rigid and flex circuit layers, copper weight and stiffener placement. Stiffeners are utilized on flex circuits to make certain that elements attached to the flex circuit continue to be closely constantly in place to prevent itself from movement.

An additional aspect to consider is through-hole part placement in rigid-flex circuits. Why’s that important? Nearly all of IoT units are founded on surface mount device placement. Nevertheless , there can be through-hole elements, which are in most cases attached to either the rigid part or the flex area of the board. Through-hole elements are generally useful to connect input/output or I/O signals to the outer world. Doing this, those signals can show up utilising an LCD or LED monitor. Through-hole part placement is a significant concern in an IoT unit because when used on the flex portion of the board, right stiffeners ought to be designed and implemented for appropriate assembly.

At last in the layout category, the high temperature that elements bring in is required to be factored in. IoT gadgets are starting to be difficult with rigid-flex and flex circuits featuring upwards of 12 to 14 layers. Several gadgets are digital. Nevertheless , progressively more analog products are being used in IoT products. Analog circuitry brings about way more heat than digital ones. This means that heat expansion and contraction rate ought to be taken into consideration. In tech lingo, it is often called the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE and the appropriate control over it.

PCB PWB Design Layout Fab Assembly


Selecting the best fabricator is a must and is linked to the EMS enterprise you have chosen. The fabricator you’d like should have IoT PCB fabrication practical experience. Among vital factors here are ensuring good adhesions between layers on both rigid and flex circuit sides, understanding all the crucial calculations and possessing a solid knowledge of when current moves from the rigid side to the flex side.

These fabricators also needs to get an in-depth know-how about tremendously miniature parts like 0201 and also 00105 device packages, package-on-package, and the utilization of fine-pitch ball-grid array or BGA packaged devices.

Additionally, they ought to have knowledge of designing boards with truly tight tolerances in terms of footprint for those sorts of BGA devices, in terms of up-to-date capabilities like laser direct imaging for putting the solder mask on the board. They need to have laser drills for via drilling with sizes of 5 mils or under because these IoT products could be so modest that a common drill size of 5 to 8 mils might not be enough. They might need to go to a 3 mil, which indicates that you should have an leading-edge laser drilling capability on-site.

In cases where you’re placing via-in-pad, it is a great way to use the small real estate that’s available on the rigid-flex board, but it poses trouble for assembly. If vias aren’t fully planar or flat in shape, it may be difficult all through the assembly of those tiny BGA packaged devices. That’s because non-planar surfaces may jeopardize the integrity of solder joints.

Occasionally via in pads leave bumps in cases where they’re not scoured appropriately after positioning the vias and gold finish on the top. In case there are bumps, then the solder joints in the assembly for those tiny BGA balls in those IoT devices may not be an excellent joint. This might create intermittent connections, which might be a greater issue to cope with and remedy. It all boils down to which EMS enterprise you are using because they’re the ones who will discover the fabrication plant to make a profitable IoT item for you.

PCB PWB Design Layout Fab Assembly

PCB Assembly

It’s critical to take a look at skilled EMS companies that have properly assembled IoT and wearable PCBs as they have specialized tooling and fixtures already existing, which are essential for assembly to ensure that components are placed correctly, exactly and the printing is carried out properly.

Printing can be quite a difficult task for IoT products. If it’s a rigid-flex board, then there is a difference between thicknesses of the rigid and flex circuit portions, which implies a special fixture is required to maintain the complete rigid-flex board planar or absolutely flat to help effective printing to be realized.

Startups have to be prepared to find the ideal manufacturing partners and EMS enterprises. By doing this they can ensure they have got adequate experience upfront to get the multitude of design, fabrication and assembly details efficiently performed since they are key to a lucrative and on-time IoT product roll-out.

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