Rigid Flex PCB – Types of PCB
Rigid flex PCB is a hybrid combination of a Rigid PCB and a Flex PCB. Simplest rigid-flex printed circuit board consists of a rigid and a flexible Circuit Board.
Rigid flex PCB is a hybrid combination of a Rigid PCB and a Flex PCB. Most simple form of a rigid-flex printed circuit board consists of a rigid circuit board joint to a flexible circuit board.
Rigid flex circuit boards consist of both rigid and flexible substrates that are laminated together to form a single circuit board. Double sided or multilayer Rigid Flex Circuit Boards are interconnected by plated through holes (PTH).
Rigid Circuit Board is made of solid substrate with copper tracks and component layouts where Active and Passive Electronic Components (Through-Hole, SMD Components or Mixed PCB Assembly) are soldered either by automated Through Hole Soldering Technology like Wave Soldering or Automated Surface Mount Technology (SMT) like Reflow Soldering. Hand Soldering can also be done.
Substrate of a flexible board is made of flexible plastic (thin insulating polymer film), polyimide or a similar polymer or Kapton. Conductive copper circuit is printed on this substrate and a protection coating of thin polymer is applied to protect the circuits. Generally SMD Components are soldered on a Flexible PWB.
Rigid Flex PCB Manufacturing Process
Rigid-Flex PCBs are very complex to design and manufacture. Most such boards are designed in a 3D space. Manufacturing process involves following steps:
- The process starts with designing Layout of the PCB using any PCB designing software / CAD Tool (Proteus, Eagle, OrCAD).
- Next steps are combination of manufacturing process of Rigid PCB and Flex PCB.
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Benefits of Rigid Flex Printed Circuit Board
- Advantage of both rigid and flexible PCB
- Reduced space and weight
- Better electrical connection reliability
- Eliminates many solder joints and wiring
- More freedom in 3D design
- Less number of electronic components
- Cost effective in handling and transportation
- Complete testing before installation
Uses of Rigid Flex PCB
These boards offer benefits of both rigid and flex PCB. They are reliable, flexible, space saving and light weight. Hence, many electronic companies in the world use these boards in several electronic devices and gadgets. Following are some of the uses of a Rigid Flex Circuit Board:
- Military weapon
- Mobile phone and Tablet
- Laptop and Computer
- Digital camera
- Medical devices
- Testing and measurement equipment
- All advanced applications
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