Flexible Printed Circuit Board: Importance and Effectiveness2020-07-30
Designing with Miracle Technology, Flexible Printed Circuit Board
High ductility, low mass, space-saving, and efficiency are among some of the benefits that a Flexible Printed Circuit Board offers. However, it is important for the designers to prepare for the designing and manufacturing challenges of the Flex-PCB.
Despite the versatility, Flexible Printed Circuit Boards are not very different from the Rigid Printed Boards especially during the design phase. Nonetheless, the designers should be well-prepared for the mechanical complexities that come with the manufacturing of Flex Circuit Boards.
For example, you need to be careful when it comes to flexing the PCB beyond its capabilities. Undue flexing would lead to tearing of the Printed Board, rendering it useless. So, make sure that you have the right mechanical model of the Printed Board and before you step up to the electrical design, perform the required testing to ensure that it is the proper fit.
The testing phase would involve any misalignment, ergonomics of installation, and servicing. Also, the designers need to focus on the different types of Flexible PCB available and their functioning.
Types of Flexible Printed Circuit Board
There are several types of Printed Circuit Boards available, the main ones include the high-density-interconnect Flex, Rigid-Flex, and the Flex.
Flexible Printed Board
Flexible PCB is basically the flexible version of the Rigid Printed Boards that are easily available in the market. In addition to the usual feature of Rigid PCB including high-density, repeatability, and reliability, the board also offers some unique capabilities. For instance, vibration resistance and flexibility.
One of the major reasons that consumers prefer Flexible PCB instead of the Rigid PCB is that a Flex PCB comes with the ability to take on 3-dimensional configurations. Among the most common Flexible PCB applications, we have the wire harnesses replacement.
Rigid-Flex Printed Board
One of the most successful PCBs is the perfect blend of flex and rigid Printed Boards. They offer the best of both worlds along with offering additional capabilities that both PCBs individually lack. For example, a Rigid-Flex Printed Board configuration is basically a series of the Rigid Printed Board that are joined via some integrated flex-circuit.
When the designer integrates the rigid areas onto the flexible parts, they are able to enhance the overall performance, functionality, and diversity of the Printed Board. While the flexible areas ensure flex to fit, vibration resistance, and dynamic flexing, the rigid areas contribute towards the mounting for components, connectors, and chassis.
Thus, allowing the designer to come up with a unique solution to meet the demanding applications.
HDI Flexible PCB
Manufacturers recommend HDI Flexible Printed Boards when the normal Flexible PCB is unable to meet the requirement of the demanding applications. HDI circuit boards offer better layout, design along with construction options. They integrate some of the fine features like the micro-vias.
Even though they have a smaller form, yet they offer increased functionalities in comparison to the other two types. These boards are also extremely dense, thus making them the best choice for high-end applications.
Despite using thinner material, these amazing boards tend to offer enhanced reliability as well as electrical performance. They provide access to the advanced IC package use.
Advantages of Flexible Printed Circuit Board
As a replacement for discrete wiring, ribbon cable or flex circuits provides repeatable, customized routing paths throughout Flexible circuit board’s assembly. It also helps in reducing service calls because of the improved dependability.
Flex boards using a dielectric layer – polyimide—to cover their conductors. The layer is responsible for the protection of the circuit and it yields better results in comparison to the solder mask. In order to cater to a wide range of harsh environments and ambient conditions, the manufacturers cover material and use another base.
Despite the fact that flexible PCBs are extremely thin, yet they have the ability to withstand extreme weather. They perform well in long-duty flexing cycles. To ensure that the PCB withstands millions, instead of thousands of flexing cycles, the manufacturers need to use material suitable for the design.
Another great advantage of the flexible Printed Circuit Board is high ductility and low mass. This allows the board to deal with vibration and high acceleration in an effective manner. After all, the impact and stress on the solder joint and the PCB itself are lower in comparison to the Rigid PCB’s components and solder joints when performing under the same conditions.
Flexible PCB Uses
Flexible PCB has the ability to fit in places where other PCBs have failed miserably. You can consider Flexible PCB as the hybrid of round wires and standard PCB while incorporating the individual benefits of both components.
With Flexible Printed Circuit Boards, it is possible to achieve the unlimited geometry packaging freedom, while having the density, precision, and repeatability of the regular Printed Board. In most cases, consumers use Flexible PCB when they are looking for an alternative for the wiring harness.
Thus, allowing a single flexible board to supplant numerous hardboards, cables, and connectors in a single operation. Also, the assembly process is efficient as there is no need for coloring the wires or wrapping them in bundles.
Flex ensures lower installation cost, while increased volume production. Also, with flex, the rejection rate during the in-service and assembly process decreases significantly. The boards also improve the wire routing repeatability.
In addition, using Flexible Circuity tends to reduce weight and space of the traditional wiring up to 70 percent. Also, the recurring cost of the Flexible Printed Board is way less in comparison to the use of wire harnesses. After all, Flex boards have a greater resistance to shocks and vibration costs.
The replacement and repair costs are also less when you compare it to the hard boards. Also, it is possible to surface-mount components effortlessly by placing the bonded stiffness on the desired area of the Printed Circuit Board.
The Cost Impact
Rigid Printed boards cost less than the Flexible PCB. However, they lack the benefits of Flex-PCB. There are different ways to monitor the cost. For instance, keeping a close check on the number of layers would reduce the cost.
Instead of opting for four-layer PCB, try to work with two-layer PCB. Doing this would decrease the overall manufacturing cost of the Flexible Printed Circuit Board.