Flexible or flex circuits were initially designed to replace traditional wire harnesses but are now rapidly growing with their use in diverse fields. While you may not have noticed, flex circuits are used in many common appliances like televisions, phones, clocks, and refrigerators. So, today the use of flexible circuits in industries is truly unmatched.
Rigid-flex circuits are standard in industries, but you should get familiar with flexible printed circuit boards because more and more manufacturers are now offering this type.
What is a Flexible Circuit?
Flexible circuits are a type of printed circuit board that is naturally designed to be flexible. The substrates, polyamide (Kapton) and copper are innately flexible, thereby giving this circuit board its flexibility. Flexible circuits can be bent or folded as needed, are lightweight and small in size, offer ideal heat dissipation, and are easily installed. That makes it a remarkable breakthrough in traditional circuit technology.
Flex circuits will usually bend without being snapped, but the copper may crack if there is a crease with the bend. These circuits work as connectors and complete circuits with all components assembled.
How is a Flex Circuit Made?
Flexible circuits are made using photolithographic technology with a conductor, an adhesive, and an insulating film.
A flex circuit consists of metallic trace layers; a copper layer is combined with polyimide to bond with a dielectric layer. The thickness of these multiple layers can vary, ranging from 0.005″ to around 0.10″. Usually, the substrate and metal are bonded with an adhesive, but they can also be connected with the vapor deposition method.
The exposed surface of the circuit is covered using a protective layer because copper oxidizes very quickly. The most common materials for the protective layer are solder and gold because of their environmental durability and conductivity.
Top 5 Flexible Circuit Manufacturers in the World
While you may be eagerly waiting for your flexible circuit board to be designed, hold on a little. You need the right set of hands if you want your work to be done reliably. But don’t worry. You won’t have to dig too deep because we have hand-picked a list of the world’s top 5 flexible circuit manufacturers. After reviewing each with their equipment, services, working conditions, etc., we carefully prepared our list. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
- RayMing PCB & Assembly
With a 15-year of experience in PCB manufacturing, RayMing offers it’s reliable PCB assembling services throughout China. The company offers partial turnkey and turnkey printed circuit board services. With a large support team, responsive services, the highest quality standards, and timely delivery, RayMing PCB & Assembly is one of the top PCB manufacturing companies in the world. The company provides the latest, high-quality flexible, rigid circuit boards to meet customer demands. The company monitors quality constantly till the final assembly to ensure your get only the best products. Whether you need simple or more complex PCB boards, Rayming PCB & Assembly will cater to all your needs!
- Flex PCB
Reliably serving the USA with PCB supplies since 1980, Flex PCB is amongst the most famous names in the world. The company offers unparalleled services, rigid-flex and flex PCB circuits throughout the USA and offshore. Flex PCB offers PCB services, including flexible printed circuits, rigid circuit boards, high-density interconnect PCBs, and multilayer flex circuits. Customers can consult the engineering team to design their flex circuit to meet their custom needs.
- Flexible Circuits, Inc
Flexible Circuits Inc is a pioneering name in the field of flex circuit manufacturing companies in and across PA. The company owns a dedicated team of experts that assembles even the most complex flexible circuits in the world. Serving the world for over 55 years, Flexible Circuits Inc. uses only state-of-the-art equipment to build reliable circuits you can always depend on. The company has served a limited customer base over the years, including military and aerospace industries, without compromising quality.
- All Flex Solutions
While every company ensures to meet the needs of their valued customers, All Flex Solutions goes overboard. The company is a leading name in the list of flexible circuit providers, covering various products, including rigid-flex circuits, flexible heaters, flexible circuit solutions, and many more. All Flex Solutions’ expert team is always there to guide customers through their comprehensive support system.
PCBWay has taken pride in serving its valuable customers with reliable, flexible circuit solutions over time. Over the past few years, the company has provided its customers with satisfactory flexible circuit boards designed to meet their needs. PCBWay designs flexible circuit boards with as many as eight layers. With their real-time assistance and services, PCBWay meets their customer’s needs. Besides multilayer flexible circuit boards, the company also provides single-sided flex circuits in bulk.
OurPCB aims to provide its customers with flexible circuit solutions to meet every need and fit all sorts of applications. The company offers complete circuit board solutions, including flex circuit designs. The diversity and versatility of the company’s products are truly commendable. As a part of their flexible circuit board designs, they offer various services like lamination, etching, choosing the proper substrates, different circuit board selections, complete manufacturing process, etc. OurPBC is popularly known for its quick deliveries and turnaround.
Flexible printed circuit boards will surely bring a revolution in the electronics industry in just a few years. With their strong adhesion and bonding between the components, the overall product performance is boosted incredibly. As a more durable solution, they are ideal for various purposes and can easily be used in smartphones, notebooks, etc. The article above covered everything about flexible circuit boards, and we hope it helped!
- What is a Flex in a Circuit?
Flexible printed circuits are printed circuit boards that are bendable. Because of their bendability, they are pretty versatile. Also known as flex circuits, they differ from PCBs based on their functionality, design, and fabrication.
- Why Are Flex Circuits Expensive?
A flex-printed circuit board has several metal layers, adding to the overall cost of the circuit board. The price also increases as you increase the number of layers of your flex circuit board. The circuit lamination process becomes complex as more layers are added and require more materials. Hence the prices go up.
- Where are Flexible Circuits Used?
Flexible circuitry has evolved over the years and is widely used in different fields today. Flex circuits are often used in everyday electronic devices like cell phones, calculators, cameras, LCD televisions, printers, etc. In the medical field, they are used in pacemakers, heart monitors, hearing aids, etc. Today, flex circuits are used in machines and barcode equipment in the manufacturing industry.