Flexible Circuits Open Up a World of Possibilities

Category: Circuit Board AssemblyPublished on 2017 Oct, 19Author Telan

Flexible circuits are perfect for applications where flexibility, space, or production constraints limit the use of rigid printed circuit boards.

Flexible circuits are thin, light-weight electrical circuits that have the ability to conform to small spaces and contoured shapes. They consist of a thin insulating polymer with conductive circuit patterns affixed to them. Originally designed as a replacement for traditional wire harnesses, they saw their first applications in World War II. While this technology has existed in one form or another for decades, it is now considered one of the most important technologies used in the manufacturing of today’s advanced electronics.

Flexible circuits can be manufactured using identical components to rigid printed circuit boards, providing the same functions while allowing the board to conform to a desired shape or flex during its use. They are often used as connectors where flexibility, space savings, or production constraints limit the use of rigid PCBs. In the automotive industry, flexible circuits are used in instrument panels and ABS systems. They also find widespread use in cell phones, cameras, exercise monitors, and various mobile devices.

Benefits of Flexible Circuits

  • Reduced size and weight - flexible circuits can be up to 70% lighter than a rigid PCB

  • Improved electronic packing - solves packing and interconnect issues based on the ability to form, bend, and move

  • All in one solution - get the best attributes of wire, cable, connectors and printed circuit boards in one package

  • Heat dissipation - can withstand high temperatures produced by high power applications

  • Electrical integration - can create tailored solutions through a wide array of material choices, plating, and designs

The 4 Types of Flexible Circuits

  1. Single sided circuit - A single layer of metal traces on one side of a dielectric layer. These are ideal for dynamic or high-flex applications.

  2. Double sided circuit - A single dielectric layer with metal traces on both sides. The metal traces are often connected by metalized thru-holes.

  3. Multi-layer circuit - Multiple copper layers separated and encapsulated by dielectric layers.

  4. Rigid flex circuit - A multi-layer circuit where some of the layers are rigid boards and others are flexible circuitry.

Telan Corp: Your Choice for Flexible Circuits

Flexible circuits can be bent, folded, and configured into practically any shape or thickness imaginable. This gives designers a wide array of options when creating an electronics package, since they are not faced with the size and space limitations of traditional rigid PCBs.

For over 35 years, Telan has been a trusted PCB assembly service and flexible circuit board manufacturer. If you are looking for a company to produce your flexible circuits, trust the experts at Telan to meet all your assembly needs. Call us today at 215-997-7603.

Photo: Nick Johnson, Flickr Creative Commons


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