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Rigid flex board–a combination of rigid PCB and flexible PCB

Rigid-Flex-Board

Printed Circuit Board or PCB is the fundamental building blocks of modern electronics. Some PCB related contents such as PCB assembly (PCBA), PCB design, etc. have been introduced in detail in the articles on our website.If you want to know more about PCB, you can browse our other articles. In this article, we’ll explain the types of PCB and one of them-rigid flex PCB.

What is PCB?

PCBPCB is short for printed circuit boards. PCB is the carrier of various electronic components to provide mechanical support and conductive path. It is mainly used in medical and industrial equipment, lighting, as well as in the automotive and aerospace industries. The first PCB were made by manually etching copper tracks onto a laminated sheet of paper or glass. From the invention of Austrian Paul eisler in 1936 to the present, the technology has developed more and more advanced. In this article, we will learn about PCB and its classifications, and more importantly, introduce one of the composite PCB – rigid flex PCB.

What are the types of PCB?

There are many types of PCB. According to different structures, materials, performance and application scenarios, they can be simply divided into common two categories.
According to the number of layers of copper foil :

One layer
Two layers
Multi-layer

According to rigidity properties:
Rigid PCB
Flexible PCB
Rigid-Flex PCB

As the name implies, rigid-flexible PCB is a combination of rigid and flexible. To understand the rigid-flexible PCB , we must first understand the rigid and flexible PCB respectively, together with the analysis of their two definitions, materials and differences, as well as the final full understanding of the rigid-flexible PCB.

What are Rigid PCB, and Flex PCB?

rigid-PCB-vs-flexible-PCBPCBs are usually classified into two main types: rigid and flexible.

The rigid type is made of FR-4, a flame-retardant plastic with a glass cloth laminated to it. The glass cloth makes the board stiffer, which helps to prevent cracking when the board is bent or flexed. The rigid type is usually used for fixed-mounted devices such as power supplies and resistors, as well as connectors.

It can control the cost to complete the mass production and shorten the delivery time.The common thicknesses of rigid PCB are 0.2mm, 0.4mm, 0.6mm, 0.8mm, 1.0mm, 1.2mm, 1.6mm, 2.0mm, etc.

The flexible printed circuit (FPC) is is also known as a flex circuit or foil circuit and is made of polyimide (PI) film laminated to Kapton polyimide film. The PI film is a thermoset plastic that can be heated above its softening point and stretched without losing its shape.

Flex circuits are typically used in portable electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops, and MP3 players because they allow these devices to be curved or folded without damaging their electrical connections.It has the characteristics of high wiring density, light weight, thin thickness and good bendability.

The common thickness of flexible PCB is 0.2mm, and the thickening layer will be added behind the soldered parts, and the thickness of the thickening layer is 0.2mm, 0.4mm, etc.

What is the difference between rigid and flexible boards?

Rigid PCBs are the most common type of PCBs used in manufacturing today. Flexible PCBs are also becoming more and more widespread.There are many differences between the two PCB types, which help us to choose the PCB.
● materials
A rigid PCB is made from a thin sheet of fibreglass-reinforced epoxy laminate, which is then etched to leave copper traces that connect the various conductive paths on the board. Common materials for flexible PCBs include: polyester film, polyimide film, and fluorinated ethylene propylene film.

Flexibility, as its name suggests, flexible circuit boards are bendable and have a high degree of flexibility. Besides, flexible PCB is bendable and flexible enough to be rolled up into a tube or folded into a box shape. Rigid PCB cannot be bent at will and are much harder.
● Circuit board thickness
FPC is thinner than rigid circuit boards.The common thickness of flexible PCB is 0.2mm, but it is difficult for the rigid PCB.
● Applications
Flexible PCB is more ideal for wearable electronics and medical devices, foldable phones, sensors and implants, etc. than the rigid PCB
● Cost
Flexible circuits usually cost more than rigid circuit boards.

We have already understood rigid and flexible PCBs and their differences. Next, let’s get to know their combination – rigid flex PCB. Take a look at its materials, applications, advantages and manufacturing process, and think about whether it will replace the other two types of PCB?

What is a rigid flex board?

rigid-flex-boardThe rigid flex PCBA is also called “rigid flex” for short, and it’s a product that combines the flexibility of a PCB with the rigidity of a printed circuit board.The rigid flex board is a type of printed circuit board (PCB) popular in the electronics industry nowadays, which is also a trend.

A rigid flex board works like an ordinary PCB but can be bent and flexed without breaking or cracking. Rigid flex board is often used for applications such as portable electronics because you can bend them to fit into tight spaces and still have full functionality afterwards.

The major difference between rigid flex board and other types of PCBA is that rigid flex board is made from flexible materials like polyimide film instead of glass-reinforced epoxy resins. Rigid flex board can be bent up to 180 degrees without breaking or cracking, making it ideal for portable devices like cell phones or laptops that need to bend around corners in order to fit into tight spaces.

What is rigid flex board material?

Rigid flex board is made of flexible plastic that is laminated to a rigid core. The flexible plastic acts as a hinge, allowing you to bend the board in one direction. Because of this hinge, rigid flex boards are not recommended for applications where they will be bent or folded repeatedly.

The rigid core can be made out of a number of different materials, including paperboard, cardboard or polystyrene. The type of material used will determine the stiffness of the board, as well as its weight and thickness. Rigid flex board is available in different sizes and thicknesses with different types of surface finishes including matte, gloss or silk-screened.

Rigid flex board is often used for creative designs that require folding and bending without damaging the printed surface or causing creases or wrinkles in the material. They’re also used for packaging products such as magazines and brochures because they allow for easy folding without creating any damage to the printed design on the front side.
Rigid-Flex-PCB

Where are rigid flex boards used?

Rigid flex board is used in many applications where it is necessary or desirable to bend or flex the printed circuit board during operation. They can be used as part of an electronic device such as a cell phone or laptop computer, but they are also commonly used in medical devices such as patient monitoring equipment, medical diagnostics equipment, and dental x-ray machines because they allow for easy manipulation without damaging circuitry located on the board’s surface.

What are the advantages of a rigid flex board?

The advantages of the rigid flex board are:
▄ It’s flexible, so it can easily be bent, rolled and folded.
▄ It’s lightweight, making it easy to transport and store.
▄ It doesn’t require special tools or equipment to use.
▄ Rigid flex board can be made in any size that you need for your project.

How are rigid flex boards made?

how-are-rigid-flex-PCB-madeThe process of manufacturing an RFB is similar to other PCBs. The boards are cut from large sheets of copper-clad laminate using a CNC machine or router. Then they’re drilled, etched and cleaned before being silkscreened with copper foil on one side of the board. The other side of the board is lined with Kapton tape before it’s laminated with a material such as a Polyimide or FR408 adhesive (a high-temperature silicone rubber).

Once they’ve been assembled, they’re tested again by applying a voltage between two points on each layer to make sure there are no shorts between any conductors on different layers. If there are no shorts, then the boards are inspected visually for any defects like missing traces or solder bridges between PCB pads that could cause problems during use.

Check out IBE Electronics for more information about rigid flex board and its applications. With printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) and high-quality manufacturing services, IBE Electronics will help you get your job done right.

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