Rigid PCB VS Flexible PCB

Views: 53     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-05-14      Origin: Site

Printed Circuit Boards are an essential component of electronic appliances and gadgets. The printed circuit boards are responsible for the smooth flow of electricity within an electrical circuit. Different gadgets require different types of printed circuit boards. There are two major printed circuit board types:
Rigid Printed Circuit Board (Rigid PCB)
Flexible Printed Circuit Board (Flexible PCB)

Some Similarities and Differences Between Rigid PCBs and Flex Circuits

All conventional devices can work with both types of printed circuit boards. However flexible circuit boards are ideal for complex electric circuits. Almost all new and modern electronic devices use flexible circuit boards or a combination of rigid and flexible PCBs. Such circuits are known as Rigid Flex PCBs. Even though many electronic devices can work with both types of circuit and a combination of both circuits can be great, there are still some significant similarities and differences between the two printed circuit boards.

As the name implies, flexible printed circuit boards can bend and twist, but rigid circuit boards cannot. The flexibility of a flexible circuit gives it an advantage over a rigid printed circuit board.

Manufacturing Process
The materials used to make flexible circuits are significantly different from those used to make rigid circuits. Flexible printed circuit boards are covered with flexible layers, where rigid printed circuit boards have solid solder masks.This also reduces the weight of the flexible printed circuit board.

Thickness Level Of The Board

Rigid printed circuit boards are thicker than flexible ones. Flexible printed circuit boards can be very thin.Flexible circuit boards can even be as thin as 0.2mm. By name, a flexible printed circuit board must be very thin, as some electronic devices may require a bendable printed circuit board.

Softness of Printed Circuit Board
Rigid PCBs are also called hard boards and flexible circuit boards are called soft boards. The flexible circuit board has to be soft as it needs to bend and twist.

Shape of Printed Circuit Board
Rigid board has a standard square and rectangle where the shape of a flexible printed circuit board can be variable. The shape depends mostly on the type of electronic equipment the circuits are going to be utilized.

Capacity of Current Carrying
Rigid printed circuit boards are superior to flexible printed circuit boards. Flexible PCB can have a curved shape that does not encourage smooth flow of current, while rigid PCB can have a straight line of current. This improves the carrying capacity of rigid printed circuit boards.

Space Occupancy
Considering that complex circuits are placed in a small device, the best choice for a printed circuit board is a flexible circuit board. Flexible printed circuit boards can be bent to any shape to fit the size of the corresponding device. This is why majority of smaller devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, use flexible printed circuit boards.

There is no specific way to calculate the price of a printed circuit board because the price of a printed circuit board may vary by shape, size, type, and design. Generally, rigid circuit boards are cheaper than flexible circuits. However, this is not always the case. Flexible circuit boards usually have fewer components, which reduces the material and assembly costs of the final product. Therefore, in this case, the flexible circuit is more cost-effective.

Flexible circuit boards are certainly useful, but they are not going to replace rigid circuit boards for all applications. Cost efficiency is the main obstacle to implementing an exclusively flexible circuit board design in a consumer product. Rigid circuit boards are less expensive to manufacture and install in a typical automated high-volume fabricating facility.

Typically, the ideal solution for an innovative product is one that incorporates flexible circuitry when necessary, and employs solid, reliable rigid circuit boards where possible to keep manufacturing and assembly costs down.

Onlitex creates both flexible and printed circuit boards for product manufacturers and electronic engineers. Enjoy a consultation with one of our sales reps to find out if your product prototype design is best served by flexible or rigid circuit board types.

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