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Clearing the Debate about Rigid vs. Flexible Circuits

Clearing the Debate about Rigid vs. Flexible Circuits

Dec 22,2015

Since the creation of flex andrigid-flex PCBs, there have been debates whether these types are betterthan the traditional rigid PCBs. One can argue and say one circuit boardis better than the other. But it is not so much the design as much asthe market need. Earlier, the device had to be designed to fit thecircuit board. Today, the PCB design needs to be created to fit thedevice.

The reason is that modern electronicdevices are becoming smaller, but are expected to be faster. Also, theyrequire circuits that will allow for the transfer of information quicklyand precisely without degradation. Flexible printed circuit boards canmeet this requirement.

How Flex PCBs are Beneficial

The advantages of flexible printedboards proves that they are the right solutions to meet the needs ofelectronic devices today.

  • Reduction of PCB Size and Weight: Flexiblecircuits are known to be thin and lightweight. They can also be foldedor creased for placement in confined spaces. All these aspects result ina reduction of the size and weight of the PCB. This can be a hugeadvantage over wire harnesses.
  • Design Versatility: Flex circuits are capable ofaccepting any kind of connector or component used in rigid PCBs. It canbe designed with different types of components and methods, such ascrimped contacts, ZIF connectors, and direct solder to PCB method. Theycan also be designed with RF or EMI shielding for certain applications.
  • Cost-Effective: As the size and weight of the PCBpackage will be reduced, it will also reduce costs related to materialsand manufacturing. Fewer machines will be required for the assemblyprocess. A simpler assembly process will result in fewer errors in thefinal product.
  • Application Variety: The versatility of flexiblePCBs does not just stop at its design. These circuits can be used in avariety of industrial and commercial applications.

It is for these reasons that flexible PCBs are considered to be a better choice for todays applications than their predecessors.

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