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Rigid-Flex Printed Circuit Board

pcb rigid flexYour Leading Rigid-Flex PCB  Supplier

Rigid-flex PCBs are boards that combine the best of flexible and rigid-board technology

Designs vary greatly, and can be combined with a wide range of materials to support multiple use cases in a constant state of flex — often a flexed curve created during the manufacturing process, or can be made during final installation.

Why You Need Rigid Flexible Circuits From MCL

These printed circuit boards create a more challenging design for rigid-flex manufacturers, but we’ve been able to supply successful designs with full compliance and reliability. By engineering these in a 3D environment, we’re able to achieve spatial efficiency and incorporate folds and flexes that can help you meet a desired shape that works best with your application.

A rigid-flex printed circuit board can help you with issues in reducing space, as well as making sure your products can stand up to tough conditions and ensuring they are cost-efficient. Using a rigid flexible format allows you to use fewer parts and interconnections and to take on more aggressive design challenges, as the rigid-flex PCB is a flexible solution to numerous design issues. They have applications for industries ranging from hearing aids to night vision goggles and more.

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What Is the Difference Between a Flex and a Rigid-Flex Printed Circuit Board?

The rigid-flex printed circuit board gives you the best of both worlds. A rigid-flex PCB combines the flexibility of flex circuits with the durability of a rigid PCB. A flex-printed circuit board has only flexible materials, usually polyimide or polyester-based. They can be single-layer, double-layer or multilayer boards. A rigid flex PCB has both flexible and rigid materials, with flexible layers sandwiched in between rigid layers with conductors and plated through holes that connect them to the other layers.

Flexible circuit boards by themselves may not stand up to the wear of certain challenging applications, but standard rigid boards tend to be heavy and take up a lot of space. Combining rigid boards with flexible circuits reduces weight and space, giving you a streamlined product you can use in a wide variety of industrial situations.

Layout Recommendations

Rigid-flex PCB  suppliers like MCL provide guidance on layouts and bends to keep your equipment safe. We wanted to present a quick overview to help you understand the thickness and other requirements you may need for your design.

Circuit Construction Bend Radius Calculation
1 Layer (single-sided) Flex Thickness x 6
2 Layer (double-sided) Flex Thickness x 12
Multi-Layer Flex Thickness x 24

Other design tips include:

  • Avoid 90˚ bends whenever possible.
  • Gradual bends are always safer.
  • Bend radius is measured from the inside of the bend.
  • Conductors running through a bend need to be perpendicular to the bend.
  • Use curved traces instead of traces with corners.
  • Traces should be perpendicular to your bend.

Materials

Your specific rigid-flex printed circuit board will be a custom design and production. However, to get you started thinking about what to consider, we wanted to share with you just a small selection of the materials that can be used for your project. This flexibility and capability makes us one of the leading rigid-flex PCB suppliers the United States has to offer.

The right materials are crucial when it comes to a rigid-flex printed circuit board or any printed circuit board. PCBs with substandard materials can fail at crucial times, break, catch fire, cause dangerous sparks or otherwise compromise your operation. MCL uses only the best materials for each rigid-flex PCB to make sure you get the best results with respect to signal transmission, thermal conductivity and safety.


Chief Materials

  • Standard FR-4 materials
  • Lead-free compatible FR-4 materials
  • High-speed digital materials
  • RF and microwave-compatible material
  • Metal core (i.e. aluminum) materials with high thermal conductivity
  • Polyimide
  • Coverlays, covercoats and flexible solder masks
  • DuPont, Panasonic and ShengYi custom, branded materials

Finishes

  • ENIG
  • HASL
  • Lead-free HASL
  • Hard gold fingers
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Applications

MCL has served more than 600 customers across almost all major industries active in the United States. We’ve seen rigid-flex printed circuit boards put into use in a variety of scenarios, and have happy customers who are leading the way in today’s key modern industries:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Contract manufacturing
  • High-speed digital development
  • Instrumentation
  • LEDs and lighting
  • Power electronics
  • RF and microwave equipment
  • And other industrial applications

You Can Trust MCL

rigid-flex pcbAt MCL, we pride ourselves on delivering some of the best rigid-flexible printed circuit boards on the market. We want to show you exactly what we can do for your development, from engineering and prototyping to large-volume orders.

Save yourself time and protect your budget when you contact MCL today to discuss your upcoming project. Experience award-winning customer service for any of your PCB needs when you click here or call us at 717-558-5975.

PCB Glossary

  • Epoxy

    A family of thermosetting resins. Epoxies form a chemical bond to many metal surfaces.

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Harrisburg, Pa. 17111
Phone: 717.558.5975
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