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The Cost Is Expensive, Why Choose Rigid-flex PCB Board?


Rigid and Flexible PCB is a combination of Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) and Printed Circuit Board (PCB). After a specific manufacturing process, they are combined together to have the characteristics of FPC and PCB and function. This combination allows the advantages of both flexible and rigid circuits to be obtained on one board, thus adapting to a wider range of application requirements.

The development of rigid-flex boards stems from the continuous innovation needs in the design and manufacturing of electronic products. It combines the flexibility, thinness and adaptability of flexible circuit boards with the stability and reliability of rigid circuit boards. This makes rigid-flex boards extremely valuable in many areas.

Application Fields of Rigid and Flexible PCB

1. Medical Equipment

●Medical monitoring equipment: Rigid-flex PCB is used in portable devices such as heart rate monitors and blood pressure monitors to achieve flexible, lightweight design and long-term comfortable wearing.

● Medical imaging equipment: Flexible cables and sensors in medical imaging equipment such as X-rays, CT scanners, ultrasound equipment, etc. often use rigid-flex PCBs to allow them to adapt to diverse shapes.

2. Consumer Electronics

● Smartphones and tablets: Rigid-flex PCB is used to connect and support various components inside the device, such as screens, cameras, touch screens, etc.

● Wearable devices: Flexible components and circuits in portable devices such as smart watches and fitness trackers usually use rigid-flex PCBs to achieve thin, lightweight and flexible designs.

3. Aerospace

● Flight control systems: Rigid-flex PCBs are used in avionics equipment such as flight controllers and communication systems to provide reliability and high performance.

● Satellite Communications: Electronics in satellites and space probes often need to be able to withstand extreme temperature and vibration conditions, and rigid-flex PCBs excel in these environments.

4. Automotive Electronics

● Automotive instrument panels: Rigid-flex PCBs are used in instrument panels inside vehicles to support displays, instrumentation and control systems, as well as to provide reliable electrical connections.

● Safety systems: Rigid-flex PCBs are used in automobile safety systems, such as airbag control and braking systems, to ensure quick response in emergencies.

5. Military Technology

● Communication equipment: Military communication equipment requires a high degree of reliability and durability, and rigid-flex PCBs are used to meet these requirements.

● Drones and Military Aircraft: Rigid-flex PCBs are used in navigation, communication and monitoring systems in drones and aircraft in military applications.

These application cases highlight the versatility and adaptability of rigid-flex PCBs and their importance in a variety of critical areas. Rigid-flex PCBs not only provide flexibility in product design but also provide superior performance and reliability under harsh environmental conditions.

Rigid-flex Board PCB Application

In Hardware Design, Rigid-flex PCB Cost Is Not A Key Factor  

The widespread use of rigid-flex PCBs in the electronics field has proven its worth, but some still believe that adopting rigid-flex PCBs will result in high costs. The reason why Rigid-flex PCB are valuable and not cheap is because they have the following characteristics and reasons

1. Technical Complexity  

Rigid-flex board PCBs are multi-layered, consisting of a flexible material (usually Mylar or polyimide) and a rigid material (usually fiberglass-reinforced epoxy). Designing and manufacturing such structures requires complex engineering and processing techniques.

2. Custom Design  

Rigid-flex PCB designs often need to be customized to meet the needs of a specific application. This means each project requires unique design work, increasing development costs.

3. Material Costs 

Flexible materials and high-performance rigid materials are relatively expensive. In addition, the production of Rigid-flex PCB requires special processes and equipment, further increasing the cost.

4. Manufacturing Complexity  

The manufacturing process of Rigid-flex board PCB requires more steps and processes, including lamination, drilling, material bonding, chemical etching, etc. These complex manufacturing steps also increase manufacturing costs.

5. High Reliability Requirements  

Rigid-flex boards are often used in applications that require extremely high reliability and stability, such as medical equipment and military equipment. Meeting these requirements requires the use of high-quality materials and manufacturing processes, which increases costs.

6. Low-volume Production  

Since rigid-flex PCBs are usually used in high-end applications in specific fields, their production volumes are relatively small, which also results in higher unit costs.

In general, the reason why rigid-flex PCBs are valuable and not cheap is due to their complex design and manufacturing processes, high-performance material requirements, and the challenges of meeting high reliability and specific application requirements. These factors combine to drive up the cost of rigid-flex PCBs.

Rigid-flex PCB has characteristics and high costs reasons
Rigid-flex PCB Has Characteristics and High-cost Reasons

Rigid-flex PCB is Designed with Attention to Detail  

The design of rigid-flex PCB (Rigid-flex PCB) requires special attention to some important details to ensure its reliability, performance and functionality.

● Bending Area Design  

In rigid-flex boards, the flexible part needs to be able to bend and fold, so the bending area needs to be carefully designed. Be sure to use adequate bend radii in these areas to avoid stress concentrations on the circuit board, thereby reducing possible cracks and disconnections.

● Flexible Material Selection      

Selecting the appropriate flex material is critical to the performance of a rigid-flex PCB. Common flexible materials include polyester films (such as PI films), polyimide (PI) and polyamide films. Materials are selected considering their thermal stability, flexibility and electrical properties.

● Bending and Torsion Analysis      

During the design phase, bending and torsion analysis is performed to ensure that the rigid-flex PCB can withstand the required bending and torsion in actual use while maintaining electrical properties without compromising.

● Testing and Verification            

After the design is completed, rigorous testing and verification are performed to ensure that the performance and reliability of the rigid-flex PCB meet expectations. This includes electrical testing, bending testing, durability testing, etc.

To sum up, the design of Rigid-flex PCB requires comprehensive consideration of multiple factors. Careful design and testing can ensure that Rigid-flex PCB performs well in actual applications and meets its design goals.

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