Mar 6, 2019|Uncategorised
Printed circuit boards have grown immensely from their inception due to the fact that electronics have significantly advanced over the last few decades. Today, we have electronic devices that are made in different shapes and sizes, and PCB manufacturers must create a circuit board that fits with any given specific shape.
Circuit boards are no longer simply straight and rectangular. You can now build flexible printed circuit boards. A flexible PCB is a board that fits the device instead of the device fitting the circuit board.
Whenever you have a device that is small and made in different shapes, a flexible PCB would be what you need. They offer the flexibility required to fit into tight spaces and meet all the needs of the electronic device. Some features of a flexible printed circuit board include:
- Saves Space — Flexible PCBs are compact, saving space and weight of the electronic device. The flexibility of the board allows it to fit into tight spaces without having to create a bigger electronic device.
- Durability — These circuit boards have fewer required interconnects, which reduce the number of solder joints. Fewer solder joints improve the durability of the board, making it strong and reliable.
- Cost-effective — Flexible PCBs need fewer materials, packaging, assembly hours, and repairs. All of these advantages lower the price of the circuit board.
Flexible PCB Costs
Four factors determine the cost of a flexible PCB — the board size, circuit construction, volume, and materials used, all of which help keep the price of the board lower.
The base cost of a printed circuit board is calculated by the size. Basically, the bigger the PCB the more it will cost. You need more materials and time to build a bigger PCB. However, when two parts of the board are “nested” within the panel, it helps to optimize the material and lower the cost. Nesting is when the developer interlocks two parts together with a 180-degree turn.
By using a trace width calculator tool, you are able to obtain a rough draft of the size of your flexible PCB to help give you an estimate of the cost.
The number of layers on a flexible PCB will dictate the overall price. Typically, more layers will mean a higher price. As you add layers to the board, more processing steps along with materials are needed.
When comparing double-sided and single-layered circuit boards, the price of the double-sided (two-layer) PCB is often one and a half to two times more than the same-sized single-layer PCB. The added processing steps for the double sides is a significant factor in the price increase.
The number of flexible PCBs within an order can greatly impact the overall cost. Typically, companies will often have discounts or lowered prices for larger or bulk orders. Small orders with a lower volume of boards tend to be constructed as necessary.
The flexible pcb materials used during production will affect the overall cost as well. More expensive materials will mean a higher price tag for the board to cover the overhead cost of building and processing. The types of materials needed and the requirements for the board will be factored into the overall price.
The design of a flexible printed circuit board requires fewer materials, which will help reduce the cost. You don’t need as many connectors and wires to build the board, which will reduce the complexity of assembling it and lower the cost.
By going with a flexible pcb, you are open to more possibilities for the design of the electronic device. It helps reduce the number of materials needed, which saves space and time when processing the board. They are a cost-effective option for fitting an electronic device.
When considering a flexible PCB design, take into consideration the board size, circuit construction, volume of boards needed, and the materials used. All of these factors will significantly impact the overall price of the board.