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Why should you use Rigid-Flex PCBs

Yaniv Maydar


21st March ,2024


The flexible substrate functionality of Rigid-Flex or Flex-Rigid PCBs offers greater spatial efficiency in achieving sub-compact packaging at a significantly reduced product weight. Designed in a 3D space, flexible board substrates can twist, fold, and roll into almost any desired shape and size to accommodate final package placement. The Rigid-Flex materials consist of polyimide on a Cu cladding substrate connected to an FR4 rigid board. Most rigid flex boards feature multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates with via-hole interconnects and can be attached both externally or internally to one or more rigid boards. Driven by its unique advantages in size, weight, flexibility, and performance, market demand for Rigid-Flex PCBs is strong and growing.

Key Advantages of Rigid-flex PCBs:

  • High Reliability: No need for board-to-board connectors and less solder joints on the board level. Potential failure points are fewer, with increased circuit consistency.
  • Miniaturization: Reduced packaging requirements with one integrated unit replacing multiple connectors, wire harnesses, etc. The ability to bend and fold into small spaces makes them indispensable for today’s electronics: laptops, cameras, robotics, automotive control, medical devices, and wearables.
  • Better Testing: Interconnections are tested at the board manufacturing level, easier to integrate into hardware. With subcircuits connected to the main design, automating the complete testing of rigid-flex PCBs is viable.
  • Cost Efficiency: The Small board size with fewer connector assemblies reduces the number of components and their associated assembly costs. It is relatively cheaper than flex PCBs but offers the same flex circuit advantages.

Advantages of Rigid-flex PCBs

Challenges of Rigid-flex: The challenges unique to Rigid-flex boards over conventional rigid PCBs deal chiefly with designing in 3 dimensions. Other challenges involve materials’ matching and the alignment between the flexible layers and the rigid structure, a considerable drawback for both assembly and lamination processes. However, you can rely on PCB Technologies’ vast experience in the field to overcome any obstacles.

The Way Forward: To enjoy all the advantages of Rigid-flex PCBs, you’ll need a highly experienced Rigid-flex PCB manufacturer. Much of PCB Technologies’ current capabilities are focused on complex board design and fabrication, which supports the hybrid construction of Rigid-flex boards. We combine RF with our specially developed low CTE organic substrate materials in the rigid construction segment, providing highly effective thermal management of electronic devices.

Rigid-flex PCBs

Rigid-flex Substrates for 3D IC packaging is made by PCB Technologies’ subsidiary company iNPACK.

Our iNPACK Devision offers complete package PCB miniaturization assembly solutions for both low and high-volume requirements. This includes SiP technology and manufacturing, surface mount tech (BGA package sizes, QFN: ceramic QFN, plastic QFN, organic substrate QFN), chip on board (COB), microfabrication, substrate design, and manufacturing capabilities.

Does your project design need an innovative, high-efficiency solution? Rigid-flex PCBs may provide the answer.
Check our PCB solutions.

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