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Flexible PCB

flexible printed circuit boardFrom prototype to flexible PCB manufacturing, MCL has you covered for all your flexible PCB and rigid-flex PCB needs. Our knowledge and experience manufacturing this specific type of board gives us a competitive edge in the PCB industry. We also require no minimum product amounts on orders and always promise the best price and customer service.

 

Flex PCB Benefits

There are some pretty amazing benefits to using flexible PCB’s.

  • Flexibility
  • Space and weight saving
  • Consistency in thin layers
  • For harsh environment
  • Circuit density is higher
  • Anti/Shock absorbing vibration benefits
  • Bending Cycles
  • Reduces wiring errors
  • Eliminate mechanical connectors
  • Reliability and impedance control greatly improved

flex boardMaterials for Flex Circuits 

As your flexible PCB supplier, MCL offers single-sided, double-sided  and multi-layer flexible circuits in a variety of materials. The materials that MCL works with includes:

  • Coverlays, covercoats and flexible solder masks
  • DuPont, Panasonic and ShengYi custom, branded materials

We recommend you contact us directly in order to determine the best material for your PCB needs. Below are a few more options for you to consider ahead of making that call.

Adhesives

Application requirements and conductor dimensions tend to guide adhesive selection. Popular adhesives include:

  • Acrylic
  • Epoxy
  • Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs)
  • Adhesive-free base materials

Finishes

You can choose between a variety of final finishes that allow you to accomplish a variety of assembly requirements and end-use needs. Finishes we see many people use to help ensure application success include:

  • Carbon
  • Hard Gold Fingers
  • Hard Nickel
  • Immersion Tin
  • Immersion Silver
  • Organic Materials
  • Silver
  • Solder
  • Tin
  • Wire-Bondable Electrolytic Gold


Insulators

Insulators are a must, and you’ll need the right material to match your PCB, or else you risk failure over the long-term. PCB insulators combine coverlay materials and flexible substrates in a variety of form factors and thicknesses. Some of the most-used insulators include:

  • Flexible Solder Mask
  • Photo Image-able Coverlay
  • Polyester
  • Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN)
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • Polyimide
  • Screen-Printed Dielectric Insulation
  • Solder Mask

Aluminum PCB

flex circuitWhat Are Flexible PCB’s Used For?

Flexible PCB’s are typically used in small electronic products like cell phones, tablets and other similar smaller gadgets on the market today. A flex PCB is essentially the same thing as a non-flex board except the flexible PCB uses a flexible based material to make its circuit connections. This is definitely helpful for products that will most likely not be stationary devices. Whether you need single-sided flex boards or multilayer high reliability boards, we ensure your finished product will be of the highest quality.

Types of Flexible Circuits

As your leading flexible PCB supplier, MCL offers you some of the most robust flexible circuit designs on the market. There are four main types of flex circuits, from single to multi-layer options, that can also include more rigid designs. Here is a brief overview of each of the four main flexible circuit options.

Single-Sided Flexible Circuits

This design includes a single conductive layer that can be bonded between two layers of insulation or built with one insulating layer and an uncovered side. Single-sided flexible PCB design supports the inclusion of components, connectors, pins and stiffeners.

flex printed circuit boardSingle-Sided Flexible Circuits With Dual Access

Some single-sided flexible PCBs have a dual-access design that allows you to access the conductive material from both sides of the circuit. This design function requires a flexible PCB and specialized layers to create access for the single copper layer.

Double-Sided Flexible Circuits

Double-sided flexible circuits feature two conductive layers with a layer of insulation between them. The conductive layer’s outer sides can be either exposed or have covers, like a copper pad. Layers are connected typically by plated through-holes, but other methods can be used. Like the single-sided flexible circuits, the double-sided flexible PCBs can support additional elements such as pins, connectors and stiffeners.

Multi-Layered Flexible Circuits

Going beyond the single- and double-sided flexible circuits is the multi-layered (or multi-sided) flexible circuit. These use three or more flexible conductive layers that are sandwiched with insulating layers between each. Outer layers for these units typically have covers, while a copper-plated through-hole often runs through the entire thickness of these flexible circuits.

Rigid-Flexible Circuits

Rigid, flexible circuits have a slightly different design, but serve a similar purpose as most other PCBs. These models tend to use two or more conductive layers, but the insulation material sandwiching each conductive element can be either a rigid or flexible insulation.

The rigid-flex circuits from MCL can support up to 20 layers and use a variety of FR-4, polyimide and RF materials.

They’re differentiated from multi-layered circuits because these feature conductors on rigid layers, which offers more strength than similar units that only rely on stiffeners. Rigid-flex circuits tend to cost more than your other PCBs.

Applications and Industries

Flexible PCBs are making their way into more industries each quarter, because the electronics we use and devices we deploy in the field are getting smaller and smaller. Flex circuits are adaptable and fit this reduced footprint design priority. As their use continues to grow, more companies are becoming aware of the benefits flexible PCB manufacturers can provide for the latest technology.

Here are a few of the leading industries and applications of flex circuits that we’ve been pleased to work in with our customers:

  • Automobiles
  • Consumer electronics such as smartphones, cameras and video recorders
  • Contract manufacturing (EMS)
  • High-speed digital, RF and microwave applications
  • Industrial
  • Instrumentation
  • LED
  • Medical systems and devices
  • Monitoring systems
  • Power electronics
  • Semiconductor

Flex printed circuit boards are able to address most of the issues facing today’s engineers. If you’re looking for improved stretch, broader flexibility and simple use with leading packaging changes, it’s time to talk to us about flex PCBs.

Improve your appearance, ability to meet internal design and spatial requirements and increase your reliability by minimizing wiring.

More about the Flexible PCB

Another great thing about flex PCB is that it can also be coupled with flexible thin layers of copper so the board can handle heavier power currents. This is especially important in devices that will require more power to operate at full capacity.

Flex PCB’s are not limited to single sided designs. MCL can produce double sided and even multilayer flexible PCB boards for your more complex layouts providing you with much greater possibilities in connections compared to typical FR4 board designs. Similar to FR4, multilayer flex boards can also be built using blind and buried vias.

Why MCL?

Your equipment needs to run right every time, or you face a revenue concern. Whether you’re running your own machines or supplying others, every minute of downtime can cause long-term business repercussions.

MCL is here to provide you with one of the most capable, experienced PCB Supplier in the United States. We’ll deliver a superior product and superior customer service with a single-stop shop for all of your PCB needs, regardless of volume.

Still in the development phase? We offer time-critical prototypes to meet your needs and help you figure out the best option for you to move forward.

PCB Glossary

  • Zip File

    All files needed for the processing of your order must be compressed in a zip file. Due to the large amount of orders received, we are not able to accept individual layer files sent to us.

7703 Derry Street
Harrisburg, Pa. 17111
Phone: 717.558.5975
Fax: 717.704.8447