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Flexible Printed Circuit Board Application Range

PCBONLINE Team

Tues, Oct 22, 2019

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Introduction

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)  are electronic circuits that support the flow of electricity through a device or an appliance. They are crucial for the functioning of items like mobile phones and laptops. This shows how important printed circuit boards really are. There are many different types of printed circuit boards based on their design, material, and other similar features.  A flexible printed circuit board  is one of them. It is one of the most used circuit boards in the world. In order to understand the application range of flexible printed circuit boards, we should first try to understand what flexible circuit boards are.

What Are Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

There are two major types of circuit boards. Rigid circuit boards and Flexible Printed Circuit Boards. When people normally talk about printed circuit boards, they are usually referring to rigid circuit boards. Flexible circuit boards are commonly known as flex circuits.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board Application Range

What Is The Application Range Of Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Flexible printed circuit boards are used in a variety of different electronic devices. Traditionally people preferred rigid circuit boards however with time the flexible circuit boards are also gaining a lot of prominences. Flex circuits are being incorporated into many modern devices.

It is important to know that many technologies that were previously thought to only work with rigid circuit boards can also work with the help of flexible printed circuit boards. Flexible PCBs are relatively newer as compared to rigid circuit boards but with increasing awareness, it is expected that engineers will start using flex circuits to a comparatively greater extent.

From something as small as a calculator to larger objects like automobiles, flex circuits are used in almost all industries. Let’s take a look at some applications of flexible printed circuit boards.

The application of flexible printed circuit boards can be categorized into two subcategories.

Flex To Install

Flex to install applications are those where the circuit is formed during the assembly. This is the most commonly used application of flex circuits.

Dynamic Application

As clear from the name the dynamic applications of flex circuits mean the use of flexible printed circuit boards in appliances that take full advantage of the dynamic abilities of the flex circuit. A common example of this can be the computer hard disk drive.

Applications Of Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

With passing time engineers and electricians are becoming more aware of the benefits and use of  flexible printed circuit boardsThe range of use of these circuits is endless. From small telephones to large automobiles, flexible circuits can be used in almost all common products of daily use. Let’s take a look at a few applications of flexible circuits.

Computer Hard Drives

As explained earlier, computer hard drives consist of flexible printed circuit boards. They are a complex item and require many different flexing operations throughout their life. This means that computer hard drives require a circuit that works in a very dynamic way. The flexible printed circuit boards are perfect for this type of application. In addition to the computer hard drives, flex circuits are also used in other parts of the computer as well including the CPU and even things like keyboards and LCDs.  When we talk about keyboards, we can’t go ahead without mentioning that typewriters were one of the first devices to use flex circuits however with increasing awareness flex circuits have become advanced and more widely available.

Telecommunication Sector

The application of flex circuits in telecommunication can be seen from old and big fax machines to new and slim smartphones. Out of all telecommunication devices, the mobile phone can be seen as one device that is highly dependent on flex circuits. Without flex circuits, you wouldn’t have any iPhones or android smartphones.

Printers

From computer hard drives to printers. Printers also use flexible printed circuit boards to function. The flexible circuits work best when you have to connect two different components where one component is the functioning part and the other one is like the control module. Printers work on this principle thus using flexible printed circuit boards makes sense.

Aeronautics And Aviation

Did you know that an airplane has around 100 KM of wiring in it? Other flying objects like helicopters and small choppers also boast a complex wiring and electronics system.  Most of this wiring and electronic systems are supported by flex circuits. American aviation is considered as the pioneer for introducing the combination of rigid and flex circuit boards. However, the flexible printed circuit boards without the combination with rigid PCBs are gaining a lot of popularity amongst aeronautical engineers.

Automobiles

If you thought flexible printed circuit boards only have used in small electronic devices then you’re wrong. Flexible printed circuit boards are used excessively in automobiles.  These days’ flexible circuit boards are produced in large quantities just for the automobile industry. From the headlights to the dashboard and all other wiring and electrical components throughout the car, all use a combination of rigid and flexible printed circuit boards. However, the use of flexible circuit boards in automobiles has vastly increased in the last few years. It is believed that the use of flexible circuits in automobiles has made the driving experience less complex. It has also helped in improving the assembly of the vehicle by improving reliability and reducing issues in the assembly. A study has suggested that an upward trend can be seen in the application of flex circuits in the automobile industry. This means that in the coming years, more flex circuits will be used in the automobile industry as compared to rigid circuit boards. This trend can also be judged by the fact that the automobile industry is moving towards smart cars and smart technology is highly dependent on flex circuits.

Best Flexible Printed Circuit Boards - Online Quotation

PCBONLINE is an advanced circuit board manufacturer since 1999. They can manufacture and assemble 1 to 10 layers of flexible PCBs. They support online quotation and status tracking. Working with this flexible PCB supplier, you can expect PCBs of high quality at very reasonable prices.

PCBONLINE’s capability:

  • Layer: 1 ~ 42
  • Laminate: normal Tg/high-Tg/lead-free/halogen-free
  • Surface finishing: OSP/HASL/LF HASL/immersion ENIG/immersion tin/immersion silver
  • Board thickness: 0.15 ~ 3.2 mm
  • Max board size: 500 × 580 mm
  • Copper thickness: (inner finish copper) 1-4oz, (outer finish copper) 1-7oz
  • Min. line width/spacing: 0.0635 mm/0.0635 mm
  • Min. CNC drilling size: 0.15 mm
  • Min. laser drilling size: 0.075 mm
  • HDI stack up: 1+N+1, 2+N+2, 3+N+3

Conclusion

These are just some of the main applications of flexible circuit boards. Flex circuits have hundreds of other applications as well. With time, flexible circuit boards have gained a lot of popularity and with increased awareness; their popularity trend is expected to keep on growing.