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An Introduction to Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Flexible printed circuit boards comprise a structure with flexible base material and a combination of printed circuits and components. Also known as flex PCB or flex circuits, these can also be designed with or without a flexible coverlay. The terms flex circuits, flexible PCBs, flex circuits boards and flexible printed circuit boards all fall under the category of Flexible Printed Circuitry (FPC).

A Brief History

The origin of flex PCBs dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century. The term ‘flex circuit’ was used for the first time in a patent by Englishman Albert Hanson in 1903. However, the thought of creating flexible PCBs came in the 1950, when Sanders’ Associates developed patented processes for printing and etching circuit boards. This allowed flex circuits board to replace wire harnesses in many applications.

Today flexible circuit boards are extremely popular for many electronic applications. Japan realized the usefulness of this product early on, and used it for creating a variety of electronic products.

What sets Flex PCBs apart from Others?

The flexible type of a printed circuit board has unique capabilities. It has the ability to assume three-dimensional configurations. It allows for a connection to be created between two rigid boards. It can also serve as an interface between a remote device and a circuit board.

Flexible PCBs can be flexed numerous times, without any fear of damage or deterioration, and can operate for millions of cycles in one service cycle. They have the ability to absorb shocks from an application equipment. They perform this without disconnecting the circuits.


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