Rigid Flex PCB Design Guidelines

Written by amy rodriguez
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Rigid Flex PCB Design Guidelines
Many types of circuit boards are produced for various products. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

As technology advances, so does the need for complex printed circuit boards (PCBs), such as rigid-flex. With this more-complex fabrication process comes further advances in electronics, from computers to military components.


A rigid flex PCB varies from its stiff PCB predecessor. Rigid flex uses stiff and flexible materials to create the circuitry needed for a product. Multiple PCBs connected with cabling which used to be the normal design are now constructed into one three-dimensional PCB body.


A common design guideline for a rigid flex PCB is the four layer process. A pliable polyimide, or plastic, core is surrounded by copper foil for conduction of signals on either side. Sandwiched above and beneath this construct are two layers of FR-4 laminate, or the typical, green, PCB-woven baseboard.


Because of the intricacies of the design, production and fabrication of rigid flex costs five to seven times more than a standard PCB. But, depending on the application, this may be the only PCB that will work, especially if it is for a small electronic device necessitating a thin board.

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