What are the Processes Involved in Rigid Flex PCB Fabrication?

Have you ever wished to understand what rigid flex PCB is and the process of rigid flex PCB fabrication? You are in the right place.

In this article, we will be revealing to you what rigid flex PCB is, as well as the processes involved in its fabrication. If you want to become an expert in this area, please sit tight, as we expand and elaborate more on the topic.

Rigid Flex PCB: What Is It?

The rigid flex PCB are boards which are made of flexible and rigid circuit substrates. Most times, multiple flexible substrate layers make up the rigid flex boards.

Furthermore, these substrates, which are flexible, are attached to at least one rigid board. You can either do this attachment externally or internally. Also, the application you intend to use for your rigid flex circuit board plays a significant role in knowing the way the attachment occurs.

Normally, these flexible components are made to remain flexible constantly. This flexibility is very important in areas and corners requiring additional space. Also, the rigid substrates play a huge role in areas requiring additional support.

Having these capabilities, it is sure that you can curve the rigid flex boards during the processes involved in the installation and the manufacturing. In addition, this is achievable by applying 3D software. With this, you will achieve the shape desired for the application.


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Processes Involved in Rigid Flex PCB Fabrication

Since the rigid flex printed circuit boards combine the flex and rigid boards’ properties, it offers them a unique method of connection.

Due to this fact, they are well-known for their usefulness in different applications. This is because they always improve their performance.

However, as a result of their complexity, the rigid flex PCB fabrication doesn’t come simple. During this process, there is a high demand technologically. This talks about the expensive nature of these boards. Now, let us discuss the rigid flex PCB fabrication process.

Rigid Flex PCB Structure

Through the plated vias, you can perform rigid flex PCB fabrication when you bind the outermost rigid with the flexible PCB.

Furthermore, each rigid flex PCB piece has both flexible and rigid board parts. This indicates that you have to put several structures in place. You cannot achieve this if you don’t apply the necessary technologies for fabrication.

Rigid flex PCB Design Process

You have to give attention to the new processes in rigid flex PCB fabrication. These include the material cutting coverage and graphics generation.

You then succeed this with lamination, as well as cover film punching. You perform these processes on your flex circuit. Also, in the prepreg phase (low-flow), you clean the plasma and roughen it.

Next, you pre-mill and then perform laser cutting. Then you do the lamination to ensure the shielding of the film. You then stiffen the board lamination.

In addition, based on what you prefer for your design, and the board’s requirements, you create your rigid flex PCB. You execute this using well-known software for your rigid flex PCB.


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Rigid flex PCB Layout Design

The design of the copper clad laminate is done in a way that two options will be available for the widths. Achieving this is important in determining the required size range for both the rigid and the flex boards.

Therefore, for these printed circuit boards, the Layer up technology is usually used. The structures that the layer up technology develops are available in two main options.

The first option, there are flex circuit boards in four pieces, which are then joined so as to produce a larger board. This large board’s size is somehow equivalent to the rigid boards.

Also, the second option reveals flex circuit boards of six pieces that are joined so as to produce a larger board. This board’s size is somehow equivalent to that of your rigid board.

Plasma Roughening and Cleaning

You should subject flex boards with coverlay cover to some plasma cleaning before you go ahead with the lamination.

You are doing this so as to conform to the condition of first cleaning. Next, you add plasma roughening to the entire board before you laminate. You achieve this when you conform to the 2nd condition for cleaning.

Manufacturing of Riveting Jig

Riveting is necessary for both flexible and rigid boards. Doing both exercises manually is difficult. You can get answers from a riveting jig that allows you to handle the two printed circuit boards within a very short time.

Requirements for the Solder Mask Design and Technology

For rigid flex printed circuit boards, the thickness helps in determining the way coating occurs. Any thickness more than 0.5mm will be subject to spray coating. On the other hand, you coat the thinner boards making use of the silk screen technology.

Also, the window opening of the solder mask found on the flex board has to measure between 4 and 8 mil. Furthermore, take the measurement from the axle wire of the board to its rigid area.

When you apply the De-Cap technology, you are supposed to block the points of light. For De-Cap areas, make sure that you don’t implement a window opening for the mask. When the De-Cap design is absent, go ahead to design any silkscreen so as to help in light blockage.


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Design for Pattern Milling

During rigid flex PCB fabrication, you should laminate flexible materials with strong and rigid materials. You then eliminate the surface’s rigid materials making use of some special methods that expose the flex areas.

Furthermore, you implement the surface finish within the areas that expose the flex boards. You then mill out the finished part. The final product then transforms into your rigid flex PCB.


Rigid flex PCBs are complex boards. This is because of their ability to combine both rigid and flex substrates. These PCB applications are important, most especially to ensure users’ wellbeing.

We hope we have been able to explain the process of rigid flex PCB fabrication. If you have areas where you need clarification, please contact us.

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