This section provides an overview for flexible printed circuit boards (pcb) as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 flexible printed circuit board (pcb) manufacturers and their company rankings.
Table of Contents
A flexible printed circuit board is a board with a wiring pattern made of bendable copper on a base film. The base film is composed of an insulating and bendable resin. Flexible printed circuit boards can be made thinner and can be bent freely while maintaining electrical characteristics.
Flexible printed circuit boards can be used as circuit boards by mounting components, etc., and can also be used as connecting members like cables by forming only wiring patterns.
Due to its thin and soft characteristics, it is often used for moving parts that require bending or folding, or for connecting parts, and is also used for three-dimensional circuits together with flexible rigid substrates. Flexible printed circuit boards are often used not only in the space development and military fields, where they were originally intended, but also in familiar fields such as smartphones, cell phones, typing keyboards, and calculators, where thinness and lightness are required.
A flexible printed circuit board consists of a wiring pattern formed by bendable copper on a base film made of a bendable resin such as polyimide.
There are also rigid printed circuit boards with wiring patterns on a rigid, non-flexible insulating base board. Unlike rigid boards, flexible printed wiring boards are characterized by the fact that they can be processed thinner than rigid boards and can be bent because the base is a thin film and the base is flexible. As with rigid substrates, components can be mounted on the wiring pattern.
Flexible printed circuit boards have a single-sided structure in which only one layer of the wiring pattern is formed on one side of the base film, and a double-sided structure in which one layer is formed on both sides of the base film. There are also multi-layered flexible printed circuit boards with two or more layers of wiring patterns on each side of the base film.
The single-sided structure of a flexible printed board is one in which a single-layer wiring pattern is formed on only one side of the base film. Single-sided structure is often used in moving parts because of its light weight, flexibility, and durability against movement.
In the double-sided structure of flexible printed circuit boards, a single-layer wiring pattern is formed on both sides of the base film. The double-sided structure is superior in that it is compact and allows high-density wiring patterns to be formed, and more functions can be mounted. However, compared to the single-sided structure, it is inferior in flexibility and durability, making it unsuitable for use in moving parts.
Multilayered flexible printed circuit board is a multilayered flexible printed circuit board. As with rigid substrates, flexible printed circuit boards can have two or more layers of wiring patterns on the surface of the base film.
In this case, in order to efficiently multilayer, two or more wiring patterns are stacked on both sides of the base film with an insulating layer in between. This multilayered flexible printed circuit board with a protective layer is called a flex rigid board.
This multilayered flexible printed circuit board (flex rigid board) is lightweight, yet has the same high mechanical strength and circuit formation as a rigid base, and can be used for three-dimensional circuits. It is an indispensable component for reducing the size of electronic devices to a compact size.
The following is an explanation of the manufacturing method for flexible printed circuit boards, using a single-sided flexible printed board as an example.
The production of such flexible printed circuit boards requires a great deal of chemical knowledge. Knowledge of inorganic chemistry is required for the etching process, which leaves only the wiring pattern, and the coverlay formation process, which protects the wiring pattern.
The wastewater from the rinsing process contains a wide variety of hazardous substances, so advanced wastewater treatment technology based on chemical knowledge is required.
Flexible printed circuit boards are manufactured worldwide by about 2,500 companies, with Taiwanese manufacturers topping the list in 2018, followed by leading manufacturers; Japan, Korea, China, and some other East Asian countries. Demand for flexible printed circuit boards is expected to continue to grow in a variety of sectors, including public and private military and industrial machinery, the space industry, and the automotive and telecommunications sectors.
Some observers predict that China will have the most momentum due to its investment in improving its technological capabilities and its abundant rare metal resources. Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, the top group, are moving toward higher unit-price niche fields, while China is currently increasing sales centered on low-priced PCBs, but the gap in technological capabilities is narrowing, and it is only a matter of time before China will join the top group in the future.
*Including some distributors, etc.
Sort by Features
Sort by Area
Number of Employees
Newly Established Company
Company with a History
This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. If you are a resident of another country, please select the appropriate version of Metoree for your country in the drop-down menu.