Flexible electronics Advantage and Disadvantages of FPCs
Flexible printed circuits (FPC) are made with a photolithographic technology. An alternative way of making flexible foil circuits or flexible flat cables (FFCs) is laminating very thin (0.07 mm) copper strips in between two layers of PET. These PET layers, typically 0.05 mm thick, are coated with an adhesive which is thermosetting, and will be activated during the lamination process. FPCs and FFCs have several advantages in many applications:
Tightly assembled electronic packages, where electrical connections are required in 3 axes, such as cameras (static application).
Electrical connections where the assembly is required to flex during its normal use, such as folding cell phones (dynamic application).
Electrical connections between sub-assemblies to replace wire harnesses, which are heavier and bulkier, such as in cars, rockets and satellites.
Electrical connections where board thickness or space constraints are driving factors.
Advantage of FPCs
Potential to replace multiple rigid boards or connectors
Single-sided circuits are ideal for dynamic or high-flex applications
Stacked FPCs in various configurations
Disadvantages of FPCs
Cost increase over rigid PCBs
Increased risk of damage during handling or use
More difficult assembly process
Repair and rework is difficult or impossible
Generally worse panel utilization resulting in increased cost