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FPCB Would a flexible printed circuit board be right for your next product design?

Author / Editor: Nigel Charig / Erika Granath

Modern electronic devices are typically both compact and rugged–and this is due in part to their internal use of flexible (sometimes called flex) printed circuit boards (FPCBs). Originally designed during World War ll as a wire harness replacement, FPCBs have grown into an industry that is expected to reach US$27 billion by 2022.

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A Flexible Printed Circuit Board (FPCB).
A Flexible Printed Circuit Board (FPCB).
(Source: Adobe Stock)

This article looks at the types of flexible printed circuit boards currently available, and the advantages, challenges, and costs associated with the technology.

Generally, flexible PCBs are made of materials such as plastic that can flex and move. This allows FPCBs to turn or shift during normal use without permanently damaging any onboard components or connectors. Additionally, FPCBs allow circuitry to be designed to fit an electronic device, rather than building the device to accommodate the PCB. FPCBs are pliable enough to configure around device edges and folds, and can survive 200,000 bending cycles.