Flat Flex

Flat Flex

Flat flex circuits are light weight, low profile, small outline cables designed to satisfy high density cabling applications. Their distinguishing factors include repeated dynamic flexing and the ability to fold into nearly any shape, evenly distributing stress especially when compared to traditional cabling.

Flat flex circuits can be designed to hold any number of electrical components or simply as a connector between two circuits. Common industry applications include, but are not limited to: consumer electronics, telecommunications, medical, automotive, industrial and commercial.

Any one of the following descriptions refers to flat flexible circuitry (FFC):
Flat Flex Circuits | Flat Flexible Cable | Flat Flexible Conductor Cable
For more in depth information on Flat Flex, click on the links below:
Benefits
Applications
Capabilities
Materials
Advanced Features
"Stack Up" Charts
As a unique flex circuit, the primary benefits of flat flex circuits include:
Ten Conductor FFC with Connector Assembly
Ten Conductor FFC with Connector Assembly
  • High Flex Life
  • Superior Heat Dissipation
  • Light Weight
  • Low Profile
  • Durability
  • Point-to-point Wire Replacement
  • Foldable
  • Multiple Termination Options

High Flex Life – Flat flex circuits are designed to flex and move throughout their life cycle. By virtue of their design, they will out-flex, or out-live, conventional wiring.

Superior Heat Dissipation – Due to the larger surface-to-volume ratio and compact design of flat flex circuits compared to traditional round wire, a shorter thermal path is allowed.

Light Weight – Compared to traditional round cables, flat flex circuits are extremely thin, making them considerably lighter.

Low Profile – Especially when compared to traditional cable, flat flex circuits’ thin design can help resolve some of the most complex design challenges.

Durability – Particularly, in designs that have moving parts, the flat flex circuit can move and flex up to 500 million times without a failure.

Point-to-Point Wire Replacement – Depending on the number of point-to-point connections in a circuit design, flat flex circuits are an easy solution when connecting various components within an application.

Foldable – Flat flexible circuit cabling can folded many times over, enabling easier routing, particularly where space is limited.

Multiple Termination Options – Flat flex circuits can be attached through a hot bar soldering process, through hole soldering or a variety of different connectors.

In summary, if you have flexible design needs, Flexible Circuit Technologies can help.

Before getting into design options, there are two fundamental structural applications that must be understood about flat flex circuits:

9651RBoard to Board Connector – Depending on the number of point-to-point connections in a circuit design, flat flex circuits are an easy solution when connecting various components within an application.

Dynamic Flex Applications – When a flex circuit is dynamically flexed over and over within any given application, this is a high flex application. Common applications include: printer heads, copiers and plotters

In summary, if you have flexible design needs, Flexible Circuit Technologies can help

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In summary, if you have flexible design needs, Flexible Circuit can help.

9660RConductors  Copper is the most widely used conductor and it is typically flat, allowing extended flex life. Copper conductor options include:

  • Bare copper
  • Tin plated copper

Adhesives – Adhesive selection depends on customer needs and conductor thickness. Common adhesives include:

  • Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA)
  • Acrylic

Insulators – Flexible substrate (base) and cover lay materials are available in a variety of thicknesses. Common insulators include:

  • Polyester
  • Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN)
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Finishes – The final finish depends on each customer’s assembly requirements and the application of the finished product. Common finishes include:

  • Tin

Shielding – A protective shielding layer can be applied if required. Common shielding materials include:

  • Conductive silver ink
  • Aluminum or copper tape

In summary, if you have flexible design needs, Flexible Circuit Technologies can help.

As the flex circuit market continues to expand, there have been many advances in technology, including but not limited to:
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Two Layer Rigid with Flat Flexible Cable Hot Bar Solder

Hybrid Flex / Cable – Depending on the specific interconnect needs of the customer, flat flex circuits can be combined with nearly any other type of circuit or circuit component to create a cost effective design solution.


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FFC with Hot Bar Solder to PCB Subassembly

Hot Bar Solder Termination  Process of connecting a flat flex circuit to another circuit. Typically, the most efficient and durable way to connect a flat flex circuit to another (rigid or flex). 


9463-RPre-assembly Creasing – Flat flexible circuit cabling can folded many times over. If desired, Flexible Circuit Technologies can manufacture creases into the cabling so that the folding process is simplified during assembly.


9659-RStiffeners – While flat flex circuits are built for dynamic flex situations, stiffeners can be applied where the circuit needs to remain static. 



31569Crimp Pins – 
One of the most common termination methods for flat flex circuits is soldering. As such, crimp solder tabs can be built into the flat flex circuit. 


9658-RMarking – Through polarity stripping or applying a special ink, Flexible Circuit can put any combination of text on the flat flex circuit.