Rigid-flex PCBs offer incredible flexibility in board design and play a critical role in the production of complex circuits. Circuits made from a combination of rigid and flexible components allow designers to achieve complex functionality. Rigid-flexible PCB design has led to a major technological breakthrough. These boards are developed in a 3D environment where developers can fold the PCB and deform the board to achieve the desired shape. Because conventional PCB boards are inflexible and rigid, they are unlikely to be used in many sensitive and compact applications, such as gadgets, cell phones, and e-readers. So what is the difference between rigid-flexible circuit boards and other PCBs? Rigid-flex PCB board suppliers will tell you next.
Imagine putting a distorted phone in your pocket; you can even roll and twist it like paper, but it still won’t break. Does that sound great? It’s one of the technologies being developed by top phone manufacturers. However, this kind of electronic device is impossible to achieve without the support of flexible PCB. Also, sensitive electronic devices need to be shockproof, which is not possible without the flexibility of the board. In many applications, flexibility and rigidity must be balanced, and only rigid boards can achieve the required functionality. Rigid-flexible PCBs are used to ensure high quality of sensitive hardware. Both rigid and flexible components have specific functions. Rigid boards are used for applications and components that require strength, while flexible PCBs are used for sensitive components. The continuous layers of flexible and rigid PCBs provide unique functionality that cannot be achieved with a simple PCB.
For the past two decades, rigid-flexible PCBs have been used extensively in aerospace and military equipment. As time passes, the technology industry is becoming more interested in rigid-flexible PCBs. More research is being done to make their boards more reliable and durable, while maintaining high quality performance. Since rigid-flex PCBs contain both flexible and rigid components, interconnecting vias are used to develop boards that connect these components to each other. High component density and robust performance are the expected distinguishing features of rigid Flex PCBs. These features are combined by using a rigid design in parts where strength is required and the panel must be rigid, such as component landing. Flexibility is provided in the design of parts that are often affected by vibration, such as corners and places. In addition, flexible components are suitable in situations where many connections need to be skipped by mechanically sensitive areas. The manufacturing process for rigid-flex PCBs is completely different from that of conventional PCBs. Special attention must be paid to a number of sensitive factors in the manufacturing process. For example, copper foil must be etched during the manufacturing process, and the flexible polyimide core will shrink. Since shrinkage causes the final dimensions of the circuit to deviate from the designed product, the dimensional changes must be compensated for during the design process.
Application of rigid-flexible panels:
Rigid-flex PCBs are used to manufacture medical devices such as pacemakers. Their low weight and space requirements allow designers to design more reliable products.
Saving space and weight budgets, rigid-flex PCBs have revolutionized phones and cameras. The overall compact design of the latest devices is largely due to the reduced circuit size.
For similar reasons, rigid-flexible PCBs are used in military weapons. Because military weapons require robust and effective performance, rigid-flexible PCBs are known for their superior performance. Reducing the weight of the overall product allows legitimate factories to design complex weapons. With the integration of rigid-flexible PCBs in the weapons industry, more advances are being made every day.
They are also used in computer systems and related devices such as hard drives, printers, and keyboards. This is mainly because when designing mechanically robust devices, they often need to resist vibration, bending, folding and twisting. Using cables to route signals in 3d space is not as effective as using rigid flexible PCBs.
In consumer products, rigid PCBs not only maximize space usage, but also greatly increase reliability, thereby eliminating the need for many solder joints and fragile, frangible wiring (prone to connection problems). These are just a few examples of how rigid-flex PCBs can be used in almost any advanced electrical application, including test equipment, tools, and automobiles.