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World Class Flexible PCB Manufacturer in China

PCBMay is a Professional FPC PCB Boards Manufacturer in China,Who Provides Many Different Kinds of Flexible Boards.

Printed circuit boards have been all around us for several decades but they have evolved with time; flexible printed circuit boards are one of the modern examples. Despite their delicate look, flexible printed circuit boards are robust, efficient, reliable, and durable. In many cases, they are the most suitable type of boards that can be used. Without flexible printed circuit boards, many gadgets that we use today cannot be developed.

The bending ability of flex boards lays the foundation of several devices that are prone to frequent stress and harsh environmental conditions. Moreover, flexible printed circuit boards are highly stable even at high temperatures. In some cases, circuit development with flexible printed circuit boards is far more economical than with rigid printed circuit boards. But what are they comprised of

Many Advantages of Flexible PCB Boards

Over 12 years flexible PCB  manufacturing experience.

Over 80 technical engineering to support your electronic development and manufacturing.

No MOQ for new orders,even one piece.

Quick turn/express order within 24hours.

Reduce assembly costs.

Increase reliability and repeatability.

Flexing for easier installation and service.

Meet dynamic flexing requirements.

Reduce weight and space.

1layer FPC PCB

1 layer Flex Circuit

A single layer flex board is the most basic and consists of a flexible polyimide film laminated to a thin sheet of copper. The copper layer is then chemically etched to produce a circuit pattern specific to your specific design requirements. A polyimide coverlay is then added for insulation and environmental protection of the circuit.

2layer FPC PCB

2 layer Flex Circuit

PCBMay provides 2 layer flexible printed circuit boards, which are becoming a regular choice for applications across various industries. These circuit boards comprise 2 conductive layers that are placed on a polyimide base. Our flexible circuit boards are known for their improved impedance control, as well as reliability.

3layer FPC PCB

3 layer Flex Circuit

A 3 Layer Flexible PCB is a patterned arrangement of 3 copper printed circuitry that connected with plated-through holes. A 3 Layer Flex PCB can be with or without stiffener since stiffener has no effect on flex circuits manufacturing. In the stack-up, the FCCL can be adhesive one or adhesiveless one upon the FPC thickness requirement.

4layer FPC PCB

4 layer Flex Circuit

Flexible printed circuit boards are now prominently used in the electronics industry. Being one of the leading manufacturers of these circuit boards, PCBMay provides 4 layer flex printed circuit boards. These circuit boards are being used in a variety of industrial applications, including power, medical devices, automobile components, and industrial control equipment.

5layer FPC PCB

5 layer Flex Circuit

PCBMay provides 5 layer flexible printed circuit boards, which are becoming a regular choice for applications across various industries. These circuit boards comprise 5 conductive layers that are placed on a polyimide base. Our PCBs are first choice for industries such as power, automobile, medical devices, GPS, and industrial control equipment.

6layer FPC PCB

6 layer Flex Circuit

PCBMay provids many flex circuits in different specifications. Our professional technical knowledge, and comprehensive facility enable us to assure shortest turnaround times on all types of PCBs including 6 layer flexible printed circuit boards. These circuit boards have six conductive layers that are placed on an extremely flexible substrate.

8layer flexible circuit 1

8 layer Flex Circuit

The 8-layer flex PCB is one such high performance PCB. These PCBs are excellent replacement for FR4 designs, and are manufactured using a polyimide, which increases its thermal stability. Additionally, the surface treatment of immersion gold, OSP, and HASL helps improve the performance, shelf life, and durability of these boards in hostile conditions.

10layer flexible circuit

10 layer Flex Circuit

Among various multilayered flex PCBs, the 10 layers flex circuit boards are the most popular. These circuit boards are equipped with copper foils and prepeg glass cloth sheets on the outer level. These prepeg glass cloth sheets offer various benefits to the PCB. The PCB layers are created such that they interchange between prepeg, and pretreated cores.

Flexible PCB Connector

Flexible PCB Connector

While a well-designed flexible circuit will eliminate many connectors, ultimately most flexible circuits need to connect to something. Probably the most common entity that a flex circuit connects to is a rigid printed circuit board, but cable harnesses, polyester membrane switches, and even other flex circuits are also possible connection partners

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Our Flexible Boards Process and Capabilities

Here you will find many quick questions and answers about FPC PCBs,don’t hesitate to contact us,our email is sales@pcbmay.com.

