Do you know about the application of flexible circuit boards?

FPC (flexible circuit board), also known as “soft board”, is a type of PCB. FPC is made of flexible substrates such as polyimide or polyester film. It has the advantages of high wiring density, light weight, thin thickness, bendability, and high flexibility. It can withstand millions of dynamic bends without damaging the wires. , move and expand at will according to the space layout requirements, realize three-dimensional assembly, achieve the effect of integrating component assembly and wire connection, and have advantages that other types of circuit boards cannot match.

FPC is widely used in mechanically sensitive devices because the flexibility allows the board to resist vibration. Flexible PCBs are more durable than traditional circuit boards, but the flexible PCB manufacturing process is sensitive and complex.

Due to the lightweight design, the circuit board can be shaped according to the housing, can fit into a small volume, and the overall size of the final product can be reduced. Flex PCBs eliminate the overuse of wire harnesses and connectors in PCBs.

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Flexible PCB applications

Rigid panels add some limitations in product design because they cannot be installed in confined spaces. Circuit boards need to be vibration-resistant in products that are frequently exposed to mechanical shock.

Flexible PCBs are better suited for this situation as they can be bent and wrapped if necessary. They can survive harsh temperatures ranging from -200 to 400 degrees Celsius. These features make flexible circuit boards more reliable and durable than traditional circuit boards.

computers and accessories

Flexible PCBs are very robust in terms of signals and atmospheric conditions. The hard drive in your computer contains a Flex PCB. Since these PCBs offer high data transfer rates on a physically small circuit board. Other electronic devices such as printers, calculators, and laptop LCDs are often designed with flexible PCBs for similar reasons.

airplane

Aircraft electronic systems are often stuffed with cables and need to be lightweight. A typical Airbus contains nearly 100 kilometers of cables, while a helicopter contains about 12 kilometers of cables. There can be no compromise when it comes to aircraft system reliability and performance. Flexible PCBs reduce weight and can lift significantly even when subjected to mechanical shock, making them ideal for aircraft.

car

As time goes by, automotive products become more and more compact. Flexible PCBs add compactness to their designs because regardless of their shape, these PCBs can be placed in a limited space and still work efficiently. Flex PCB enables designers to produce lightweight products while maintaining product performance.

Flexible PCBs are commonly used in engine management computers, air bag controllers and other electronic components of automotive products. Since cars are often exposed to high temperatures, which are tolerable for flexible PCBs, these boards feature modern automotive products.

cell phone

Mobile phones are small in size but packed with features. Ever wonder how dense circuitry is designed into such a compact enclosure? Flexible PCBs allow for the synchronization of multiple components with minimal space requirements.

Connecting wire harnesses or rigid boards for synchronization components is disadvantageous because of the limited size and shape of the phone. In addition, mobile phones heat up, and traditional circuit boards cannot withstand high temperatures. Additionally, Flex PCBs have waterproof features built into the design.

Today, mobile phones, digital books are developing flexible PCBs, which is a major technological breakthrough. Imagine wrapping a mobile phone or bending the pages of a digital book? This is not possible with rigid PCBs, as technology advances, flexible PCBs are also evolving and hopefully in the near future we will be able to bend mobile phones like pages.

Medical electronics

Medical electronics need to be highly precise and durable. Wearable devices currently being developed are often developed using Flexible PCBs, whose flexibility makes them suitable for host use.

Today, wearable devices are used to track physical health, and these gadgets are extremely compact and sophisticated. Flex PCB allows sensors to be implanted on the patient’s skin and results can be monitored on a smartwatch or phone. This revolution in wearable medical devices is brought about by flexible PCBs.

Medical devices often need to be placed inside the human body, such as pacemakers or pill cameras are often exposed to extreme atmospheric conditions and flexible PCBs are best suited for this situation.

Rigid PCBs are bulky, cannot adopt shape changes and have low performance at high signal transmission, which makes them detrimental to medical electronics.

Recent research into Flex PCBs has enabled scientists to develop Flex PCBs that are more suitable for medical devices. These PCBs are developed using organic materials to provide a more suitable quality for prosthetic components. These boards are more flexible than flexible traditional PCBs, which is exciting for the development of high-performance prosthetics.

