The industrial and product designers I'm working with keep on coming back to the idea of using the PCB as an integral part of the physical structure of our products.
We have wall-mounted products and I am quite uncomfortable with this. My argument against is that: "It is not a good design principal, the PCB should generally only be supporting its own weight and not unnecessary things like the frame"
They argue that the parts being supported are relatively light. This even includes supporting a thin frame of stainless steel using double-sided tape directly to an empty (no tracks or components) part of the PCB, or to plastic PCB clips that are taped to the frame. Today they challenged my argument by saying "what design principal? show us where it says this"
These types of solutions can come up often from industrial designers because it solves a lot of cost problems for them, and also pushes some of the structural responsibility down to the PCB design.
In my opinion, products designed to "hang" off PCBs are typically proven and tested for mounting by the product designer. For example, a large GPU heat-sink is heavier than anything we plan on placing. However, If we are "hanging" our own parts of PCBs we are entering a whole world of design that I don't know enough about.
Perhaps someone can point me to some answers on these types of issues. It would be good to get some material on the forces that a PCB can take before solder starts cracking, etc. Or maybe someone has seen a production-product that uses the PCB as part of the structure? We are a small business, but our products are mass-production grade and we will need to pursue standards approvals such as CE.