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Flex and Rigid Flex Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Benefits | The Flex Advantage

Flex and rigid flex printed circuit boards (PCB’s) are smaller, lighter and more reliable. Learn about the advantages of using flex and rigid flex printed wiring boards (PWB’s) over traditional rigid boards or hardwiring.

Are you aware of flexible printed circuit board (PCB) technology? Flexible circuits create great design opportunities for Engineers. Unlike the standard rigid board or hard wiring, they are able to bend and mold to fit into tighter places, and when done correctly, flex circuits can be durable and reliable enough to withstand even Martian environments. Many high-reliability and high-visibility programs actually use flex PCB technology – these include the Mars Rovers: Pathfinder, Curiosity, and twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

If these flex PCB’s can hold up in space, imagine what they can do for the typical engineer.

Exclusive interview with Dale McKeeby, Vice President of Pioneer Circuits Inc.

A typical engineering challenge can be like starting with a bottle, and trying to get a working ship into it. Except the ship is millions of dollars worth of cutting edge technology, and the bottle is a spacecraft, a missile, a UAV, or a Mars Rover.

Trying to get all the necessary technology to fit onto the physical parts may be the biggest obstacle.

Pioneer Circuit’s fabrication of flexible printed circuit boards (pcb’s), helped the Pathfinder Rover, as seen in the movie “The Martian,” with Matt Damon, successfully complete its mission on Mars. Before JPL turned to flex circuitry for the Pathfinder, the wiring was too big and too heavy to fit into the rover. At this point, it was a non-mission. With flex circuitry, the rover became light and small enough to last 90 days on Mars (60 days longer than projected!)

Using hardwiring for complicated projects can pose error threats that are almost inevitable. Redesigning these projects to use flex circuitry create for an easily replaceable part that saves space, reduces weight, and adds reliability.

More importantly, flexible printed circuits board can remove the potential for human error and put an end to electrical failures with 100% reliability. Flexible circuits can be of extended length and multiple layers for the most complicated projects.

When creating a project that may need a flexible circuit, it is important to work with concurrent engineering to ensure that the project works correctly from beginning to end. Many times, a project may be designed, and when the wiring necessary is added, the realization that the parts no longer fit as how they are supposed to occurs all too late.

Many engineers have design ideas, but the hard wiring necessary makes the project impossible. With flex and rigid flex technology, these projects are possible again with a delivering a space-saving, weight-reducing, and reliability-increasing solution.

Need help with your project? Let our concurrent engineering work for you! Contact us here: http://www.pioneercircuits.com

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