We can produce from single layer flexible circuit,double layer,multilayer flex PCB unitl 10 layer FPC PCB.

Flexible circuits have evolved and help provide durability and reliability. Flexible circuits are also used in the aviation field. Other applications of flexible circuits are in hearing aids, calculators, cameras, printers, and in satellites.

Typically,the leading time of prototyping flexible circuit board is one week,as for high volume of flex PCB,it will take around 2-3weeks.

Stiffeners are a key design element in most flex designs and have a significant impact on both the performance and reliability of the finished flex circuits.There’re several types of stiffeners,such as FR4 stiffeners,polyimide stiffeners,aluminum and stainless steel.

The material is most of polyimide, copper, coverlay and stiffeners. These are all bonded together through either an epoxy or acrylic adhesive.

No-flow prepreg is the preferred bonding material for joining flex and rigid materials. This is most commonly found in standard FR-4 or Polyimide.

Leave it to the vendor. However, the engineer should supply array dimensions.

Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) Connectors have been developed to meet the challenges of this expanding market, which demands smaller centerline or pitch spacing, lower profile heights, and lighter interconnect solutions. View video to explore FPC connectors’ capabilities.

FPC stands for Flexible Printed Circuit, also known as flexible circuit boards or soft boards. It is a highly reliable flexible printed circuit made by polyimide or polyester film.

No,we can produce 1 to 10,000 pieces,what’s more,there is also no minimum order surcharge or additional fees

Flexible PCB are diverse in their designs and applications. The trend towards further expansion of their use is due to the great advantages that they create in interconnection technology. They have now become a very attractive way to provide interconnections in modern electronic equipment.

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards (FPC) are:

  1. Single-sided
  2. Double-sided
  3. Multilayer printed circuit boards manufactured on a flexible base of small thickness.

They serve as connections between various parts of electronic devices. Flexible PCB boards also act as a replacement for cable connections.Sometimes flexible printed circuit boards serve as the basis for inductors, antennas and many other devices.

What is Flexible PCB?

A flexible PCB (flex PCB or flex circuit) is a printed circuit technology that consists of using a high performance plastic substrate,such as polyimide  PEEK film. What’s more,flex circuits can be silkscreened with silver on polyester.

Assembly can be done with components used for conventional printed circuits,while allowing the circuit to adhere to a specific shape or by bending in use.

FPC PCB 2

                                                                                                Black and white soldermask of flexible circuit board

What are Flexible Printed Circuit Boards Made of?

As the name implies, flexible PCBs are flexible circuits with bending ability, tensile strength, and fragile substrate. They are often developed in complex 3D forms in a wide variety of applications. Flexible PCBs enable the production of development of circuits that cannot be developed on ordinary PCBs. Moreover, flexible PCBs are lightweight, durable, and also economical in many cases.

Although flexible PCBs are primarily used in complex circuits that require bending PCB around the edge or attaining a 3D shape they are also used in low-tech applications. For example, they are commonly used in under-the-counter LED lamps because they can simplify installation.

Since flexible PCBs are usually used in flexible products, there is a perception that flexible PCBs are used in only flexible products which is not true. Many systems need flexible circuits instead of flexible use to fit into the equipment. Typically, low-cost electro-deposited copper is used in such static applications.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board Components

Flexible PCBs are comprised of following materials.

  • Conductors:They allow electrical signals to flow in the circuit. The commonly used conductor in flexible PCBs is copper. However, in some applications, materials such as aluminum, carbon, and silver ink are also used.
  • Adhesives:For surface mount equipment binding, adhesives are used. It is utilized before customer specifications and conductor thickness. Epoxy, acrylic, or PSAs (Pressure Sensitive Adhesives) are commonly used adhesives. However, not all applications require adhesives; many flexible PCBs are developed without the use of any adhesive.
  • Insulators:They are primarily used for isolating electrical conductors but sometimes used as support. The most common insulators are polyimide, polyester, solder mask, polyethylene naphthalene, and polyethylene terephthalate.
  • Finishes:The finishing protects the board’s metallic surface against oxidation. The type of finish varies depending upon the application. The most widely used finishes are tin, nickel, gold, silver, and carbon.