Industrial applications

Flexible PCBs can withstand extreme weather conditions and perform well even in harsh environments. RF devices are often designed using Flex PCBs because the robust nature of these PCBs allows signal strength to be unaffected. In addition, Flex PCBs are used in industrial machines and power distribution control systems.

sensor

Flex PCBs have revolutionized sensors, modern sensors are manufactured on flexible PCBs which reduces their size. These sensors can be placed in limited and irregular spaces, suitable for designs of more compact products.

military equipment

Most modern military equipment uses Flex PCBs such as radar systems in military vehicles. Control systems in military-grade equipment require high signal and conductive path robustness. Because the equipment must be used in extreme temperatures, weather conditions are often difficult to withstand for rigid PCBs. Additionally, military equipment is often subject to vibration and mechanical stress, which are easily tolerated by flexible PCBs. For these reasons, Flex PCB is best suited for military equipment. The above is the analysis of the application of flexible circuit boards. I hope it can help you.

FPC (flexible circuit board), also known as “soft board”, is a type of PCB. FPC is made of flexible substrates such as polyimide or polyester film. It has the advantages of high wiring density, light weight, thin thickness, bendability, and high flexibility. It can withstand millions of dynamic bends without damaging the wires. , move and expand at will according to the space layout requirements, realize three-dimensional assembly, achieve the effect of integrating component assembly and wire connection, and have advantages that other types of circuit boards cannot match.

FPC is widely used in mechanically sensitive devices because the flexibility allows the board to resist vibration. Flexible PCBs are more durable than traditional circuit boards, but the flexible PCB manufacturing process is sensitive and complex.

Due to the lightweight design, the circuit board can be shaped according to the housing, can fit into a small volume, and the overall size of the final product can be reduced. Flex PCBs eliminate the overuse of wire harnesses and connectors in PCBs.

GET PCB MANUFACTURING AND ASSEMBLY QUOTE NOW!

Flexible PCB applications

Rigid panels add some limitations in product design because they cannot be installed in confined spaces. Circuit boards need to be vibration-resistant in products that are frequently exposed to mechanical shock.

Flexible PCBs are better suited for this situation as they can be bent and wrapped if necessary. They can survive harsh temperatures ranging from -200 to 400 degrees Celsius. These features make flexible circuit boards more reliable and durable than traditional circuit boards.

computers and accessories

Flexible PCBs are very robust in terms of signals and atmospheric conditions. The hard drive in your computer contains a Flex PCB. Since these PCBs offer high data transfer rates on a physically small circuit board. Other electronic devices such as printers, calculators, and laptop LCDs are often designed with flexible PCBs for similar reasons.

airplane

Aircraft electronic systems are often stuffed with cables and need to be lightweight. A typical Airbus contains nearly 100 kilometers of cables, while a helicopter contains about 12 kilometers of cables. There can be no compromise when it comes to aircraft system reliability and performance. Flexible PCBs reduce weight and can lift significantly even when subjected to mechanical shock, making them ideal for aircraft.

car

As time goes by, automotive products become more and more compact. Flexible PCBs add compactness to their designs because regardless of their shape, these PCBs can be placed in a limited space and still work efficiently. Flex PCB enables designers to produce lightweight products while maintaining product performance.

Flexible PCBs are commonly used in engine management computers, air bag controllers and other electronic components of automotive products. Since cars are often exposed to high temperatures, which are tolerable for flexible PCBs, these boards feature modern automotive products.

cell phone

Mobile phones are small in size but packed with features. Ever wonder how dense circuitry is designed into such a compact enclosure? Flexible PCBs allow for the synchronization of multiple components with minimal space requirements.

Connecting wire harnesses or rigid boards for synchronization components is disadvantageous because of the limited size and shape of the phone. In addition, mobile phones heat up, and traditional circuit boards cannot withstand high temperatures. Additionally, Flex PCBs have waterproof features built into the design.

Today, mobile phones, digital books are developing flexible PCBs, which is a major technological breakthrough. Imagine wrapping a mobile phone or bending the pages of a digital book? This is not possible with rigid PCBs, as technology advances, flexible PCBs are also evolving and hopefully in the near future we will be able to bend mobile phones like pages.

Medical electronics

Medical electronics need to be highly precise and durable. Wearable devices currently being developed are often developed using Flexible PCBs, whose flexibility makes them suitable for host use.

