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What is a Flexible Aluminum PCB? It Is Aluminum Based NOT FPC

flexible aluminum PCB
PCBONLINE Team Thur, May 26, 2022
Hi, I want some aluminum PCBs made. However, I need them to be a little bit bendable. Can you fabricate such printed circuit boards?

Yes, we can fabricate them. And we call them flexible aluminum PCBs.

flexible aluminum PCB

Flexible aluminum PCBs are not common. But they are cost-effective, bendable to some degree, and dissipate thermal efficiently. For more people to learn about this kind of metal-substrate PCBs, we reveal flexible aluminum PCBs from the below content.

Part 1: What is a Flexible Aluminum PCB

A flexible aluminum PCB is an aluminum-based PCB whose metal substrate has been specially treated, so that it is curled, 3D-shaped, or can be repeatedly bendable.

Like all aluminum PCBs, a flexible aluminum PCB is composed of an aluminum substrate, dielectric layers, copper circuit layers, and solder masks.

The difference between flexible aluminum PCBs and rigid aluminum PCBs is that the aluminum substrate of flexible aluminum PCBs is physically grooved (countersunk) so that they can be bent to some degree.

flexible aluminum PCB

The copper thickness for flexible aluminum PCBs is 0.8mm to 1.2mm. To bend, flexible aluminum PCBs have only one component-mounted side. And its surface finish has to be OSP. Regarding the circuit copper thickness of flexible aluminum PCBs, we suggest a 25um copper thickness for economic considerations, and you can make it 35um for massive manufacturing.

On the aluminum substrate, some grooves are cut into the substrate to make the aluminum board bendable. The depth of the countersinks ranges from 0.5mm to 0.7mm.

For better understanding, you can imagine using a paper knife to engrave a row of straight lines on the cardboard, and in this way, the cardboard can be bent according to the lines' direction.

Besides, flexible aluminum PCBs use a softer aluminum PCB laminate. The aluminum laminate is an aluminum alloy, and the higher the aluminum content, the easier it is for the PCB to bend.

flexible aluminum PCBs

Part 2: Flexible Aluminum PCBs Available from PCBONLINE

From the PCB manufacturer PCBONLINE, you can have flexible aluminum PCBs of two types:

Repeatedly-bent flexible aluminum PCBs

For these flexible aluminum PCBs, we use rolled copper for manufacturing, because only rolled annealed copper circuit lines can repeatedly bend without harming the circuitry.

As you can see below, a column of countersinks is cut into the aluminum plate. And the aluminum PCB can bend in use.

bendable aluminum substrate PCB

These flexible aluminum PCBs are used in applications that require repeated bending and good thermal dissipation.

Fixed-shaped flexible aluminum PCBs

The aluminum PCB requires bending during manufacturing but its shape is fixed in use. These aluminum PCBs use electrolytic copper as the copper circuit layers. They are used for applications that don't require bending in working.

As you can see below, the aluminum PCB has four corners. During manufacturing, we punch out four straight lines and bend the aluminum PCB to be square-shaped. In use, the aluminum PCB can't be bent.

fixed-shaped flex aluminum PCB

Remember, a flexible aluminum PCB is not a flexible PCB (FPC). An FPC is polyimide-based, while a flexible aluminum PCB is metal-based. Please see a comparison between them below.

Part 3: Flexible Aluminum PCB vs Flexible PCB

Both flexible aluminum PCBs and FPCs can be mounted with LED beads and used for LED lighting. However, a flexible aluminum PCB is metal-based, and its flexibility is worse than FPCs.

Flexible aluminum PCB
Flexible PCB
Copper layer
Rolled copper or electrolytic copper
Rolled copper
Heavier than FPC
Thicker than FPC
Thermal dissipation
Conducting signals
A little bit bendable
Arbitrarily bendable
Mechanical strength

For a better comparison between flexible aluminum PCBs and flexible PCBs, please see a flexible PCB below.

flexible PCB

PCBONLINE can design, manufacture, and assemble both flexible aluminum PCBs and FPCs.

Part 4: Your One-Stop Flexible Aluminum PCB Manufacturer

PCBONLINE is a one-stop advanced PCB manufacturer founded in 1999. We have two large manufacturing bases and one PCB assembly factory. Flexible aluminum PCBs are one kind of aluminum PCBs we fabricate and assemble.

Besides aluminum PCBs and flexible PCBs, we also manufacture rigid-flex PCBs, HDI PCBs, copper-based PCBs, ceramic PCBs, and high-frequency PCBs.

Here are reasons for you to order aluminum PCBs from PCBONLINE:

    • PCBONLINE has achieved industry 4.0 aluminum PCB production and reduced aluminum PCB costs.
    • Various aluminum PCB laminates are available for PCB fabrication, such as Ventec, Totking, Shengyi, Polytronics, Arlon, and Yugu.
    • You can order one/two-layer aluminum PCBs with one component-mounted side and two/four-layer aluminum PCBs with two component-mounted sides.
    • We provide one-on-one customer services and engineering support throughout your aluminum PCB project.
    • Our engineers can design flexible aluminum PCBs and flexible LED PCBs for you.
    • Our PCB/PCBA manufacturing is ISO 9001, IATF 16949, UL, RoHS, REACH, and IPC certified.

PCBONLINE has no quantity limit for PCB/PCBA orders. For bulky production, the PCB/PCBA sample is free. We suggest the OSP surface finish for flexible aluminum PCBs. If you have any flexible aluminum PCB or flexible LED PCB needs, please feel free to send your Gerber/IPC-2581 and contact PCBONLINE by email at info@pcbonline.com.

Part 5: Benefits and Applications of Flexible Aluminum PCBs

Like rigid aluminum PCBs, flexible aluminum PCBs provide better thermal dissipation and mechanical strength than FR4 PCBs and polyimide/polyester PCBs. What's more, flexible aluminum PCBs can bend to a 3-D shape. Compared to rigid-flex PCBs, flex aluminum PCBs can withstand higher working temperatures.

flexible aluminum PCB direction

All aluminum PCBs are mainly used for LED lights. So are flexible aluminum PCBs. If you need LED lights that can illuminate in all directions, flexible aluminum PCBs are a perfect circuit board option.

If the flexible aluminum PCB uses a softer laminate, the PCB can be used for facial beauty LED lamps.


A flexible aluminum PCB is a bendable aluminum PCB whose metal substrate is grooved according to your product's needs. It is not an FPC that is polyimide-based. Flexible aluminum PCBs are cost-effective, bendable to some degree, and can transfer thermal quickly to protect the circuits. If you want flexible aluminum PCBs made, don't miss the 23-year-old source factory PCBONLINE.


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