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Benefits of Using Rigid Flex Circuits
Rigid flex circuits offer the best of both flexible circuits and rigid boards combined together in one circuit. These circuits have been used for more than 20 years in the aerospace and military industries and have a circuitry that consists of several flexible circuit inner layers that have been selectively bonded together with an epoxy Pre-Peg Bonding Film just like the multilayer flexible circuit. The difference is that the multilayer rigid flex circuit uses a board internally, externally or combines both depending on the required design. The rigid flex PCB is simply a two-in-one circuit that is interconnected using plated through holes which provides better quality control and a higher component density.
The rigid design is used in areas requiring extra support while the flexible design is used in areas where extra space is needed and around corners. Combining flexible circuits with rigid boards ensures that you have the most commonly utilized rigid flex circuits combination. Here are some benefits of rigid flex PCBs.
1. Connection Reliability: Rigid flex circuits involve the connection of flexible cables with rigid layers which offers a connection reliability that is second to none. Lack of connectors, contact crimps and solder joints adds to its reliability and integrity especially when used in more demanding and complex applications.
2. High Density Applications: The rigid part of rigid flex circuits is more often than not used in high density devices while the flexible circuits provide extremely narrow lines which allows lighter conductors and denser device populations to be designed together into a product which frees space for other product features.
3. Weight Reduction and Package Size: Rigid boards contain multiple systems that utilize more space and create more weight but a combination of flexible circuits with rigid boards ensures that the final design is more streamlined which significantly reduces package weight and size.
4. Low Part Count: Rid flex Circuits are designed with fewer interconnections and parts compared to the traditional rigid board which means that there is less material procurement and manufacturing costs.
5. Flexible Design Options: Rigid flex circuits are designed to meet extremely complex configurations using a rigid substrate and could consist of any of the following:
- Controlled impedance
- Highly complex configurations
- Reduced interconnections
- multiple layer combinations
Compared to rigid boards, rigid flex circuits are associated with several benefits especially when used in small or large commercial, domestic or industrial electronic systems. The circuit’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures is a superior feature that makes it even more reliable especially in defense and military applications. All these benefits and features make rigid flex PCBs the most convenient and largely utilized in the manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, consumer and power generation sectors.