Rigid-flex PCB

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Rigid-flex PCB
Rigid-flex PCB is a balanced combination of advantages from both flexible and rigid printed circuit board (FPC and PCB respectively).

Rigid-flex PCB is originated in developed countries like US, Europe, and Japan. It gets popular in China currently. It is mainly used in the following applications and industries, consumer electronics, medical appliances, automotive electronics, precision instruments, and space flight and aviation.

Rigid-flex PCB is a new type of high durability and adaptability printed circuit board that can be applied to 3D cubic packaging. It can effectively reduce the size of electronic products, prevent from linking error, and realize lightness, intelligentization, and compatibility. Furthermore, it strengthens flexibility of assembling. Nowadays it has been widely used and got a great amount of attention. Its application includes but is not limited to business and industries of space, military, mobile communication, laptop, computer peripheral and digital camera.

Production Flow
Due to its feature of combination, the manufacturing of Rigid-flex PCB needs both FPC and PCB production facility. As the first step, the electronic engineer needs to draw the circuit and outline of the board based on requirement. Then the prototype is sent to the qualified factory and it will be processed and programmed by CAM engineer. FPC and PCB will be produced respectively. When the flex and rigid boards are manufactured, the FPC and PCB will be pressed in seamlessly. There is a series of detail steps. Last but not least, there is one more important step. Since it is a difficult task to produce a Rigid-flex PCB and the product is costly and features details, a full inspection before delivery is necessary.

Advantages:
1.    Combines features of both FPC and PCB
2.    Can be shaped to fit where no other design can
3.    Package size and weight reduction

Disadvantages:
More manufacturing procedures lead to more material and manpower investment. Thus it is more expensive and needs a longer production period.

Applications:
Its hybrid feature decides Rigid-flex PCB can be used in all applications and industries that FPC and PCB can do. Name a few.
Mobile phones
Keypads
PC
Motherboard
Display Screen
CD players