Several types of Rigid-flex PCBs are available to meet the wide and specific requirements of varied industries. Each type is designed and manufactured to meet specific interconnecting requirements. Here, the most commonly available types of rigid-flex circuit boards are briefly described.
The Three Types of Rigid-Flex PCBs
Rigid-flex PCBs are broadly categorized into three – single sided, double sided, and multi-layered boards.
- Single Sided Rigid-Flex PCBs – This is the simplest form of rigid-flex circuit boards widely used for point-point-wiring applications across industries. They are comparatively easy to produce as the fabrication involves using one layer of copper foil. This conductive copper layer is bonded between two insulating layers, enhancing its electrical insulating properties. The insulating layers also protect the conductors from dust, harsh chemicals, solvents, dust, and other contaminants.
Application Areas – Mobile phones, digital cameras, and domestic appliances.
- Double Sided Rigid-Flex PCBs – When your application demands a more complex point-to-point wiring, double sided rigid-flex circuit boards are the right solution. This type of circuitry is manufactured with two layers of copper with an insulation in between. The outer layer of the conductor material is laminated with a flexible dielectric film to protect the conductor from environmental conditions and contaminants.
Application Areas – Servers, high-end disc drive, and laser scanners.
- Multi-Layer Rigid-Flex PCBs – This type of PCBs are common in sophisticated systems and applications. As the name implies, the circuitry is designed and manufactured with multiple copper conductor layer with an insulating layer etched between each layer. They are designed to meet specialized application requirements of military, aerospace, power generation industries, among others.
Application Areas – Sophisticated medical diagnostic equipment, high speed data storage, and analytical test equipment.
Choosing the right type of printed circuit board is crucial as each one differs in its functionality considerably. Hence, understanding the types help you choose the most appropriate one for industry specific applications.