Thinking about carrying out your next project on a flexible printed circuit board (flex PCB)? Flex circuits have many advantages, whether you want to use them in a new project or you want to improve on the one you already have. Packaging, capabilities, reliability, and cost savings are just a few of the most significant advantages of flex PCB discussed here.
We can name the flex circuits as circuits that can be flex or flexible. A pattern of conductive traces mounted and bonded onto the substrate in flexible circuits. This pattern is constructed within a thin insulating polymer. Since the Second World War, flex circuits have been in use, and their applications are still expanding at an exponential rate.
Benefits Of EPEC Flex And Rigid-Flex Boards
The technology behind flex and rigid-flex circuits offers significantly more capabilities than any other interconnect methods currently available. Reduced costs, enhanced reliability, enhanced shock and vibe performance, enhanced high-speed signal performance in harsh environments, and reduced packaging costs are one of the few benefits. Whether used separately or in combination, these items offer viable solutions to numerous design issues confronting the electronics industry.
All market segments use flex and rigid-flex circuits, which have proven successful in the most demanding applications, such as military aerospace and high-reliability medical devices.
Flex and rigid-flex technology enable circuits to be designed to fit the device rather than the device fitting the circuits for the majority of applications. This also enables the addition of more features or capabilities in many designs that wouldn’t have been possible if there had been less space.
The main advantages and capabilities of using flex and rigid-flex circuit technology are listed below. Check out our blog post to study the benefits of using flex circuits.
Lessened Package Prerequisites
- Can be devised to fit in places where other interconnect solutions cannot.
- Usually takes up 10% less space than comparable wired solutions.
- Has bent capabilities that are significantly tighter and more reliable than wired solutions.
- Has the same precision and density of circuits as rigid PCBs.
- Can be bent, folded, or creased, which allows positioning in the smallest spaces, and numerous applications further reduced in size.
- Allowing 3D packaging geometries and reducing packaging requirements even further.
- Converting different connectors, PCBs, and wiring harnesses into a single integrated unit.
- Reduces board size and frees up additional board space by eliminating the need for multiple connectors.
- Rigid-flex circuits are characterized as integrated units without additional points of interlink between distinct rigid component areas.
- The number of points of interconnect required in a design that is significantly reduced when flex and rigid PCB are integrated (i.e., crimps, contacts, solder joints, connectors, etc.)
- The potential number of failure points in a design decreases when there are fewer interconnects.
- The flex circuit’s low mass and ductility reduce shock and vibration and enhance performance.
- The circuit is able to withstand powerful heat applications due to its exceptional thermal polyamide stability.
- Widely used in military and medical applications that require high reliability.
- Weighs about 10% more than comparable wired solutions on average.
- Reduces the design’s overall weight.
- Reduced weight improves shock and vibe and drops test performance.
High-Speed Signal Performance
- DK values of flex materials are low: 3.2 to 3.4.
- There are no variations in DK as a result of glass weave, unlike in rigid materials.
- Impedance values are consistent throughout the design due to consistent and tight tolerance material thicknesses.
- Allows high-density circuit routing with narrow line widths and spacing.
- Due to reduced packing requirements, the size of the finished assembly can be reduced.
- Total cost of required material is reduced by a smaller finished assembly.
- Through design integration, the number of components (connectors) in the assembled finished product has decreased.
- If connectors are eliminated, the board size is reduced eventually.
- Modified assembly process.
- Reduce the need for assembly labor.
- Assembly errors reduced. Flex circuits can be installed in one way only.
- Reduces test time, rework, and reject and eliminates wire routing errors.
- Reduces the component assembly needs. One cycle assembly congregated for an integrated design.
Freedom of choosing Flexible Circuit Packaging
Flex circuit boards, as compared to rigid printed circuit boards, can be fabricated to fit in places where other solutions are impractical. By substituting a flex circuit with a wired assembly, you can save even more space. When compared to wired solutions, flex PCB designs typically only require about 10% of the weight and space. Additionally, flex provides increased capabilities for tighter bends. There may even be opportunities to substitute numerous circuit boards, connectors, and other components. Furthermore, its capacity to use space more effectively by using a single rigid-flex unit.
Reliability Of Flexible Circuit Boards
PCBs made of flex, and rigid-flex has been covered when it comes to reliability. There will be fewer solder joints, connectors, and contact crimps because flex can reduce the total number of required interconnects. Since there will be fewer potential points of failure with fewer interconnects, reliability will rise. Further, vibration and shock performance is enhanced by the circuit’s reduced weight and adaptability.
Capabilities of EPEC Flex Circuits
High-speed controlled impedance designs work well with flex material properties. When it comes to the assembly of components and connectors, flex circuits take any component or connector attached to a rigid PCB. ZIF connectors, direct solder, and crimped contacts are the additional options.
Furthermore, flexible circuits can work well in extreme environments. Flex performs better in heat dissipation as compared to rigid PCBs, whereas extreme temperature applications can reach up to 200° Celsius. Moreover, flexible circuit boards are extremely resistant to UV, chemical, and radiation exposure.
Flexible circuit boards are worth the investment for the savings and performance benefits alone. By using flexible PCBs, the finished assembly packaging and material requirements are reduced, resulting in lower shipping costs. Due to simplified installation and fewer components, assembly costs can be reduced by replacing multiple components. Flex PCBs increased reliability results in longer-lasting products and saves you from spending more on reorders.
Now you’re ready to start noticing improvements in packaging, reliability, capabilities, and cost savings with your products; now you have the knowledge about some significant PCB benefits. EPEC is here to bring life to your design!