Author: Steven E. Dean Company: Parlex Corporation Date Published: 9/10/1996
Surface Mount International
Abstract: Flexible printed circuits (FPC’s) area combination of metal conductors patterned on a flexible dielectric material that offers several advantages over traditional rigid circuit solutions; l complete freedom to utilize all 3 - dimensions in order to design the most volumetrically efficient form factor. l simplification of the most complex electronic assemblies by eliminating a potential jig-saw of pieces. l reduce the overall package size and weight, at the same time reducing assembly time and cost. l increase reliability and improve heat dissipation when compared to conventional printed circuit boards (PCB’S). l excellent high temperature performance (up to 260”C). In many applications FPC’S have been truly the enabling technology. HDD’s (hard disk drives) in their present form are not possible without the amazing dynamic (continual flexing) performance of FPC’S. An added benefit is the inherent compliancy of FPC’S that reduces the CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion) mis-match between semiconductor package and traditional PCB’S. The reality of these benefits is that the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of FPC’S has out paced that of PCB’S in almost every market segment for the past 5 years. Designers, EE’s (Electrical engineers) and Mechanical engineers are finding more and more situations where a FPC simply makes more sense. During the past 10 years as this technology has transformed from a simple jumper interconnect to become an integral part of the electronic package a necessity arose to accommodate the packaging densities and fine pitches of surface mount technology components (SMT).