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When to use rigid and flex in PCB manufacturing

When to use rigid pcb and when to use flex pcb

The cost of rigid pcb is usually lower than that of flex pcb. I say “usually” because when considering the total cost of ownership, some applications use flexible PCB cheaper than rigid pcb. In order to truly and accurately understand the total cost of ownership, you first need to understand the fact that flexible circuits can eliminate the need for components such as connectors, wiring harness and other circuit boards. By removing these components from the design, material costs, labor and assembly costs, and scrap costs can be reduced.

Rigid pcb
Rigid pcb

Many electronic devices (portable and desktop computers, audio keyboards, solid-state drives (SSDs), flat-panel TVs and displays, children’s toys and various electronic products) use rigid pcb instead of flex PCB. However, flexible circuits may appear in ultra compact and / or high-performance devices, including GPS devices, tablets, smart phones, cameras and wearable devices.

Complexity is not the only reason to use flexible circuits; in some cases, less technical applications such as LED lights may use flexible circuit technology because it makes installation easier.

The difference between rigid pcb and flexible PCB

Most electronic products use traditional rigid pcb. However, technology has developed, and many products give up rigid PCBs because they cannot be folded or twisted. This inspired the idea of flexible PCB and soon became a prerequisite for most professionals on the market.

The manufacturing process of rigid and flexible PCB is the same, but they are different in flexibility, flexibility and cost. In terms of material handling, some additional measures are needed to handle Flex PCB. Proper specifications are also required to prevent any broken solder joints when bending the circuit board.

The cost of flex PCB is higher than that of rigid pcb. However, what we mean here is the single cost of flexible PCB. The total cost of projects using rigid pcb may be higher than that of flexible PCB, but the single cost of flexible PCB will be higher.

Many low-cost electronic products use rigid pcb, including audio keyboard, desktop devices, solid-state drives, toys and many electronic products. However, flexible circuits are observed in ultra-high performance devices because they do not contain connectors thinner than rigid boards and can be used in smartphones, cameras, tablets and GPS control systems.

Both rigid and flexible plates can be combined to form a unified product with strength and flexibility. The design of some flexible PCB is the same as that of rigid circuit board, but not the same as that of rigid circuit board. Flexible PCB provides flexible and bending solutions, they also need less space, and most of them are single-sided PCB.



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