Flex circuits are made by etching copper-cladded polyimide film to produce a flexible circuit. Because polyimide film is so temperature stable, the flow soldering process can be utilized to take advantage of high efficiency electronic component placement.
Major Advantages of Flex Circuits
Reduced Space & Weight
Compared to standard Printed Circuit Boards (.063” thick), flex circuits provide a dramatic decrease in package size and weight. Flex circuits, which are typically .004”-.010” thick are even thinner and lighter than traditional cable options.
Solution to Interconnect Challenges
Interconnect problems can often be solved by flex circuits, which integrate the interconnects into the part. This eliminates the need for expensive cables and connectors.
Reduction in Assembly Costs
With the interconnections built into the flex circuit, there is often less connectors and thus soldering required. Additionally, the ability to pre-form the flex circuit assembly a well as its inherent flexibility, allows quicker installation, particularly in hard-to-reach areas.
High Performance, Flexibility
Certain applications simply require that the circuit and cable be flexible. Compared to other flexible options, flex circuits provide superior electrical and mechanical performance.
What is the difference between Flex Circuits and other types of circuits?:
Flex Circuit or FPC: Copper-cladded film (usually polyimide)
that is chemically etched to produce a specific circuit pattern.
Printed Circuit or Membrane Switch Circuit: Conductive Polymer Ink, usually silver, screen printed on thin film, typically polyester, to create a specific circuit pattern.
Flat Flexible Cable or FFC: Thin copper conductors that
are laminated between two layers of polyester insulators to create a cable.
Printed Circuit Boards (PCB): Copper-cladded, fiberglass reinforced (rigid), laminate that is chemically etched to produce
a specific circuit pattern.
GUIDELINES TO DESIGNING FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS will help ensure that all aspects of product design are considered to maximize the aesthetic quality, reliability, and efficiency of the final product.