To manufacture flexible PCBs there are some key areas you should be aware of. While flex circuits have some similar characteristics to rigid printed circuit boards, they require very different approaches in the manufacturing process.
In the world of flexible circuit boards, stiffeners are a common requirement in a lot of flex designs. By definition, stiffeners provide a mechanical support function and are not part of the electrical schematic of a design.
It is critical for any flex circuit design to be free of errors and violations in order to get the application to market as fast as possible without unnecessary delay. To help designers avoid common design violations in rigid-flex PCBs, this blog post will discuss three of the most common Industry Association for Printed Circuit Board and Electronics Manufacturing (IPC) design violations.
One question we get asked frequently is: why flex and rigid-flex tooling costs more than rigid PCBs? The answer is quite simple; flex circuit tooling is a much more complex process than standard printed circuit boards.
The two primary options for encapsulating the external circuit layers of a flex circuit are Polyimide Coverlay and Flexible Liquid Photoimageable (LPI) Soldermask. The two materials however have very different capabilities and requirements.
Rigid-flex printed circuit boards are unique with their integrated construction of both rigid PCB and flex circuit technologies. Being unique comes with a number of unique requirements that should be reviewed and implemented during the rigid-flex PCB Gerber layout phase of the design process.
Flex and rigid-flex PCB constructions have many variations that allow for a wide range of applications and solutions. A significant difference to rigid PCB constructions is that uneven layer counts are allowed and frequently used. The primary reasons being reduced flex thickness, improved flexibility and reduced part cost.
An essential element of a flex or rigid-flex printed circuit board (PCB) design is verification that the construction will meet your mechanical bend requirements. Exceeding the minimum flex bend radius requirements creates the opportunity to exceed the physical properties of the copper circuitry resulting in failed parts and long term reliability concerns.
This blog post is intended to enforce the design support we offer at Epec in regards to our flex and rigid-flex PCB's. Technical design and engineering is one of our core fundamentals that allows us to help our customers meet there product requirements. The blog post will cover design areas that require special consideration.
Two distinct types of polyimide flex core material constructions are utilized in today’s flex circuit manufacturing. The difference is in the method used to physically attach the copper layers to the polyimide core. This results in a different set of material properties for each of the material types which must be factored in to a specific application to ensure the design meets all the requirements and is cost effective.