Flexible PCBs are important components of modern-day electronics and power everything compact in a circuit board. Unlike standard PCBs, flex circuits can be designed to fit into smaller spaces, making them ideal for applications like smartphones, medical equipment, and even military equipment where weight restrictions are a norm.
Flexible circuits are the go-to solution for designers who want to build smaller, more lightweight devices. So when should you choose Flex PCBs? Here are a few problems where flex PCBs are the ideal solution:
- Applications with complex wiring that rigid circuit boards cannot accommodate
- Lightweight products that also happen to be compact in size without compromising durability
- Small form factor technology
- High density interconnect design
- Devices that are subject to lots of external shock and vibration
With this out of the way, let’s take a look at major applications.
High Temperature Applications
Engineers prefer flex circuits for industrial applications because they are both durable and small, allowing them to tolerate excessively high temperatures and exposure to toxic chemicals. Flex circuits are also useful in devices that will see excessive UV and radiation exposure.
The use of polyimide material allows flex circuits to dissipate heat more effectively compared to materials in rigid circuit boards. As such, polyimide allows flex circuits to be used in extremely high temperature conditions that could otherwise negatively affect the product’s functionality.
Flexible PCBS are extremely useful in applications where space is limited. The fact that the circuits can be bent for several thousands of cycles without any failure makes them well suited to medical devices. Flex PCBs are particularly useful when you want to connect multiple electronic components together in a wide array of packaging options.
Modern-day flex circuits are indispensable in the medical industry because of their use in diagnostics, treatment, monitoring, and others. Reliability is absolutely essential to the core performance of medical devices because proper diagnostics and functioning are critical to positive patient outcomes.
It is no secret that medical devices are subject to stringent standards of sanitation, especially when it comes to implants. Flex PCBs can be used to meet and exceed sanitation requirements. Their smaller size allows them to be used for applications such as implants and diagnostic devices.
A major usage of flex PCB circuits is in high density interconnect (HDI) boards, which allows multiple electronic components to be used together.
You should use flex PCBs for designing medical devices such as:
- Diagnostic monitors that check blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate, and other metrics. Medical imaging devices such as ultrasonic scanners use flex PCBs to compile and analyze images for diagnostics.
- Intravenous devices such as pacemakers that are surgically inserted into the body.
The medical industry serves as the epicenter of technical innovations that are made possible thanks to the use of flex PCBs.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
LEDs are used by residential and commercial spaces for illumination purposes. Flex PCBs are particularly useful in LED applications because they divert heat away from bulbs. As a result, light fixtures can illuminate spaces for longer periods of time. Designers no longer have to install bulky heat sinks into bulbs for energy dissipation, allowing light fixtures to be more compact.
You may want to use flex PCBs for applications such as:
- Residential lighting such as smart bulbs to illuminate the property with greater efficiency.
- Commercial lighting where businesses can use LEDs to illuminate their stores, warehouses, and working spaces.
- Cars because they heavily rely on headlights, brake lights, and dashboard indicators for safe driving.
- Computer devices frequently use LEDs to indicate the computer’s performance
Computers, video game consoles, smartphones, and even everyday devices such as refrigerators and ovens require flex PCBs to function. As we make our devices more functional, flex PCBs will become more useful.
Manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways of making smaller devices such as laptops and smartphones without compromising their capability. All this requires smaller flex PCBs with high density interconnect boards. Moreover, the devices need to be relatively low cost to keep the price tag accessible to the public at large.
Manufacturers prioritize reliability because they want their devices to deliver as advertised.
You will need to use flex PCBs in applications such as:
- Smartphones, laptops, radios, tablets, wearables, and similar devices
- Computers that are capable of serving as an entertaining hub, including the ability to play visually challenging video games.
- Home appliances such as refrigerators, HVAC, coffee makers, and others
Flex PCBs have made commerce more safer, reliable, and inexpensive for various industries. Today, electronic components power nearly all equipment in the industrial sector. It is essential for commercial devices to be extremely capable in their respective niches and to withstand harsh conditions in the industry.
Flex PCBs are ideal for use in the industry because they can be designed for rough handling and can tolerate extreme temperatures and chemicals.
You should use flex PCBs in industries that require:
- Manufacturing equipment for drill presses
- Power equipment such as DC to AC power inverters
- Sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, pressure, and other factors
Flex PCBs will become particularly useful in the coming years as industries utilize more IoT devices for greater interconnectivity.
Car manufacturers rely on flex PCBs to power their vehicles. These days, flex PCBs are used for everything from safety systems and in-car entertainment to telematics and carputers. These advanced electronic devices are made possible through the use of flex PCBs. Manufacturers require access to electronic boards that can tolerate high temperatures, frequent vibrations, and exposure to the harsh outdoors.
You may need to use flex PCBs in cars for:
- Entertainment systems such as car stereos
- Management systems that control fuel and air conditioner
- Sensors that allow the car to monitor incoming vehicles, nearby objects, and alert the driver about safety concerns. Flex PCBs can be used in sensors that make it easier for drivers to parallel park.
These were just some of the applications of flex PCBs. You will need to learn about different types of flex PCBs to pair them with the right devices and applications. Find out more with flexible PCB experts at Hemeixin HDI PCB here.