Rigid flex printed circuit boards are boards using a combination of flexible and rigid board technologies in an application. Most rigid flex boards consist of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates attached to one or more rigid boards externally and/or internally, depending upon the design of the application. The flexible substrates are designed to be in a constant state of flex and are usually formed into the flexed curve during manufacturing or installation.
Because of a strong network with the best rigid flex PCB manufacturers, San Francisco Circuits can provide our customers with rigid flex combination boards with a great variety of technologies, from complex multilayer rigid flex for commercial applications to high reliability mil-spec printed circuit boards.
Rigid Flex PCB Fabrication Applications
Rigid flexible PCBs offer a wide array of applications, ranging from military weaponry and aerospace systems to cell phones and digital cameras. Increasingly, rigid flex board fabrication has been used in medical devices such as pacemakers for their space and weight reduction capabilities. The same advantages for rigid flex PCB usage can be applied to military weaponry and weapon control systems
Rigid Flex PCB Technology and Production Process
Whether producing a rigid flex prototype or production quantities requiring large scale rigid flex PCB fabrication and PCB assembly, the technology is well proven and reliable. The flex PCB portion is particularly good in overcoming space and weight issues with spatial degrees of freedom.
The rigid flex manufacturing phase is also more complex and time consuming than rigid board fabrication. All the flexible components of the rigid flex assembly have completely different handling, etching and soldering processes than rigid FR4 boards.
• Space requirements can be minimized by applying 3D
• By removing the need for connectors and cables between the individual rigid parts the board size and overall system weight can be reduced.
• By maximizing space, there is often a lower count in parts.
• Less solder joints assure higher connection reliability.
• Handling during assembly is easier in comparison with flexible boards.
• Simplified PCB assembly processes.
• Integrated ZIF contacts provide simple modular interfaces to the system environment.
• Test conditions are simplified. A complete test prior to installation becomes possible.
• Logistical and assembly costs are significantly reduced with flex-rigid boards.
• It is possible to increase the complexity of mechanical designs, which also improves the degree of freedom for
optimized housing solutions.Rigid Flex Design and Fabrication Issues
During the rigid flex PCB design process, certain considerations must be taken into account for final product size variations. In the manufacture of rigid flex boards, the flexible polyimide core will shrink once the bonded copper foil is etched away. This variation must be accounted for in the design process.