Today, wearable devices are used to track physical health, and these gadgets are extremely compact and sophisticated. Flex PCB allows sensors to be implanted on the patient’s skin and results can be monitored on a smartwatch or phone. This revolution in wearable medical devices is brought about by flexible PCBs.

Medical devices often need to be placed inside the human body, such as pacemakers or pill cameras are often exposed to extreme atmospheric conditions and flexible PCBs are best suited for this situation.

Rigid PCBs are bulky, cannot adopt shape changes and have low performance at high signal transmission, which makes them detrimental to medical electronics.

Recent research into Flex PCBs has enabled scientists to develop Flex PCBs that are more suitable for medical devices. These PCBs are developed using organic materials to provide a more suitable quality for prosthetic components. These boards are more flexible than flexible traditional PCBs, which is exciting for the development of high-performance prosthetics.

Industrial applications

Flexible PCBs can withstand extreme weather conditions and perform well even in harsh environments. RF devices are often designed using Flex PCBs because the robust nature of these PCBs allows signal strength to be unaffected. In addition, Flex PCBs are used in industrial machines and power distribution control systems.

sensor

Flex PCBs have revolutionized sensors, modern sensors are manufactured on flexible PCBs which reduces their size. These sensors can be placed in limited and irregular spaces, suitable for designs of more compact products.

military equipment

Most modern military equipment uses Flex PCBs such as radar systems in military vehicles. Control systems in military-grade equipment require high signal and conductive path robustness. Because the equipment must be used in extreme temperatures, weather conditions are often difficult to withstand for rigid PCBs. Additionally, military equipment is often subject to vibration and mechanical stress, which are easily tolerated by flexible PCBs. For these reasons, Flex PCB is best suited for military equipment. The above is the analysis of the application of flexible circuit boards. I hope it can help you.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Circuit Boards

1. Advantages:

(1) It can be freely bent, rolled, and folded, can be arranged arbitrarily according to the spatial layout requirements, and can be moved and expanded in three-dimensional space to achieve the integration of component assembly and wire connection;

(2) Use FPC It can greatly reduce the size and weight of electronic products;

(3) FPC also has the advantages of good heat dissipation and solderability, easy assembly, and low overall cost. The design of combining soft and hard also makes up for the flexible base to a certain extent. The material is slightly insufficient in component load-bearing capacity.

2. Disadvantages:

(1) High one-time initial cost. Since flexible PCB is designed and manufactured for special applications, the initial costs for circuit design, wiring and photographic plates are relatively high. Unless there is a special need to use soft PCB, it is usually best not to use it in small quantities.

(2) It is difficult to change and repair the soft PCB. Once the soft PCB is made, changes must start from the base map or the prepared light drawing program, so it is not easy to change. Its surface is covered with a protective film, which needs to be removed before repairing and restored after repairing. This is a relatively difficult task.

(3) Size restrictions: Flexible PCBs are usually manufactured using a batch process when they are not yet popular. Therefore, they are limited by the size of the production equipment and cannot be made very long or wide.

(4) Improper operation can easily cause damage to the flexible circuit. Improper operation by assembly personnel can easily cause damage to the soft circuit. The soldering and rework require trained personnel.

1. The single-sided board uses single-sided PI copper-clad material. After the circuit is completed, it is then covered with a protective film to form a flexible circuit board with only a single layer of conductors.

2. Ordinary double-sided boards use double-sided PI board copper-clad material. After the double-sided circuit is completed, a protective film is added to both sides to become a circuit board with double-layer conductors.

3. The single-sided board is made of pure copper foil material. During the circuit manufacturing process, a layer of protective film is added to both sides, forming a circuit board with only a single layer of conductors but exposed conductors on both sides of the circuit board.

4. The substrate generates a double-sided board. Two layers of single-sided PI copper-clad laminate materials are used for lamination, supplemented by an adhesive with a window at a specific position. It becomes a double-sided conductor circuit board with a two-layer separated structure that is pressed in a local area and separated in a local area. To achieve a circuit board with high flexibility in the delamination area.

