Do flexible PCBs have advantages?
Flexible printed circuit boards are known as flexible PCB or simply flex PCB. In the case of such tiles, paths and circuits are applied to a flexible material that can be bent and twisted in any way, without fear of damage. The flexibility of the printed circuit board is an advantage in itself. It allows for use in places where stiff tiles would be damaged in a short time.
Manufacture of flexible PCBs
The specificity of production is very similar to that of traditional, rigid printed circuit boards. The difference, however, is the material used to produce the dielectric substrate on which the circuits are then applied. For this purpose, polyamide, PEEK, as well as a special polyester film are most often used. In the case of foil, we distinguish two layers: smooth and granular, thanks to which the foil gives the board flexibility and also facilitates printing. An important element of the flexible PCB is the coating, which additionally protects the external components of the circuit.
What advantages do flex PCBs offer?
Flexible circuit boards allow conductive paths to be placed in a much smaller space than in the case of printed circuit boards. The smaller size is a huge advantage that affects the functionality and use of flexible PCB. Due to the flexible material, the boards can be freely bent and even twisted, without fear of damaging the circuits. As a result, they can be used wherever a rigid material is exposed to cracking, stretching, and other mechanical damage.
Practical application of flexible printed circuit boards
In practice, flexible printed circuit boards are used in working environments with vibrations and high overloads. Due to their high resistance to vibration and movement, they can be used for all transport devices. Flexible PCBs are also lighter than rigid PCBs. This solution was introduced in the 1960s as part of the US space flight program. Over the next two decades, flexible printed circuit boards became a common solution used in all industries.
Are flexible PCBs more expensive than rigid ones?
Flexible PCB is an extremely practical and universal solution. It is, therefore, no surprise that in many areas they are a replacement for traditional rigid tiles. One of the few disadvantages of this solution is, of course, the higher production costs. However, when analyzed from a broader perspective, the higher price is not so obvious.
Flexible printed circuit boards are undoubtedly more expensive at the production stage. However, given the much simpler assembly, savings can be found in the later stages of production. In addition, flexible boards are extremely durable and resistant to damage, affecting the service life of the devices. Therefore, flexible PCB is a cost-effective and beneficial solution in a work environment where there is constant movement, vibration, and high mechanical loads.