Flexible PCB Technology

Flexible PCB Technology

Flexible PCB

Flexible PCB are bendable, tensile-strength enables, and physically flexible circuitry with really thinner substrates. They may also be shaped into sophisticated three-dimensional designs for a variety of purposes, including aerospace piloting heads-up projections and wearable technologies.


Acrylic is used for the foundation of the Flexible PCB. When comparison to rigid PCB substances, these components have a lower dielectric constant. The Flexible PCB material range in thickness from 0.5 to 5 mils. Its flexible circuit of the printable circuit board is made from a naturally flexible substrate. A polyimide (Kapton) material and the other to many layers of copper are generally used to make Flexible PCB.


The material of a flexible printed circuit board bends without cracking. If the bending creates a wrinkle in the copper, it will most certainly crack. A flexible circuit should not be conflated with an FR4 board that is exceedingly thin and "semi-flexible." Since FR4 is brittle, a thinner (10 mils) FR4 board would flex but ultimately fracture.


Flexible PCB (printed circuit board) development is now moving at such a rapid pace that its industry share is increasing and significant technological progress has been realized. The introduction of new flexible PCB fabricating processes has led to a variety of opportunities for flexible PCB due to its benefits of low weight, thinness, and flexibility.


Because the constituent parts of PCB are determined by the performance of the substrate surface, it is critical to first enhance the performances of the substrate material to truly enhance the technological efficiency of PCB, which also applies to Flexible PCB.


Flexible PCB Manufacturing Process

Flexible PCBs are made from polyimide as basic substrates materials. Because this material is much more costly than FR-4, it must be utilized with caution. The nested method is being used to bring circuit boards near to each other in order to make the most of the polyimide materials.

The following are the steps involved in making flexible boards:



The services loops guarantees that the serviced lengths and circuits assembling, that includes the quantity of additional material added above the designer's limitation, are met.


Sizing Conductor

On the circuit, thin copper is utilized as a conducting substance. The circuit's mobility was due to the thinner copper, which makes it appropriate for dynamic purposes.



To compensate for any isotropic loss during the production process, the etched technique is performed. Copper foil thicknesses are 1⁄2 the width of the line losses in this technique. Conductors, etch masks, and the numerous types of conductors employed are all factors that affect line width.



Routing is straightforward. Route reduces tension and makes bending and folding easier.


Ground planes

The use of grounding planes reduces the board's weight and improves circuit mobility.


Before performing filleting, you must first make holes to expand the pad area and split tension. Then, for dynamical flex circuit purposes, add adhesive-backed film. Then, before applying photo imaginable liquids and film polymers that work as a soldering shield and protect the circuit both internally and externally from harm, apply screen-printable fluid overcoats.


Types of Flexible PCB: 

There are 4 major forms of flexible printed circuits board.


Flexible PCB with a single layer 

As the name implies, a single-layer flexible PCB has only 1 conducting layer that rests on top of the flex dielectric film. The only side of the PCB was occupied by electric equipment. In Flexible PCB, the overlayer serves the identical purpose as the soldering cover. A flexible solder mask could be used as a replacement, although it has several drawbacks. The panels were silk-screened with such a flexible white marking pigment, then cutting or beam, verified, and sent.


Flexible PCB with double layers

The conducting layer from both sides of the double-layer flexible PCB allows you to attach electronic equipment on each side of the conducting layer. The connections are formed in a similar way to a double-sided rigid PCB. Certain holes or functional characteristics were etched into the bottom of the naked polyimide, copper-coated sheets. Though hole plated with just an electro-less copper bath is used to make the surfaces and hole conducting. The copper surface was fabricated with a layer of photographic dry films.


PCB with Multiple Layers of Flex

Three or even more conducting layers are divided by a dielectric substance on the multi-layer movable PCB. The uneven lamination enables great board adaptability, and the bonded area often has a thinner laminated. The panel gets cleansed and etched to resist drying film laminated. The dry-film sheets were then exposed and produced either using laser directly image or photographic equipment. The negatives dry film image functions as an etched resistance, causing the undesirable copper to be removed by the etching. After that, the dried film was peeled. After that, the inner layers are sent to AOI for additional treatment.