According to the combination of base material and copper foil, flexible circuit boards can be divided into two types: glued flexible boards and glueless flexible boards. Among them, the price of the glue-free flexible board is much higher than that of the glued flexible board, but its flexibility, the bonding force between the copper foil and the base material, and the flatness of the pad are also better than those of the glued flexible board. Therefore, it is generally only used in those situations with high requirements, such as: COF (CHIP ON FLEX, mounting exposed chips on flexible boards, which requires high pad flatness), etc. Due to its high price, most of the flexible boards used in the market are glued flexible boards. Since flexible boards are mainly used in situations that require bending, if the design or process is unreasonable, defects such as micro-cracks and open welding may easily occur.

If the circuit design is relatively simple, the total volume is not large, and the space is suitable, most traditional interconnection methods are much cheaper. If the circuit is complex, handles many signals, or has special electrical or mechanical performance requirements, flexible circuits are a better design choice. Flexible assembly methods are most economical when the size and performance of the application exceed the capabilities of rigid circuits. A flexible circuit with 12mil pads and 3mil lines and spacing with 5mil through holes can be made on a piece of film. Therefore, it is more reliable to mount the chip directly on the film. Because it does not contain flame retardants that may be a source of contamination in ion drills. These films may be protective and cure at higher temperatures, resulting in higher glass transition temperatures. Flexible materials save costs compared to rigid materials because they eliminate the need for connectors.

According to the number of layers of conductive copper foil, it is divided into single-layer boards, double-layer boards, multi-layer boards, double-sided boards, etc. Single-layer board structure: This structure of flexible board is the simplest structure of flexible board. Usually the base material + transparent glue + copper foil is a set of purchased raw materials, and the protective film + transparent glue is another purchased raw material. First, the copper foil needs to be etched and processed to obtain the required circuit, and the protective film needs to be drilled to expose the corresponding pads. After cleaning, use the rolling method to combine the two. Then the exposed pad is electroplated with gold or tin for protection. In this way, the big board is ready. Generally, small circuit boards are stamped into corresponding shapes. There are also methods that directly print the solder resist layer on the copper foil without using a protective film. This will lower the cost, but the mechanical strength of the circuit board will deteriorate. Unless the strength requirements are not high but the price needs to be as low as possible, it is best to apply a protective film. Double-layer board structure: When the circuit lines are too complex, single-layer boards cannot be routed, or copper foil is required for ground shielding, double-layer boards or even multi-layer boards need to be used. The most typical difference between multilayer boards and single-layer boards is the addition of via structures to connect each layer of copper foil. Generally, the first processing technology of base material + transparent glue + copper foil is to make via holes. First drill holes in the base material and copper foil, and then plate them with a certain thickness of copper after cleaning, and the via holes are ready. The subsequent production process is almost the same as that of single-layer boards. Double-sided board structure: There are soldering pads on both sides of the double-sided board, which are mainly used for connection with other circuit boards. Although it has a similar structure to a single-layer board, the manufacturing process is very different. Its raw materials are copper foil, protective film + transparent glue. First, drill holes in the protective film according to the location requirements of the pads, and then attach the copper foil. After etching out the pads and leads, attach another protective film with drilled holes.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Circuit Boards

1. Advantages:

(1) It can be freely bent, rolled, and folded, can be arranged arbitrarily according to the spatial layout requirements, and can be moved and expanded in three-dimensional space to achieve the integration of component assembly and wire connection;

(2) Use FPC It can greatly reduce the size and weight of electronic products;

(3) FPC also has the advantages of good heat dissipation and solderability, easy assembly, and low overall cost. The design of combining soft and hard also makes up for the flexible base to a certain extent. The material is slightly insufficient in component load-bearing capacity.

2. Disadvantages:

(1) High one-time initial cost. Since flexible PCB is designed and manufactured for special applications, the initial costs for circuit design, wiring and photographic plates are relatively high. Unless there is a special need to use soft PCB, it is usually best not to use it in small quantities.

(2) It is difficult to change and repair the soft PCB. Once the soft PCB is made, changes must start from the base map or the prepared light drawing program, so it is not easy to change. Its surface is covered with a protective film, which needs to be removed before repairing and restored after repairing. This is a relatively difficult task.

(3) Size restrictions: Flexible PCBs are usually manufactured using a batch process when they are not yet popular. Therefore, they are limited by the size of the production equipment and cannot be made very long or wide.

