gets better fit and impedance control for complex flexible PCBs in metrology instruments using CR-8000

Flexible and flexi-rigid PCBs are integral components within many of Renishaw’s products, and detailed signal integrity analysis is needed to ensure high speed digital signals can be transmitted with minimal distortion. Renishaw migrated to Design Gateway and Design Force, part of Zuken’s CR-8000 PCB design suite, primarily to help with the design and analysis of next-generation flexible PCBs.

Working in 3D for the first time, Renishaw’s PCB designers noticed a host of benefits, including fixing housing fit issues upfront and easier component placement. They also boosted their controlled impedance routing for high frequency signals using electromagnetic field solvers in Design Force. Working in 3D has enhanced collaborative engineering within Renishaw.


Design Force offers easier controlled impedance routing for high frequency signals using electromagnetic field solvers.

Controlled impedance routing is a prerequisite for good digital circuit signal integrity, and signals – particularly high frequency ones – require constant characteristic impedance from driver to receiver. Renishaw uses Zuken’s CR-8000 suite for controlling impedance. Constraint Manager is used to specify the limits of characteristic impedance and Lightning is used to create impedance templates. This allows them to select a group of nets, using a net class, and then use the field solver to automatically calculate the impedance specified – adjusting the track widths to match.

A major benefit of the migration to CR-8000 is that Renishaw’s PCB designers have the ability to visualize and manipulate board designs in 3D.

Pete Leonard, Electronic Design Manager for Group Engineering, Renishaw, comments: “We can place components in a 3D environment, taking into account any constraints that may have come over from our mechanical engineers and then switch back to 2D for routing.

What if’ scenarios can be viewed by bending the flexible PCB.

During the design of the flexible PCB, Renishaw’s PCB designers created a user-defined layer called ‘BendLine’ (a case- sensitive reserved name). On this BendLine layer, polylines were drawn to represent the axes around which the flexible PCB needs to bend. Properties such as bend direction, angle and radius were then applied to each of the polylines. Renishaw’s PCB designers were then able to move components around in this 3D PCB design environment. They were also able to import (via .stp file) the housing around which the flexible PCB must bend.

Renishaw discuss their relationship with Zuken

Play 2:59
Play 3:31
Play 3:19

Our use of Design Gateway and Design Force within Zuken’s CR-8000 platform has enhanced the way our PCB designers and mechanical design engineers work together when developing complex flexible and flexi-rigid PCBs.

Pete LeonardElectronic Design Manager for Group Engineering, Renishaw

How Zuken have helped Renishaw

Download the full case study
Visit the Renishaw website

Discuss your design issues with our experts

We can help you craft the best solution for your company’s specific requirements
Get in touch

Related products

Discover more about the products that helped Renishaw

  • Products
October 24, 2018

E3.series is a Windows-based, scalable, easy-to-learn system for the design of wiring and control systems, hydraulics and pneumatics. The out-of-the-box solution includes schematic (for circuit and fluid diagrams), cable (for advanced electrical and fluid design), panel (for cabinet and panel layout), and formboard (for 1:1 wiring harness manufacturing drawings). Integrated with MCAD, E3.series is a complete design engineering solution from concept through physical realization and manufacturing output.

Read now
  • Products
October 01, 2018
Design Force

Design Force combines traditional 2D design with native 3D design and the latest human interface techniques, accelerated graphics and almost instantaneous rendering and refreshing. It is the fastest, most effective PCB design solution available today. Design Force enables design teams to layout their designs in the context of a complete system or product.

Read now
3D Multi-board PCB Design
  • Products
October 01, 2018
Design Gateway

PCB Design Creation - Design Gateway is a platform for logical circuit design and verification of single and multi-board system-level electronic designs. It supports a true system-level circuit design in which individual circuits can be represented and connected as blocks.

Read now
System Level Circuit Engineering
  • Products
September 26, 2018

Building a competitive product today is much more difficult than a few years ago. Existing PCB-centric design processes are limited to a single PCB and do not provide the necessary tools for today’s competitive product development environment. PCB-centric design processes are falling behind.

Read now