Types of Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Although there is a slight variation in design of different types of flexible PCBs but their development varies greatly. Some of the most commonly used types of flexible PCBs are as follows.

Single-sided Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Single-sided flexible PCBs are developed with a single driver layer prepared on a flexible dielectric film with a metal-polymer. The holes in the base film are created to enable soldering the interconnection of components. Single-sided flexible printed circuit boards can be manufactured with or without protective coatings as cover layers. However, they are usually, a protective layer is used.

1layer Flexible Circuit

                                                                                            Single-sided Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Double-sided Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Double-sided flex circuit boards contain two circuit layers. The circuits can be manufactured with or without plated through holes, but the plated through hole variation is common. The double-sided flexible PCBs developed without through-holes are defined as a Type-5.

Double-sided flex circuits are developed with protective cover layers on either side of the completed circuit, depending on the design requirements. One of the key benefits of this type is that it can be easily prepared for intersections.

2layer Flexible Circuit

                                                                                                     Double-sided Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Sculptured Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

The sculptured flexible PCB is a new division of traditional flexible PCBs. Its development process involves a multi-step etching system, resulting in a flexible PCB with finished copper thickness varying in many positions over their length.

Multilayer Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Flexible circuits with three or more layers are called multilayer flexible PCBs. They can be made of several single-layer or double-layer flexible PCBs, bound together. The layers in multilayer flexible PCBs are usually laminated but in applications that require extensive flexibility, continuous lamination is not considered.

Multilayer flexible PCBs are an innovative way of dealing with huge complex circuit designs that have to be laid in 3D positions. Moreover, multilayer flexibility enables the designers to develop circuits with specific impedance requirements and minimal use of shielding equipment; leading to cost-reduction.

Multilayer flexible pcb

                                                                                                          Multilayer Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

Benefits of Flexible PCBs

Flexibility

Rigid PCBs are prone to breaking and malfunctioning when bent or exposed to vibrations, especially in 3D space. With rigid PCBs, certain circuits cannot be developed reliably, and their longevity is also not guaranteed. But since flexible PCBs can easily bend, fit in 3D positions and attain shapes, they enable the development of 3D circuits. Moreover, they are easy to fit in 3D spaces since they do not break during fitting.

Lightweight

Apart from the flexible nature flexible another major benefit of flexible PCBs is their lightweight and compactness. They are thin, light, and can easily be pinned, plied, and placed in areas where rigid PCBs cannot be housed.

Design Precision

On a commercial scale, most manufacturers develop PCBs on automated machines, but rigid PCBs can be developed manually too. Since manually developed PCBs are prone to mistakes and malfunctioning, they are not highly reliable. Whereas the flexible PCBs cannot be developed manually; they are developed only using automated machines which makes them highly precise and reliable.

Design Freedom

Since flexible PCBs are created layer by layer, the designers have more freedom to design each layer. Moreover, the layers can be accessed from either side which enhances accessibility; leading to an improved design.

Compact

Flexible printed circuit boards can be developed for both through-hole and surface mount devices. Since the surface mount devices can fit in a short space and with flexible printed circuit boards complex circuits can be developed in short spaces. The high density of components assembled on flexible printed circuit boards helps fit huge circuits in tiny gadgets.

Thermal Stability

Since flexible PCBs are often developed with closely assembled surface mount devices it leads to excessive heat generation. But the flexible substrates used in flexible printed circuit boards such as polyimide have high thermal stability. Which helps protect the circuit against excessive thermal conditions. Flexible printed circuit boards have better heat dissipation abilities than conventional types.

Improved Airflow

Since the flexible printed circuit boards are developed and usually remain in 3D space, the components exist in different planes which enable better airflow. The circuits thus remain cooler as compared to rigid printed circuit boards. The enhanced airflow also enhances the longevity of the circuit.

Reliable and Durable

According to some manufacturers, flexible printed circuit boards are designed to flex up to 500 million times the average lifespan of the equipment it is being used in. Since many flexible printed circuit boards are capable of bending up to 360 degrees, they are highly resistant to breaking. The high flex ability, low ductility, and volume enable them to withstand the impact of vibrations and shocks, thus improving their performance.

