Flexible Circuit Technologies

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Flexible Printed Circuits

Advanced Features

As the flex circuit market continues to expand, there have been many advances in technology including:

Air Gap - Through the process of selective bonding, increased flexibility is achieved by "unbonding" layers so they are allowed to flex freely. At Flexible Circuit, we are proud to be a leading designer of this air gap technology allowing your designs more flexibility.

controlled impedience layer

Six Layer Flex with Air Gap and
Controlled Impedance

 

Component Assembly - At Flexible Circuit, we offer through hole and surface mount capabilities, as well as in circuit testing, conformal coating, and electrostatic protective packaging.

2 layer flex assembly

Two Layer Flex Assembly

 
controlled impedance

Two Layer Flex with Controlled Impedance
Thick Adhesiveless Polyimide

Controlled Impedance - With increasing signal switching speeds, engineers need to understand and control the impedance of traces. With short signal transition times and high clock rates of modern digital circuitry, traces need to be considered transmission lines instead of simple interconnections. With today's higher speed requirements, controlled impedance traces are designed to minimize electrical reflections and ensure an error free transition between the track and interconnections.

Controlled impedance, if perfectly optimized, allows control of the physical dimensions and material of the cable. Controlled impedance signal transmission requires flexible circuit materials to be uniform in both thickness and electrical properties. At Flexible Circuit, we have extensive experience in designing and manufacturing flex circuits with controlled impedance.

 

Crimp Pins – Crimp Pins are mechanically attached to a circuit to allow for soldered connections.

Crimp Pin

Single Layer Flex Crimp Solder
Tabs UHB Adhesive Antenna

 

Graphic Overlays – Graphic Overlays can be placed over flex circuits, rigid boards or membrane switches. The overlays provide the user interface with the underlying circuit and typically are used in conjunction with LEDs, LCD displays or dome switches mounted on thie circuits. The overlays are made from polycarbonate, polyester or acrylic. For more information on Graphic Overlays, see Other Products

graphic overlay switch

Two Layer Flex with Graphic Overlay Switch

 
laser cut with slots

Single Sided .5 oz copper laser cut with slots

Laser Skived Slots and Holes - Historically, X-acto knives or razor blades were utilized to cut intricate areas of a flex circuit, the successful yield of which depended on the skill of the operator. Flexible Circuit has dramatically improved this process by utilizing a top-of-the-line laser beam with extremely precise depth control to accurately cut the underlying substrate of a flex circuit. Precise laser beams can skive circuit openings with the utmost precision.

double sided flex

Double Sided Flex

 

Overmolding - Overmolding is the process by which Flexible Circuit embeds electronics versus simply placing electronics on the circuit. As electronic devices and required interconnections become more compact, embedding electronic circuitry within the cable assembly is a cost effective alternative to on-board electronics. Most often referred to as smart cables or dongles, these embedded devices can solve many packaging challenges.

two layer flex

Two Layer Flex

 

Panelization – During the panelization process a stiffener is applied to the boundaries of multiple circuits on a panel so that they can be easily processed through the "pick & place" and wave soldering processes. Once the panel of circuit boards is done, simply clip them out and they are ready to go.

panelization

Panelized for Component Assembly
Selective Gold/Nickel finish

 

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs) – PSAs with a release liner are used in applications where a portion(s) of the circuit needs to be secured to a specific location within the final product. During assembly, the release liner is peeled away and the exposed adhesive allows the assembler to press the circuit into place and keep it there.

single sided flex

Single Sided Flex with Assembly Conformal Coating

 
sculptured flex

Single Layer Sculptured Flex

Sculptured Flex Circuits – Sculptured flex circuits are special in that the copper conductors vary in depth & thickness in different places. The copper is thin at the most flexible part of the circuit and thick at the interconnection point. Sculptured flex circuits allow for bare metal connections (like a plug in) and remain strong at the solder joint formation. Sculptured fingers provide a more reliable alternative to mechanically fastened crimp pins.

sculpted fingers

Double Sided Flex with Photo-Imageable Coverlay

 

Shielding – Shielding is applied when an application requires limits in electromagnetic and/or electrostatic interference. Protective shielding can be patterned or solid. Either way, it reduces noise and controls impedance of signal lines.

four layer flex

Four Layer Flex 

 

Stiffeners – Stiffeners are applied to flex circuits where additional support is needed such as areas of component assembly or underneath exposed traces that will be plugged in for connection. Common stiffeners are FR4 and polyimide.

two layer flex

Two Layer Flex

 

Wire Assembly – In certain applications a combination of flex or rigid circuit with traditional wire may be a more economical design that still meets the needs of the customer’s subassembly. At Flexible Circuit we have the capabilities to design, source, manufacture and assemble the entire subassembly incorporating the circuit, wiring and components. This level of capabilities and commitment is what differentiates us from other flex circuit suppliers. It is also why our motto is “We Go Where Others Will Not”.

flex circuit with wire harness

Flex Circuit with Wire Harness

 

Flexible Heaters– Flexible heaters are thin, bendable heating elements, shaped to fit your unique heating equipment needs.

Flexible Heater

Flexible Heater

 

Ultrasonic Welding– Ultrasonic welding is a technique utilizing high frequency ultrasonic acoustic vibrations to weld objects together. This type of welding is used to build assemblies that are too small, too complex, or too delicate for more common welding techniques. With ultrasonic welding, there are no connective bolts, nails, soldering materials or adhesives necessary to bind the materials together.

fuse welding

Fuse Attachment by Welding

In summary, if you have flexible circuit design or flexible printed circuit board needs, we can help. For more in depth information, click on the links below:

 

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