(4) Improper operation can easily cause damage to the flexible circuit. Improper operation by assembly personnel can easily cause damage to the soft circuit. The soldering and rework require trained personnel.

1. The single-sided board uses single-sided PI copper-clad material. After the circuit is completed, it is then covered with a protective film to form a flexible circuit board with only a single layer of conductors.

2. Ordinary double-sided boards use double-sided PI board copper-clad material. After the double-sided circuit is completed, a protective film is added to both sides to become a circuit board with double-layer conductors.

3. The single-sided board is made of pure copper foil material. During the circuit manufacturing process, a layer of protective film is added to both sides, forming a circuit board with only a single layer of conductors but exposed conductors on both sides of the circuit board.

4. The substrate generates a double-sided board. Two layers of single-sided PI copper-clad laminate materials are used for lamination, supplemented by an adhesive with a window at a specific position. It becomes a double-sided conductor circuit board with a two-layer separated structure that is pressed in a local area and separated in a local area. To achieve a circuit board with high flexibility in the delamination area.

According to the combination of base material and copper foil, flexible circuit boards can be divided into two types: glued flexible boards and glueless flexible boards. Among them, the price of the glue-free flexible board is much higher than that of the glued flexible board, but its flexibility, the bonding force between the copper foil and the base material, and the flatness of the pad are also better than those of the glued flexible board. Therefore, it is generally only used in those situations with high requirements, such as: COF (CHIP ON FLEX, mounting exposed chips on flexible boards, which requires high pad flatness), etc. Due to its high price, most of the flexible boards used in the market are glued flexible boards. Since flexible boards are mainly used in situations that require bending, if the design or process is unreasonable, defects such as micro-cracks and open welding may easily occur.

If the circuit design is relatively simple, the total volume is not large, and the space is suitable, most traditional interconnection methods are much cheaper. If the circuit is complex, handles many signals, or has special electrical or mechanical performance requirements, flexible circuits are a better design choice. Flexible assembly methods are most economical when the size and performance of the application exceed the capabilities of rigid circuits. A flexible circuit with 12mil pads and 3mil lines and spacing with 5mil through holes can be made on a piece of film. Therefore, it is more reliable to mount the chip directly on the film. Because it does not contain flame retardants that may be a source of contamination in ion drills. These films may be protective and cure at higher temperatures, resulting in higher glass transition temperatures. Flexible materials save costs compared to rigid materials because they eliminate the need for connectors.

According to the number of layers of conductive copper foil, it is divided into single-layer boards, double-layer boards, multi-layer boards, double-sided boards, etc. Single-layer board structure: This structure of flexible board is the simplest structure of flexible board. Usually the base material + transparent glue + copper foil is a set of purchased raw materials, and the protective film + transparent glue is another purchased raw material. First, the copper foil needs to be etched and processed to obtain the required circuit, and the protective film needs to be drilled to expose the corresponding pads. After cleaning, use the rolling method to combine the two. Then the exposed pad is electroplated with gold or tin for protection. In this way, the big board is ready. Generally, small circuit boards are stamped into corresponding shapes. There are also methods that directly print the solder resist layer on the copper foil without using a protective film. This will lower the cost, but the mechanical strength of the circuit board will deteriorate. Unless the strength requirements are not high but the price needs to be as low as possible, it is best to apply a protective film. Double-layer board structure: When the circuit lines are too complex, single-layer boards cannot be routed, or copper foil is required for ground shielding, double-layer boards or even multi-layer boards need to be used. The most typical difference between multilayer boards and single-layer boards is the addition of via structures to connect each layer of copper foil. Generally, the first processing technology of base material + transparent glue + copper foil is to make via holes. First drill holes in the base material and copper foil, and then plate them with a certain thickness of copper after cleaning, and the via holes are ready. The subsequent production process is almost the same as that of single-layer boards. Double-sided board structure: There are soldering pads on both sides of the double-sided board, which are mainly used for connection with other circuit boards. Although it has a similar structure to a single-layer board, the manufacturing process is very different. Its raw materials are copper foil, protective film + transparent glue. First, drill holes in the protective film according to the location requirements of the pads, and then attach the copper foil. After etching out the pads and leads, attach another protective film with drilled holes.

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