Advantages of Flexible PCB | disadvantages of Flexible PCB

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Flexible PCB (i.e. Flex PCB). It mentions Flexible PCB advantages or benefits and Flexible PCB disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is Flexible PCB?

• Flexible PCB as the name suggets can be bent, folded and twisted unlike rigid PCB.
• Here electronic components are mounted on flexible plastic substrates such as polyimide or transparent conductive polyester film.
• It is manufactured using photolithographic technique. The other way is to laminate thin copper strips between the two layers of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate). These PET layers are about 0.05 mm thick and are coated with adhesive.

Flexible PCB

• The flexible PCBs are used in space constrained devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, smart wearables such as smart ring and so on.
• Flexible PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) are manufactured in following structure types.
- Single sided
- Double sided
- Multilayer
- Rigid-flex
- Polymer thick film
• The specifications of rigid PCBs and flexible PCBs are defined in various IPC standards such as IPC-2221A, IPC-2223, IPC-4101, IPC-4202, IPC-4203, IPC-4204 etc.

Benefits or advantages of Flexible PCB

Following are the benefits or advantages of Flexible PCB:
➨The major benefit is that it can be bent, shaped, folded and twisted in various configurations unlike rigid PCB.
➨It eliminates use of connectors, rigid circuit boards and wire harnesses.
➨It is possible to arrange flexible PCBs in various stacked configurations.
➨Single sided flexible PCB structures are used for high flex applications.
➨It is easy to install.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Flexible PCB

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Flexible PCB:
➨It has higher cost compare to rigid PCBs in certain applications. This is due to poor utilization of panel.
➨There is high probability of damage during handling.
➨It uses complex assembly process.
➨It is difficult to repair or perform any rework in case of faults or issues.

Conclusion: In order to utilize benefits of both rigid PCB and flexible PCB, combination of both have been used in majority of applications.

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