Flex and Rigid-Flex Circuit Assemblies

NEW DIRECTIONS IN Integrated Flex, Rigid-Flex, and PCBAs

Single-sided flex circuits Single-sided flexible circuits are the most common type manufactured by Glenair. They consist of a single conductor layer on a flexible dielectric film terminated with a thru-hole, ZIF or surface mount PCB connector. Single- sided flex circuits may be supplied as complex multi-branch assemblies. Or more commonly as simple point-to-point flex jumpers, such as from a board-level connector to an I/O interface connector. Glenair offers numerous point-to- point flex jumpers as standard catalog products with accelerated lead times. Glenair is one of the few manufacturers of turnkey, connectorized flex assembles

Various formats of flex circuits (metallic layer(s) of traces, usually copper, bonded to a dielectric layer, like polyimide)—are used to interconnect embedded electronic packages, displays, backplanes and other PCB components. Flex and rigid-flex circuits are considered superior to conventional wiring as they can be easily routed in three dimensions, are lighter and smaller than discrete wires, and offer virtually unlimited flex cycles in articulated applications. Flex and rigid-flex circuits are commonly deployed within avionic LRU’s and other complex electronic systems, as well as between articulating components, such as disk drive, robotic arms, and other electro-mechanical devices. Compared with traditional wiring, compact flexible printed circuit assemblies reduce system complexity and assembly time as well as enhance reliability. Due to their low mass and high circuit density, flex circuit assemblies are less susceptible to impact and vibration damage than conventional wire harness assemblies, making them an ideal choice in satellite applications such as articulated solar arrays, sensors, and antenna. As mentioned, the high electrical-connection density provided by flex and rigid-flex circuits delivers considerable weight and package size savings compared to wire and wire harnesses. This makes the medium an ideal choice for the reduction of all-up weights in aircraft and space systems. For this reason, flexible printed circuits

that will soon be making long length assemblies 96 inches and up. Glenair will offer

these extra-long flex circuits in one

are increasingly specified in place of conventional interconnect wire harnesses in weight-sensitive aero and space applications.

Flex and rigid-flex circuits are ideally suited for 3-D routing requirements in small form-factor electronics

QwikConnect • July 2022


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