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Long Flex Printed Wiring Boards (PWB) | Pioneer Circuits Extended Length Flex Capabilities

Pioneer Circuits Extended Length Flex Capabilities

Flex and Rigid Flex PWB’s provide many design opportunities to engineers, but imagine how much more you could do with a longer, more reliable flex printed circuits board (PCB).
Here at Pioneer Circuits, when we talk about our extended length flex circuit capabilities, we really mean 2 things: the first, of course, is the record setting sizes of the flex circuits we manufacture--like the 9-foot assembly we created for NASA’s deep space network—and the second, is the lengths to which our circuits have enabled exploration of the furthers reaches of our solar system.

Just over 200 miles above our planet’s surface, the International Space Station (ISS) circles the globe 15 and a half times a day as crew members conduct groundbreaking research in a wide variety of scientific disciplines. Hundreds of mission critical modules above the station incorporate Pioneer Circuitry crafted for Lockheed, Raytheon, General Electric, Motorola, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, Teledyne Technologies, Space X, and many more of our valued customers, but 200 miles on earth is just the beginning. Through he Deep Space Network, Pioneer Circuits’ Extended Length Flex Circuitry is taking us all much further. Approximately 140,00 miles away, many of the satellites orbiting Mars include circuitry from Pioneer, and through those satellites, data passes between Earth and Rover on Mars surface.

JPL developed the flex endurance test that was to be performed under a simulated Martian Environment for Pioneer Circuits. As Pioneer Circuits had done on previous missions, we partnered with JPL’s flex expert to come up with a construction that would pass these critical tests. The target objective for the tests was to pass 15,000 flex cycles. Pioneer Circuits’ results exceeded everyone’s expectations by passing over 600,000 cycles, illustrating the reliability of Pioneer Circuit’s flex circuitry. Because of this success, NASA and JPL have decided to use Pioneer Circuit’s extended length flex construction on all future robotic missions.

One example of our technology in use for NASA is the 35-foot harness assembly that is used in the arms of both twin MER Rovers and the MSL currently operational on Mars. These flex assemblies connect to all science instruments at the end of the arm and extend back into the body of the rover. MER’s original mission goal was to last 90 days. However, the success of the rover greatly exceeded design expectations, lasting over 10 years in the harsh Martian environment. In fact, to this day, scientists are still receiving usable data. NASA and JPL’s success with extended length flex cabling was also incorporated in to both robots and robot landers. The latest one being the 2012 MSL curiosity rover. The partnership using extended length flex circuitry continues to evolve to meet the next generation of Mars Rovers. Pioneer Circuits’ flex circuitry extended even beyond Mars. You’ll find it in the JUNO Probe, currently sending us the best data about Jupiter yet collected, in the Cassini Space Craft, continuing its exploration of Saturn, and aboard New Horizons, now traveling beyond the plants of our Solar System. Pioneer Circuits is proud to contribute to humanity’s continuing voyage into the unknown with our extended length, highly reliable flex capabilities, and unsurpassed concurrent engineering program.

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

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

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