Want to know more about IoE and IoT? Cisco Joseph Malik Bradley, GM Internet of Everything (IoE) Practice , Cisco Consulting Services, provides here at SAPPHIRE 2014 very clear and crisp definitions of IoE (people, process, data and things) and Internet of Things. He explains also how much value CEOs can get out of each of these solutions, and how his IoE practice supports the customers interested in deploying these solutions. Source
Internet of Things PCB things to consider for Startups
Because IoT products are so latest, you would believe that getting an IoT printed circuit board (PCB) project off the ground starts by reinventing the wheel and struggling with a great number of technical headache. That is definitely not the case.
Nevertheless it doesn’t mean IoT startups have a straightforward way to stardom. Facing them is numerous design and manufacturing things to consider which are distinctive to these small products. These factors need to be looked at for the new IoT device to achieve success.
On the plus side, it’s very important for IoT startups to find out that the basic foundation for a successful new product exists. This means that experience and knowledge concerning the design, fabrication and assembly of these types of advanced products are out there. And the most sage advice is for sensible IoT product business people and leaders to take the recommendation that experienced electronics manufacturing services or EMS companies have to give. These companies and also their engineering employees have carried out this work with revolutionary IoT businesses in Silicon Valley coming into the early stages of this growing field.
The PCB of an IoT device is a distinct beast than the traditional one, which is considerably larger and flat. IoT devices, on the other hand, are made up largely of either rigid-flex or flex circuit assemblies, which include their very own sets of design layout, fabrication and assembly factors and nuances.
A key thing to consider is to try to get knowledgeable designers who have undertaken lots of rigid-flex PCB designs. PCB space for an IoT device is tight. So you’d like the designer to have direct layout knowledge to proficiently design vital elements on that small room.
Moreover, almost all IoT units are not stationary; they bear substantial movement and turning. Here, the knowledgeable designer plays a key role in calculating bend ratios and lifecycle iterations as a serious part of a design. Some other vital design layout factors contain signal trace thickness, number of rigid and flex circuit layers, copper weight and stiffener placement. Stiffeners are employed on flex circuits in order to guarantee elements installed on the flex circuit continue being properly constantly in place to prevent movement.
A different thing to consider is through-hole component positioning in rigid-flex circuits. How come is that pretty important? Most of the IoT products are based on surface mount device placement. However , there may be through-hole elements, which are typically designed into either the rigid part or the flex portion of the board. Through-hole elements are often designed to connect input/output or I/O signals to the outer world. That way, those signals can be displayed utilizing an LCD or LED monitor. Through-hole component placement is a pretty important account in an IoT product given that when used on the flex part of the board, appropriate stiffeners have to be designed and employed for excellent assembly.
At last in the layout category, the high temperature that elements bring in must be thought about. IoT units are progressively more intricate with rigid-flex and flex circuits featuring above 12 – 14 layers. A few units are digital. However , progressively more analog products are being employed in IoT products. Analog circuitry cranks out significantly more heat than digital ones. So this means heat expansion as well as contraction rate has to be thought about. In tech lingo, that is known as the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE and the correct handling of it.
Deciding on the right fabricator is essential and is linked to the EMS corporation you have determined. The fabricator you desire has to have IoT PCB fabrication experience. Amongst vital factors here are making sure solid adhesions between layers on both rigid and flex circuit sides, bearing in mind all of the essential calculations and possessing a robust know-how about when current moves from the rigid side to the flex side.
Such fabricators also needs to have an in-depth expertise in tremendously small components including 0201 and 00105 device packages, package-on-package, and the utilization of fine-pitch ball-grid array or BGA packaged devices.
In addition, they need to have expertise in designing boards with pretty 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 should have laser drills for via drilling with sizes of 5 mils or under since these IoT units could be so small that a regular drill size of 5 to 8 mils will possibly not be all you need. They may require to go to a 3 mil, meaning you must have an cutting-edge laser drilling capability indoors.
If you are placing via-in-pad, it’s really a great way to utilize the small real estate that’s available on the rigid-flex board, nevertheless , it produces problems for assembly. If vias are not completely planar or flat in shape, it will become hard throughout the assembly of those tiny BGA packaged devices. This is because non-planar surfaces can put in danger the integrity of solder joints.
At times via in pads leave bumps in cases where they’re not scoured correctly after positioning the vias and gold finish on top. When there are bumps, then the solder joints in the assembly for those tiny BGA balls in those IoT devices may not be an appropriate joint. This may create occasional connections, which might be a bigger issue to address and correct. It all boils down to which EMS corporation you are using because they’re the ones who will discover the fabrication house to make a thriving IoT device for you.
It’s critical to pay a visit to knowledgeable EMS companies that have successfully assembled IoT and wearable PCBs as they have special tooling and fixtures already available, which are essential for assembly to make certain that components are placed effectively, exactly and the printing is performed in the correct way.
Printing may be a headache for IoT products. If it’s a rigid-flex board, then you will find there’s a change between thicknesses of the rigid and flex circuit portions, indicating a special fixture is necessary to keep the complete rigid-flex board planar or fully flat to allow for effective printing to be realized.
Startups must be well prepared to opt for the suitable manufacturing partners and EMS firms. In this way they can be certain they’ve adequate experience ahead of time to get the multitude of design, fabrication and assembly details successfully performed since they are key to a profitable and timely IoT product release.