FPC PCB

                                                                                                              Flexible printed circuit boards

High System Durability

The interconnections have always been a challenge in conventional printed circuit boards. They often cause malfunctioning and interrupt circuit performance. Whereas with flexible printed circuit boards, the circuits can be developed with fewer interconnections which helps improves circuit durability.

Streamlined Designs

The surface mount technology is not limited to just flexible printed circuit boards. Surface mount devices can be assembled on rigid printed circuit boards but they are easier to mount on flexible printed circuit boards. This is why flexible printed circuit boards in combination with surface mount technology have extensively simplified circuit development.

Suitable for applications with high temperatures

As already mentioned, flexible printed circuit boards have high thermal stability and good airflow, they are suitable for high-temperature applications. The substrate materials used in flexible printed circuit boards like polyimides are highly resistant to high temperatures and materials like acids, oils, and gases. Therefore, flexible printed circuit boards can easily withstand extreme atmospheric conditions; temperatures as high as 400° C.

Applications of Flexible PCBs

Flexible circuits are widely used in certain applications both for circuit assembling and connections. Especially where flexibility, area savings, and structural challenges limit the use of rigid circuit boards.  Moreover, flexible circuits are suitable for movable parts in electronic equipment such as printer rollers and robotic arms.

Many gadgets such as cameras, calculators, and cellphones commonly contain flexible printed circuit boards. The robustness with elastic abilities and lightweight makes flexible printed circuit boards a good match for gadgets and handheld devices. Apart from these, flexible PCBs have certain applications in the automobile, medical, and aerospace industries.

flex pcb application 2

Automobile Applications of Flexible PCBs

Flexible Printed circuit boards are used in the development of certain automobile parts such as panels, under-hood controls, and circuits that must be shielded. Moreover, flexible PCBs are ten times lighter than an average cable harness which helps reduces the overall weight of the automobiles.

Aerospace Applications of Flexible PCBs

Flexible printed circuit boards are commonly used in aerospace products as their flexible nature matches the requirements. One common example is the heads-up display (HUD) which enables the pilots to visualize enemy signals during flight. The latest HUD model is a wearable headset that can create a 3D holograph of the target.

Flexible printed circuit boards have played a vital role in the development of HUD hardware. Their flexible and lightweight features made it possible to create a wearable model of HUD.

Medical Applications of Flexible PCBs

Over the last few years, hearing aid devices have been extensively innovated and flexible printed circuit boards are playing a vital role in this innovation. Flexible printed circuit boards have enabled the incorporation of a digital signal processing unit, microphone, and battery inside a tiny housing of hearing aid devices. The technology has improved circuit design, enhanced frequency range; making hearing aid better than ever.

Sensing Applications of Flexible PCBs

The rigid-flex PCBs are commonly used in sensors that are prone to extreme atmospheric conditions and frequent vibrations. Many sensors are developed on rigid-flex printed circuit boards which makes them compact yet robust. Moreover, the development of such sensors is nearly impractical with rigid printed circuit boards.

flex pcb application 1

Medical Applications of Flexible PCBs

Flexible printed circuit boards have extensively evolves many wearable products such as fitness trackers, smart clothes, smart watches and medical equipment. Today, with wearable medical sensors, one can track medical conditions, store data and even communicate in real time. These innovations not only help analyze medical conditions but it also makes it easier for doctors to stay informed at all times. Most of the wearable sensors and medical equipment are developed with rigid-flex printed circuit boards as they are durable and reliable even under stress.

Important Features of Flexible PCB

Downsizing

Flexible PCBs use the thinnest dielectric base material available today for making interconnects.In some cases,these materials can be used to make flexible printed circuit boards having a total thickness of less than 50 microns, including the protective layer.For reference,rigid mounting pads with the same functionality are twice as thick.

Not only is the thinness of flexible printed circuit boards attractive in and of themselves,but the flexibility to fold it also allows for the reduction in volume and size of electronic devices.

Reduced Sssembly Time and Cost

Flexible PCB represents a simple and fast interconnection technology for assemblies and electronics blocks. An alternative to flexible printed circuit boards – wiring and flexible cables.

