Today, we will study What is Flexible PCB? Flexible PCB Definition, Flexible PCB Manufacturing Process, advantages & applications of Flex PCB
Hi Fellas! I hope you all are having fun. Today, we will have a detailed overview of Flexible PCB. We will also understand why we need to use Flex PCB? What are its advantages & disadvantage? What kind of material is used? and How to manufacture flexible PCB? etc. Flexible PCB is the most advanced type of PCB, thus quite expensive and is normally used in industrial electronic products.
I'll try to explain everything related to flexible PCB so that you could get a clear idea of what is this about and what makes it stand out from other PCB boards? Let's dive in and explore the properties of flexible PCB one by one:
Initially, PCBs were designed using hard substrate materials and thus were only available in hard form(board/card shaped). With the research in technology, scientists felt the need for PCBs, that could be bend or fold easily, to place in difficult locations and this gave the idea of Flexible PCBs. Flexible PCBs were first introduced in 1950 for two main purposes:
The most common example of a Flexible PCB is the ATM Keypad. These ATM Keypads are designed using flexible PCB so that they could be easily placed on any irregular surface i.e. circular. Moreover, smartwatches also use flexible PCBs, where PCBs are incorporated in the watch bands and because of this added space, more embedded functions can be installed in the watches. Now let's have a look at a proper Flexible PCB Definition:
Before Flexible PCB, electronic products were designed using Rigid PCB and in few products(i.e. wrist-watch), space for rigid PCB was almost negligible as compared to its complete size(including bands). To utilize such parts of electronic products(for adding extra technology/circuits), there was a need to bring flexibility in electronic PCB to fit in any shape or place and thus Flexible PCB came into existence.
Flexible PCBs have also made electronic products hand-carry i.e. Flexible Computer Keyboard. Simply roll and place it in your laptop bag. Flexible PCBs are also used in Oil & gas sector as they have the capability to sustain high temperatures.
So, now let's have a look at the Manufacturing Process of Flexible PCB:
The flexible PCB Manufacturing Process involves almost the same steps as that of MultiLayer PCB, although it involves more professionalism & expertise. Let's have a look at the steps of the Flexible PCB Manufacturing Process:
Computer-Aided Design(CAD)models of Flexible PCBs are designed by professional designers.
PCB manufacturing companies.
Flexible PCBs are manufactured by a PCB company, which takes order from the user(normally designer) and delivers it according to the specified instructions. Here are the steps involved in the Flexible PCB manufacturing process:
Cutting: According to specified dimensions in flex design.
Drill Hole: Drilling of holes and vias(in case of multilayer).
Electroplating: It involves the placing of coppers tracks or paths.
Etching: Chemical treatment of Flex PCB.
Decorating: Involves few touch-ups of flex PCB i.e. bordering.
Coating: Lamination of Flex PCB.
Flex Circuit Overlayis a lamination process that is widely used to protect and encapsulate the external circuitry of the flexible printed circuit.
Flexible PCB Testingis performed after receiving the order from the PCB company.
Now let's have a look at the advantages of Flexible PCB:
Now let's have a look at the disadvantages of Flexible PCB:
Although Flexible PCBs have a lot of advantages over Rigid PCB but their advantages are specific to certain sectors and thus we can't use them in normal projects. Here are few disadvantages of Flex PCB:
Now let's have a look at the applications of Flex PCB:
Although Flexible PCBs are not that common, thus used in specific applications only. A few Flex PCB applications are as follows:
That's all for today. I hope you have found this article useful. Keep updating us with your feedback and suggestions, they allow us to give you quality work that resonates with your expectations If you have any questions you can ask me in the comment section below. I'd love to help you according to the best of my expertise. Thanks for reading the article. Stay Tuned!
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