PCB with Rigid-Flexible

The rigid-Flexible PCB was a hybrid circuit board that combines stiff and flexible circuits to provide greater element densities than a standard circuit board. These were made up of numerous levels that are glued along with adhesives and heating, along with a substrate material, a copper layer, a soldering masking layer, as well as a silken screening layer. Though other circuits boards were single-sided, double-sided, or multi-layered, rigidity PCBs could be either of those. These cannot be edited or amended when it has been created.


Flexible PCB from HDI

High-density interconnects (HDI) is the abbreviation for greater interlink. Relative to many other boards, those circuit innovations were more effective, dependable, and have good product, structure, and arrangement. Because of the thin substrate surface utilized in the fabrication of HDI flexible boards, they have higher electric efficiency and a tiny package area.


Flexible PCB Materials

Polyimide is the most basic style for both flexing core and overlay layer. When contrasted with rigid PCBs, flex technologies have better characteristics of components. Flex material has a consistent thickness and a better Dk value ranged from 3.2 to 3.4. Differences in Dk are eliminated due to the absence of woven glass reinforcing. Polyimide's thickness is also exceptionally consistent thanks to its "cast" production technique. Layered thicknesses typically range between 0.5 to 4 mils.


Electro-deposited or rolling annealed copper is used to clad polyimide flex cores. That copper was extremely thin, and it could be used for both static and dynamic purposes. The copper of 0.5 OZ (0.7mils) is often used in Flexible PCB. The most typical copper weights for Flexible PCB are 0.5 OZ and 1 OZ. The highest amount of copper allowed is 2 OZ. This provides the optimum mix of the narrowest building imaginable.


Flex material was divided into 2 categories:


  • The copper is adhered to the polyimide by acrylic adhesive.
  • This copper is cast straight onto the polyimide without the use of adhesives.


Clad polyimide flex sections with electro-deposited or roller annealing copper. This copper was ultra-thin, but it could be employed for both simple and complex applications. A Flexible PCB, 0.5 OZ (0.7mils) copper was commonly utilized. Copper weights of 0.5 OZ or 1oz seem to be the most common for flexible PCBs. The maximum mass of copper that can be used is 2 OZ. This creates the ideal mixture of the smallest structure possible.


There were two types of flex materials:


  • Acrylic adhesives were used to bind the copper to the polyimide.
  • Without any need for adhesives, the copper has been placed directly onto polyimide.


Flexible PCB typically have looser border tolerances than some other types of circuit boards. That's also because their components are less dimensionally stable than rigid elements. You will also need a hard instrument or laser ripping, which might be costly, dependent on the pattern tolerances.


Because adhesive compounds might soften when warmed, it's critical to make your pads as big as feasible. Spur, anchor, and/or teardrops could all aid to stabilize the outer surface and minimize anxiety. Adhesive difficulties can also be avoided with multi-layer layouts.


Applications of Flexible PCB


Flexible PCB are used for a wide variety of purposes. Cell phones, LCD televisions, antennas, and laptops all use Flexible PCB.

The circuit had improved over time, allowing for greater longevity and dependability. In the aviation industry, Flexible PCB were often utilized.

Flexible PCB were also used for hearing devices, calculators, cameras, printing, and satellite.

Certain forms of electrical technology, such as computers devices, automobiles, hospital instruments, cellphones, and so forth, might require flexible printed circuits board.


Benefits of Flexible PCB


Flex circuit provides several advantages that make them perfect for layouts that need to save weight or space while yet enabling intricate design mobility. Such advantages involve:

  • A flexible circuit allows us to create a route discovery on your print circuit’s boards, resulting in increased durability and reliability.
  • Flex circuit could withstand a wide range of gravitational effects and stressful situations, from dropping the smartphone to launching a rocket, thanks to the components utilized.
  • Flexible PCB can withstand high heat, making them useful for several sectors such as aircraft, army, deep-well oil, and healthcare.
  • Flexible PCB are useful for high-speed digitally signaling programs that allow great signals quality. In actuality, fast speed entails quick-rising times, but anything that impairs the idealized squared waves pulse signal must always be controlled.


This comprehensive article about Flexible PCB is the property of EFPCB and it is all about highlighting the characteristics, merits, and demerits of Flexible PCB along with the materials used in it. To get more information or to get your PCB design done, just write us at sales@efpcb.com.