Rigid PCB vs Flexible PCB
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Both rigid and flexible printed circuit boards are used to connect electronic components in a variety of consumer and non-consumer devices. But their performance and advantages and disadvantages vary. Learn more about the characteristics of rigid and flexible PCBs below.
Both rigid and flexible printed circuit boards are used to connect electronic components in various consumer and non-consumer devices. As the name suggests, a rigid PCB is a circuit board built on a rigid base layer that cannot be bent, while a flexible PCB, also known as a flex circuit, is made on a flexible base layer that can be bent, twisted and folded.
Although both traditional and flexible PCBs serve the same primary purpose, it is important to note that they have many differences. Flex circuits are not just curved PCBs - they are not manufactured in the same way as rigid PCBs and offer various performance advantages and disadvantages. Learn more about the characteristics of rigid versus flexible PCBs below.
What is the difference between rigid PCB and flexible PCB?
Rigid PCBs, often referred to simply as PCBs, are what most people think of when they imagine a circuit board. These boards connect electrical components using conductive tracks and other elements arranged on a non-conductive substrate. In rigid circuit boards, the non-conductive substrate often contains glass, which strengthens the circuit board and gives it strength and stiffness. Rigid circuit boards provide good support for components, as well as good thermal resistance.
Although flexible PCBs also have conductive tracks on non-conductive substrates, this type of circuit board uses a flexible substrate like polyimide. The flexible base enables the flexible circuit to withstand vibration, dissipate heat, and fold into various shapes. Due to their structural properties, flexible circuits are increasingly used in compact and innovative electronic products.
In addition to base material and stiffness, significant differences between PCBs and flex circuits include:
Conductive material: Since flex circuits must bend, manufacturers may use the more flexible rolled annealed copper instead of electrodeposited copper as the conductive material.
Manufacturing process: Instead of solder masks, flex PCB manufacturers use a process called overlay or overlay to protect the exposed circuitry of the flex PCB.
Typical cost: The cost of flex circuits is generally higher than that of rigid circuit boards. However, because of their ability to fit into tight spaces, flex circuits allow engineers to downsize their products, resulting in indirect cost savings.
How to choose between rigid and flexible PCBs?
Rigid and flexible circuit boards can be used in many different products, although some applications may benefit more from one type of circuit board. For example, rigid PCBs make sense in larger products such as TVs and desktop computers, while more compact products such as smartphones and wearable technology require flexible circuits.
When choosing between rigid and flexible PCBs, consider your application needs, the type of board preferred in your industry and the likely bottom line impact of using one.
In addition to the right circuit board, you also need to choose the right supplier. PCBQuick provides rigid PCBs, flexible PCBs, and rigid-flex PCBs to customers in multiple industries. If necessary, please contact us.
PCBQuick professional custom PCB boards wholesale manufacturer. Our products are widely used in high-tech fields such as communications, computer technology, industrial control, automobiles, LED lighting, etc. They are often exported to well-known electronics manufacturers in Europe, the United States, and Southeast Asia. We have nearly 10,000 square meters of production plant and a strong team, enabling us to work efficiently and meet the needs of all customers.