Motorcycle sport is notorious for complex technology and the highest material requirements: rapid pace, extreme load changes in corners, high summer heat, mud, dust, dirt - all this has a significant influence on the machine and especially on its highly sensitive electronics. Together with GCD-PCB-Design in Erlangen, Würth Elektronik has developed a rigid-flex PCB, which meets these requirements.
“Small and reliable: The control electronics in high class motorcycles must master these two requirements“, explains Jürgen Kintopp, Managing Director of GCD-PCB-Design. “And they must also remain affordable.“ Together with his team, he was looking for an appropriate solution and found his solution at Würth Elektronik: rigid-flex printed circuit boards met the requirements.
In electronic systems, joints are particularly vulnerable to the effects of impacts or load changes. Soldered wire connections break easily, which leads to contact failure or even the entire loss of function. “This is where our rigid-flex printed circuit boards succeed“, explains Andre- as Schilpp, Product Manager at Würth Elektronik. “Instead of complex wiring that need lots of space and are prone to failure, a flexible sheet of polyimide is used as the connection between the rigid parts.” For GCD-PCB-Design, this flexibility was the right approach on two fronts. “We were able to simultaneously exploit the available space for our op- timal control element and ensure the reliability of the technology.“
An important element for success is the communication between end customer, developer and the PCB manufacturer. For detailed discus- sions, the interdisciplinary team met on site at Würth Elektronik. "The sooner the exchange begins, the more conducive it is for success. Es- pecially in complex systems, the dialogue can not begin soon enough", explains Andreas Schilpp.
Getting products ready for series production depends on a crucial early stage: the joint development of new products with the end customer and developer. A transfer from prototypes into series is not always guaranteed. That is why Jürgen Kintopp must also have an eye on costs during new developments: “In the development phase, we only require only a small number of these specific boards. Large numbers do not come into play.“ This is why Würth Elektronik is the perfect partner. “At first, it seems as if rigid-flex printed circuit boards are more ex- pensive than the classic version with cable or connectors. However the initial investment in the new technology pays for itself quickly, as sys- tem costs are reduced for small parts such as connectors and cables. Perhaps, more importantly, the improved testability, high reliability and functional safety further help to outweigh the start costs“, says Jürgen Kintopp.
In the end, it was worth it.