July 5, 2019 by mark wahlbarg
Flexible electronics which are also known as a Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) is a technology for assembling electronic circuits by fitting devices on Flexible Plastic Substrates that include conductive film, PEEK, or polyimide.
The field of a flexible printed circuit (FPC) extends from consumer products to high-tech devices in the fields of medical device manufacturers or aerospace and opens up a large number of innovative applications.
The flexible printed circuits, which can be adapted to the installation options, ensure a secure connection of moving parts. In addition to the electrical, the flexible printed circuit always exerts a mechanical function. For example, when assembled subregions are connected to one another over different levels, in spatial arrangements, or must withstand bending or dynamic loads.
At the same time, the FPC opens up new areas of application in the assembly and connection technology of assembly sealing with individual design, through system integration and complete wiring of electronic assemblies. Through the hot-melt encapsulation technique, the wiring is an integral part of the assembly seal with individual design. The circuits are available with different packaging options.
Here are the main advantages of a Flexible Printed Circuit:
1. Reduced weight and size:
Flex circuits offer a dramatic reduction in weight and size of the package compared to normally printed circuit boards and flex circuits. Usually just 0.004 inches to 0.010 inches thick, lighter and thinner than traditional cable options.
2. The solution to join challenges:
Connection problems can be solved often by flexible circuits that integrate the connections into the part. Thus, flexible circuits eliminate the need for expensive connectors and cables.
3. Reduction of assembly costs:
With the connections built into the flex circuit, fewer connectors are needed, and so less soldering. The ability to perform the flex circuit assembly, along with its inherent flexibility, enables faster installation, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
4. High performance and flexibility:
Certain applications simply require circuits that can flex. Compared to other flexible options, flex circuits provide excellent electrical and mechanical performance.
Below are brief descriptions of the most common circuits:
Flex Circuit, Flexible Circuit or FPC: A Copper coated film which is chemically etched to create a specific circuit pattern.
Printed Circuit or Membrane Switch Circuit: Conductive polymer ink, typically silver, is printed on a thin film, typically polyester, to create a specific circuit pattern.
Flexible Flat Cable or FFC: Thin copper conductors laminated between 2 layers of the polyester insulator to form a cable.
Printed Circuit Board: Copper clad, glass fiber reinforced (rigid) laminate that is chemically etched to create a specific circuit pattern.
Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) is no easy replacement for wiring, its features and applications are far-reaching. But PRINTEC have years of experience in producing FPCs.