Flexible Circuits

Significance Of Flexible Circuits

In the electronics world, necessity is the main motivation to inventions and can be attributed to the invention, development and evolution of flexible circuits in both electrical and electronic circuits. A flexible circuit also called a flex circuit is an arrangement of printed wiring utilizing flexible base materials with or without a flexible cover layer. Flexible circuits are used in significant life processes in the heart pacemakers, digital cameras, disk drives and car stereos. Such devices require great flexibility in their design and installation. Moreover, flex circuits can be of any size thus many devices can be manufactured to suit customer specifications.

On the other hand, miniaturization is a common word in circuit designing world. In this context, there is need to develop smaller size circuits with zero compromise on their performance. This led to the need for a functional and reliable circuit alongside its flexibility. Luckily, flexible circuits were invented and they serve as a solution to several orientation and spatial constraints which were faced by fixed PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). Please join us (RushPCB) as we take you through the merits of flex circuits in the modern world where technological advancement is the order of the day.

Merits from the way flex circuits are made

A flexible circuit is made of a film of flexible polymer which is usually laminated onto a sheet of copper which is engraved to yield a given circuit pattern. The polymer is vital since the circuits can be designed or etched on either side of the film. Sequentially, another overcoat of polymer is used to insulate the circuit and protect it from harsh environmental conditions.

The polymer film which is used in the design of flex circuits is KAPTON. This polymer has many favorable characteristics like dimensional stability, heat resistance and flexural capability. Different from that, KAPTON has excellent thermal stability thus it provides a better base for the mounting of hard boards.

In the same token, flex circuits are naturally flat thus they offer considerable space and weight savings compared to the traditional wire harnesses. Their thickness is usually as low as 0.2mm and a weight reduction of 75% is achievable using these circuits.  Are you satisfied with the explanation? Please pay us a visit at https://www.rushpcb.co.uk/blog/

Merits from the Uses of flexible circuits

It is possible to design several double or single-sided flexible circuits with shielding, complex interconnections and surface mounted devices all in multi-layer designs. Alternatively, the multi-layer can be combined with rigid Printed Circuit Boards leading to the creation of a rigid and high flexible circuit which is capable of supporting all the devices needed in the design in question.

A special feature of flexible circuits is that they give a designer a third dimension to work with. This is because just as their name indicates, these circuits are highly flexible since one can bend them and shape circuits along 2 or more planes during the process of installation. It is because of this feature that flexible circuits are used in tight-fitting and complex assemblies where it is impossible to accommodate several rigid harnesses and boards.

Flexible circuits provide an excellent way of reducing the time taken to assemble a product due to its exclusive properties of flexibility and a flawless integrate form. As if that is not enough, the number of assembly operations and testing time reduces significantly.

Merits based on Types of Flexible Circuits

Flexible circuits are of four types depending on the degree of complexity which is used in various combinations to solve each interconnection in the design problems. The four types of flex circuits basing argument on their merits which makes flex circuits preferable shall be discussed in this part.

1). Single-sided flex circuits

Single-sided flexible circuits are the simplest flex circuits of the 4 types as already mentioned. This is because they provide optimal flexibility for dynamic applications. In the same token, these circuits are more adaptable to the Surface Mount Technology (SMT), Tape Automated Bonding (TAB) and many other significant developments in the circuit technology. They derive their name from the fact that they allow access from a single side only. These circuits are used in the optical pick-up for computers, camcorder, camera, vibration motors for a mobile phone and VCD players. Moreover, they are cheap and they are usually produced in great volumes.

Single layer flex circuits are created using the double access or back barring technique which allows access to the metal conductors from the two sides of a circuit. This method is vital since it eliminates the need for plate-through holes needed in multi-layer circuits.

2). Double-sided flex circuits

These are flexible circuits with two conductive layers and which can be accessed from both sides of the board. Their main feature is the component assembly on both sides. However, their flexibility capacity reduces due to their complexity and thickness. Different from that, their ability of interconnecting between sides using plate-through holes is crucial for the implementation of complex designs with the flexibility of the circuits being maintained to the latter. These circuits are mainly used when it is difficult to route the layout and circuit density on a single layer. Comparatively, they are used in the mount assembly of dense surfaces and shielding applications.

3). Multi-layer flexible circuits

These circuits are used in complex and high dense design specifications. They are significant since many conductors can be interwoven into a smaller package. Multi-layer flex circuits are the best circuits to use in order to overcome design challenges like specific resistance requirements, unavoidable cross-overs and in eliminating crosstalk in very sensitive circuits. For information about how you can use PCBs to come up with a flex circuit, please visit us at our site https://www.rushpcb.co.uk

4). Rigid-flex circuits

Rigid-flex circuits are a combination of flex and rigid circuits so they combine the advantages of the 2 circuits. They are a hybrid construction made of flexible and rigid substrates which are laminated together in a single package. As if that is not enough, these circuits can be interconnected by means of plate-through holes. Different from that, rigid-flex circuits are multilayer designs even though it is possible to come up with a two-layer design. These circuits find vast applications in some microelectronic chip-packaging applications like in constructing hearing aids. Additionally, they are used in military product design.

All the types of flexible circuits have provided viable solutions to existing problems especially in the electronics world. We at RushPCB believe that the sky is the only limit in the advancement of flex circuits and technology at large. We are ready to help you understand more about flex circuits and get to design some using PCBs. Please visit us at https://www.rushpcb.co.uk/quote/