For those of you who may not be familiar with the term flexible printed circuit boards you have visited the right place! They are simply printed circuit boards (the electrical brain of computers) that have the ability to bend or flex making them wearable. Once you understand this the name makes perfect sense and is self-explanatory. Generally, they are uses in type of electronic device that needs to be flexible during its use. They are separated into three separate classes each with specified uses that make them unique.
Class I (One)
Class I flexible circuits are a part of every type of device that you can conjure up. They do not need a whole of attention while wearing them because they are not exposed to rough environmental factors that usually results in the malfunction of the device. Some examples of flexible PCB devices would be halter monitors (measures your heart rate), calorie counters, and devices that measure the number of steps you take during the time you are wearing the device. The standard that must be met for this class is based on reliability and quality.
Class II (Two)
Class II flexible printed circuit boards are utilized for industrial and commercial industries. They also are not usually exposed to tough environmental factors because of this their standards are based on quality and efficient solder joints making connections within the circuitry. An example of where you will find a flexible PCB would be in a home automation system. Most home systems allow you to communication with certain appliance through the internet.
Class III (Three)
Class III flexible printed circuit boards are used for military, aerospace, and medical electronics. Since these boards are used for such important tasks their standard requirements must meet an extremely demanding testing process before they are deemed ready to function. The assembly process is also more involved when creating them;
- Knowing when and how to connect the vias in the bend areas
- Avoid connecting vias when possible
- Assuring stiffeners stay in the right places
- Bending and twisting at different ratios, angles and levels
- Different electrical components that are associated with it
- Different thermal traits
- Application of the J Standard to all military devices
- Environmental testing
- Thermal Shock cycling
- Temperature cycling
Flexible PCB’s are the very heart of computerized machinery, without them we would not be able to enjoy our cell phones, games, computers, the list can go on and on! We have come to depend on our devices, understanding the types of circuit boards your electronic gadgets have will help you appreciate those wonderful fabricators or manufacturers who share their expertise with the world so we can benefit from everything technology has to offer. Whether you are using class one, two, or three, or any combination of the three you have experienced what todays flexible printed circuit boards have to offer us. We excitedly continue to look forward to see what today’s technology will bring us next.