The Pros and Cons of Using Flexible Circuits in Manufacturing Electron
Electronics manufacturing has received a huge boom in the market today considering the rise in the use of electronics all over the world. Various industries have basically resorted to the use of electronics in their systems, especially with the transition from mechanical to electronic transactions. That being said, there has also been a significant rise in the mass production of PCBs and flexible circuits to cater to the needs of other industries.
PCB stands for flexible circuits board, which serves as the main supporter and connector of electronic components using both conductive and non-conductive materials. In today’s technology, almost all electronic products use PCBs. The only difference is in whether manufacturers use rigid PCBs or flexible circuits.
flexible circuits have the same purpose as rigid PCBs. However, it uses flexible plastic substrates like polyimide and polyester as compared to traditional PCBs that mostly use copper. More and more manufacturers are using flexible circuits nowadays, but the product definitely has both advantages and disadvantages.
For one, using flexible circuits is better than rigid boards because it can easily be adjusted to follow a specific shape. As the name suggests, flexible circuits are made of a more malleable material than the traditional rigid PCBs. The added flexibility also reduces impact and allows the flex boards to withstand pressure and vibration.
Another advantage is that flexible circuits are about 60% lighter and are better space-savers compared to PCBs.
Aside from shockproof properties, the materials used in flexible circuits also make them waterproof, moisture-proof, non-corrosive, and resistant to high-temperature exposure.
As for the disadvantages, flexible circuits are costlier than rigid PCBs. This is because the flex boards have a more specialized purpose, which means it has a more sophisticated design and wiring compared to rigid boards.
And due to a different assembly process and complex setup, repairs are either much difficult or close to impossible. Therefore, users are left with no choice but to replace the flexible circuits once they get damaged due to wear and tear.
And since flexible circuits have a slightly more specialized function than the rigid PCBs, they are also at risk of damages when it comes to using and handling. Flexible circuits are generally very thin, so there is always a possibility for it to get damaged especially during the mounting procedure. One way to avoid damage to the flex boards is by making sure it is being soldered by a well-trained worker.
Flexible circuits are a huge improvement from the traditional rigid PCBs. But before you decide to switch to these, better consider all the pros and cons to avoid additional (and possibly unnecessary) expenses.