Things you should know on the rigid flex pcb manufacturing process
Without printed circuit boards, the electronics world would be a very different place. Perhaps it wouldn’t be in existence at all. All common electronic devices such as pocket calculators, radios and televisions are powered by PCBs. Did you know that they use CT imaging technology during the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process? Here are other fun facts you should know about these boards.
The rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process was popularized by the auto assembly industry. When assembling cars, manufacturers require PCBs that are reliable, have a long life and come at a competitive rate. In the early 1950s, they used PCBs made from various etching conductors such as aluminium and copper as they would find application in adverse weather conditions.
In the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process, they get their green colour from glass-epoxy. Technically speaking the green matter in PCBs is a heat-laminated epoxy. It’s made up of woven fibreglass strands and it’s relatively resistant to flames. It’s used in the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process due to its sturdy nature, relative strength in relation to its weight and can be used in high heat devices. Even when screwed to mechanical parts, it doesn’t lose shape due to stresses and vibrations. Compared to other similar materials, its relatively water-resistant and guarantees durability for quite some time.
After the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process is complete, they’re no longer referred to as PCBs but rather Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA). A PCBA is a PCA to which attachments have been added. These attachments give a board its functionality. During this transformation, electrical components such as transistors, capacitors and resistors are soldered onto the PCB. They are linked by the copper (or aluminium) pathways on the board. During manufacturing, they often prefer copper etching over aluminum etching as its more economical.
Before the modern rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process was invented, the used to attach electronic components to wood and solder them manually. Sounds hectic, doesn’t it? Well, it was. Imagine manually soldering a whole circuit board on wood. It was messy, cumbersome and impossible to produce on a large scale. Besides, these “boards” would be relatively large.
Kapton is used during the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process as it has a high-temperature range. With a laser-cut, it’s quite easy to create a PCB stencil from a Kapton film. Thanks to these materials, manufacturers are able to design relatively complex circuits with ease. They achieve miniaturization without compromising on reliability or consistency.