These are associated with the need to route wires along the intended paths of connections and their fastening,stripping and soldering each wire separately.Wiring harness also requires additional labor to designate link addresses.

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards (FPC) enable the use of group assembly and assembly methods.In addition, their production itself is much cheaper due to the use of group manufacturing and marking technologies.

Reduced Build Errors

While wiring is inevitably human error,flexible PCB do not have human error sources. Manual assembly is a constant risk of errors.

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards (FPCBs) are designed as part of an interconnect system and then reproduced by machine methods to prevent human error.

As a result, with the exception of inevitable manufacturing errors,flexible PCB do not allow for connections that do not match the designed circuit.

We can also work with you to produce a custom flex PCB prototype that will significantly improve your prospects of a successful project outcome.For detailed capabilities, please refer to the following form.

FeatureCapability
Number of Layers1 – 10layers
Order Quantity1pc – 10000+pcs
Board thickness(without stiffener)0.002-0.2inch
Min. Board Size0.2*0.4inch
Min. Board Size9*14 inch
Build Time2days – 5weeks
MaterialFCCL (adhesive) Shengyi SF305
FCCL (adhesiveless)Panasonic R-F775
Taiflex MHK
Dupont Pyralux AP
CoverlayShengyi SF305C
Taiflex FHK 1025&2035
AdhesiveTaiflex BT
PI stiffenerTaiflex MHK
3M9077&6677&9058
OthersTolerance of single layer±0.05mm
Tolerance of double-layer (≤0.3mm)±0.05mm
Toleranceof multi-layer(<0.3mm)±0.05mm
Toleranceof multi-layer(0.3-0.8mm)±0.1mm
Impedance control toleranceSingle ended:±5Ω(≤50Ω);±10%(>50Ω)
Differential Pairs: ±5Ω (≤50Ω);±10%(>50Ω)
Min coverlay bridge8mil
Min bend radius of single layer3-6 times of board thickness
Min bend radius of double layer6-10 times of board thickness
Min bend radius of multi layer10-15 times of board thickness
Min dynamic bend radius20-40 times of board thickness
Inner layerMin line width/spacing (12/18um copper)3.0/3.2mil (loop lines 6.0/6.2mil)
Min line width/spacing (35um copper)4.0/4.0mil (loop lines 8.0/8.0mil)
Min line width/spacing (70um copper)6.0/6.5mil (loop lines 10/10.5mil)
Max copper thickness2oz
Outer layerMin line width/spacing (18um copper)3/3.2mil (loop lines 6/6mil)
Min line width/spacing (35um copper)4/4.5mil (loop lines 6/6mil)
Min line width/spacing (70um copper)6/7mil (loop lines 6/6mil)
Min line width/spacing (105um copper)10/13mil (loop lines 6/6mil)
Max finished copper thickness3OZ
DrillingMin distance between via and conductors6mil (<4 layer)
8mil (4-6 layer)
12mil (7-8 layer)
Min mechanical drill hole6mil
Solder mask
and silk screen
Solder mask colorGreen/White/Black/Yellow
CoverlayYellow、Black
Min solder dam (base copper ≤ 1OZ)4mil (green),8mil(solder dam on the large copper)
Min clearance3mil (part for 2.5mil)
Silk colorWhite, Yellow
Surface treatmentSurface treatmentHASL,ENIG,ENEPIG,Electrolytic Nickel Gold, Soft gold, Hard gold,
Immersion silver and OSP
Mixed surface treatmentENIG+OSP, ENIG+G/F
Gold thickness (ENIG)0.05-0.10um
Nickel thickness (ENIG)3-6um
Gold thickness (ENEPIG)0.05-0.10um
Palladium thickness (ENEPIG)0.05-0.15um
Nick thickness (ENEPIG)3-6um
Electrolytic nickel thickness3-6um
Electrolytic gold thickness0.05-0.10um
Hard gold thickness (including lead)0.1-1.5um
OSP thickness0.1-0.3um
Immersion silver thickness0.2-0.4um
RoutingLaser accuracy±0.05mm
Punch accuracy±0.05mm–±0.15mm

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