As part of a field test at the Bundesgymnasium Dornbirn grammar school in Austria, Bosch IoT Lab PhD candidate and research associate Paul Rigger further developed his prototype for a room climate monitoring system. Data from sensors that measure room climate transform works of art, which let students know when it’s time to get some fresh air. Check out how it works! For more information on the Bosch IoT Lab, visit

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Internet of Things PCB considerations for Startups

Considering IoT products are so recent, you would think that getting an IoT printed circuit board (PCB) project off the ground starts by reinventing the wheel and encountering a wide range of technical headaches. This is not the case.

However it doesn’t indicate IoT startups have a certain approach to fame. Facing them is a considerable number of design and manufacturing factors which are distinctive to these small products. These factors need to be taken into account for the fresh IoT product to achieve its purpose.

On the plus side, it’s very important for IoT startups to find out that the basic foundation for a successful cool product does exist. This indicates experience and knowledge involving the design, fabrication and assembly of these types of sophisticated products are existing. Also, the most sage advice is for prudent IoT product enterprisers and innovators to heed the advice that qualified electronics manufacturing services or EMS providers provide. These corporations as well as their engineering employees have previously accomplished this work with groundbreaking IoT companies in Silicon Valley joining the very first of this appearing industry.

The PCB of an IoT device is a different beast than the traditional one, which is noticeably larger and flat. IoT units, on the contrary, consist generally of either rigid-flex or flex circuit assemblies, which include their very own groups of design layout, fabrication and assembly factors and subtleties.

PCB PWB Design Layout Fab Assembly


A foremost thing to consider is to find expert designers who’ve completed a whole lot of rigid-flex PCB designs. PCB space for an IoT device is tight. So you’d like the designer to have directly layout working experience to efficiently design important parts on that limited room.

On top of that, virtually all IoT devices are not fixed; they receive extensive movement and rotating. Here, the expert designer plays a leading role in determining bend ratios and lifecycle iterations as a serious part of a design. Other important design layout factors contain signal trace thickness, number of rigid and flex circuit layers, copper weight and stiffener placement. Stiffeners are widely-used on flex circuits to reassure parts attached to the flex circuit remain tightly in position to prevent itself from movement.

Another account is through-hole element positioning in rigid-flex circuits. Why’s that important? A great deal of IoT appliances are based on surface mount device placement. Yet , there could be through-hole parts, which are usually put on either the rigid part or the flex part of the board. Through-hole parts are generally 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 element placement is a key concern in an IoT device simply because when utilized on the flex part of the board, right stiffeners should be designed and implemented for appropriate assembly.

And lastly in the layout category, the high temperature which parts generate should be factored in. IoT devices are starting to be more intricate with rigid-flex and flex circuits featuring approximately 12 – 14 layers. Some devices are digital. Yet , increasingly analog systems are being used in IoT systems. Analog circuitry creates way more heat than digital ones. This simply means heat expansion plus contraction rate must be considered. In tech lingo, that is known as the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE and the appropriate treatments for it.

PCB PWB Design Layout Fab Assembly


Finding the right fabricator is significant and is linked to the EMS business you have selected. The fabricator you expect should have IoT PCB fabrication experience. Amongst important factors here are making sure good adhesions between layers on both rigid and flex circuit sides, knowing all of the crucial calculations and having a good comprehension of when current transfers from the rigid side to the flex side.

Such fabricators also must possess an in-depth knowledge of very little components like 0201 as well as 00105 device packages, package-on-package, and the utilization of fine-pitch ball-grid array or BGA packaged devices.

They additionally must have knowledge of designing boards with fairly tight tolerances in terms of footprint for those kinds 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 units could be so compact that a normal drill size of 5 to 8 mils perhaps might not be sufficient. They could need to go to a 3 mil, which means you must have an leading-edge laser drilling capability on-site.

In cases where you’re placing via-in-pad, it’s really a good way to take advantage of the small space that is available on the rigid-flex board, but it poses problems for assembly. If vias aren’t entirely planar or flat in shape, it may be an issue throughout the assembly of those tiny BGA packaged devices. The reason being that non-planar surfaces may endanger the integrity of solder joints.

Occasionally via in pads leave bumps in case they’re not scrubbed correctly after adding the vias and gold finish at the top. In case there are bumps, then the solder joints in the assembly for those tiny BGA balls in those IoT devices would not be a perfect joint. It could create irregular connections, which can be a larger issue to address and solve. It all boils down to which EMS business you’re using because they’re the ones who will find the fabrication house to make a successful IoT item for you.

PCB PWB Design Layout Fab Assembly

PCB Assembly

It’s essential to pay a visit to expert EMS companies that have successfully assembled IoT and wearable PCBs since they have specialized tooling and fixtures readily available, which are needed for assembly to assure components are placed effectively, exactly and the printing is finished perfectly.

Printing might be a issue for IoT systems. If it’s a rigid-flex board, then you will find there’s a difference between thicknesses of the rigid and flex circuit portions, indicating a special fixture is needed to keep the complete rigid-flex board planar or absolutely flat to allow effective printing to be carried out.

Startups must be ready to opt for the proper manufacturing partners and EMS businesses. This way they can make certain they’ve sufficient experience upfront to get the multitude of design, fabrication and assembly details efficiently performed since they are crucial to a prosperous and timely IoT product launch.

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