Flexible circuits are thin, light-weight electrical circuits that conform to small spaces and contoured shapes.
They consist of conductive strips of metal, usually copper, encapsulated with an insulating dielectric material made of polyimide or a solder mask. Polyimide is an excellent insulator that allows the circuit to bend, resist contamination and withstand high temperatures.
Prime function of a flexible circuit
- Electronic interconnection device – carries electronic signals and power
- Similar to a printed circuit board, yet flexible
- Conforms to small spaces and contoured shapes
- Eliminates or enables the use of smaller, less expensive connectors
- Provides mechanical flexing
- Shields radiated noise for EMI
Benefits of a flexible circuit
Flexible printed circuit board technology offers a multitude of possibilities for different types of products and designs. Flex is a design solution that delivers the best attributes of wire, cable, connectors and printed circuit boards – all in one interconnect solution.
- Reduces size and weight – a flex circuit can be up to 70% lighter than a printed circuit board
- Improves electronic packaging – gives designers the ability to solve packaging and interconnect issues based on the ability to form, bend and move
- Interconnect solution – reduces the number of interconnects (wire, cables, connectors, PCBs)
- Conformability – the thinness of the material allows for advanced 3-D packaging
- Electrical integration – tailored solutions can be created based on the myriad of material choices, plating and designs
- Heat dissipation/power – Polyimide dielectrics can withstand high temperatures required for a high power application
- Mechanical and electrical repeatability
- Cost savings – typically 30% to hand wiring
- Space savings – typically 60%
- Assembly savings
- Reliability improvements
- Wiring errors eliminated