In essence, the primary function of a Flexible Stiffener is to provide a sturdy and reliable platform for a particular area in the Flexible PCB that must not be versatile and necessitates additional thickness to meet the desired parameters and the standard guidelines. Hence, we have compiled several Alternative Stiffener Component selections.
Although the responsibility of a Flexible Stiffener is relatively straightforward, the materials utilized must be considered since it has varying capabilities based on usage.
Consequently, we’ll comprehensively tackle the definition of a Flexible PCB Stiffener, its purpose, importance, different classifications, advantages, and ways to employ them.
What is a Flexible PCB Stiffener?
Technically, a Flexible PCB needs a material known as a Flexible Stiffener to provide structural strength and stiffness. It is a polymer base that is bonded onto the board’s outermost layer and is thin, bendable, and composed of a substance like a polyimide.
Typically, Flexible PCB Stiffeners are positioned on PCBs in places where extra support is required, such as close-to connections, mounting openings, and other components. They aid in preventing the circuitry from twisting or bowing during treatment, construction, or even use, which could harm the parts and impair the circuit’s functionality.
Additionally, Flexible Stiffeners aid in equally dispersing tension across the PCB, lowering the risk of mechanical stress-related failures like splitting or fracturing. To satisfy the unique demands of the PCB design, they can be created to have a variety of mechanical characteristics, such as rigidity and elasticity.
Broadly speaking, Flexible PCB Stiffeners play a significant role in many Circuit boards, especially in Flexible Circuitry designs by giving the board structural strength, stabilizing it, and assisting in ensuring dependable performance for the circuit’s entire lifespan.
Detailed Description of a Flexible PCB Stiffener
Several Purposes of Alternative Stiffeners in Flexible PCB
As mentioned, the primary responsibility of a Flexible PCB Stiffener is to provide structural support to the specific regions in a Flexible PCB. But even if they are important in a flexible Circuit, stiffeners are not a fundamental part of the general designs. Yet there is a plethora of reasons to include a Flex PCB Stiffener; some of them are listed below.
Different Capabilities of a Flexible PCB Stiffener
- Maintain physically the specific areas of the board that encompass SMT and PTH components.
- Maintain the bend circuit’s justifiable width.
- Provide connections and circuit components assistance.
- In accordance with the needs, confine the pliable sections to the stiff regions.
- It improves the management of fragile, narrow circuitry.
- Maintain certain regions of bendable circuitry level and steady.
- Comply with ZIF connection requirements.
- At the point where the solid and flexible parts meet, raise the circuit’s curve diameter. Thus, the tension that results from repeated bending procedures on the flexible portion will be reduced.
- Groups for routing and holding; the stiffener substance will be inserted further into the matrix to accomplish this.
Why is there a Need to Incorporate Alternative Stiffeners?
Essentially, the importance of integrating a Flexible PCB Stiffener is pretty straightforward. Basically, Stiffeners are necessary for various reasons; however, there are four (4) primary reasons that there must be an incorporation of a Stiffener.
Importance of Alternative Stiffeners
- A compression region is where constituents are positioned.
- Flex material is put under tension because of the heft of the constituents that are used in a bendable vicinity.
- It is necessary to make a flat, firm structure in order to place SMT pad components on the curve.
- To lessen the tension on the cushions, joints that must be inserted several times could benefit from a stiffener.
Different Classifications of Alternative Stiffener Materials
One of the essential aspects to consider before selecting a Stiffener is the materials utilized on it since a lot of them offer advantages depending on the desired application. On the contrary, it can offer cons in them too. Therefore, it would be advantageous to know by memory and psyche the different Flexible PCB Stiffener Substances.
A popular form of a hybrid substance used in the creation of Boards is FR4. It is made up of braided fiberglass fabric that has been filled with an epoxy resin adhesive and then hardened under extreme temperatures and stresses to create a solid, long-lasting base.
Furthermore, high strength, rigidity, and structural consistency are just a few of FR4’s exceptional mechanical and electrical qualities. The fact that it resists dampness, acids, and extreme temps makes it appropriate for use in a variety of electrical uses.
To get the best results out of an FR4 Flexible Circuit Stiffener, it should be positioned on either side of the connection or constituent. In addition, its thickness should only vary between 0.008-inch to 0.059-inch; however, it can be on a case-to-case basis. Ultimately, it is possible to bind FR4 with a pressure-sensitive adhesive or a stretch glue that is chemically formed.
Another popular base for Flexible Circuit Boards, including Flexible Stiffeners, is Polyimide, a form of a polymer substance. Due to its great efficiency and superior temperature, mechanical, and chemical characteristics, it is a substance that is well adapted for use in difficult electrical applications.
In order to create polyimide bendable stiffeners, a sheet of polyimide material is usually laminated to the board’s outermost layer. The corresponding pliable stiffener gives the board structural strength while also providing some elasticity and twisting.
In comparison to other polymers, Polyimide Flexible Stiffeners have a multitude of advantages, such as high-temperature resistance, chemical resistance, structural consistency, and low dielectric constant and loss factor.
In conclusion, Polyimide Flexible Stiffeners are a trusted and effective option for giving flexible board structural strength, and they are frequently used in a range of electronic industries, including aircraft, industrial, medical technology, and consumer electronics.
In some electrical uses, stainless steel may be employed as a Flexible Stiffener. Although it is more malleable and has superior mechanical qualities for use in Flexible Circuit Boards, it is not as widely used as substances like Polyester or Polyimide.
Creation of Stainless Steel Flexible PCB Stiffener
Essentially, thin strips of stainless steel are usually used to create Stainless Steel Flexible Stiffeners, which are then pressed or laser-cut into the desired form and dimension. Also, to provide electrical shielding between the stiffener and the board, the stainless steel is then covered with a coating of polyimide or another shielding substance.
In comparison to other substances, Stainless Steel Bendable Stiffeners have a number of benefits, including high strength and rigidity, rust protection, temperature stability, and RFI blocking. Even so, there are some drawbacks to Stainless Steel Flexible Stiffeners as well, including less elasticity and higher price.
Altogether, although Stainless Steel can be used in some electrical uses as a Flexible Stiffener substance, it is less frequently used than other elements that provide greater elasticity and dynamic characteristics for use in Flexible Boards.
Similar to Stainless Steel Flexible PCB Stiffener, the Aluminum Flex PCB Stiffener is not as much used as Polyimide since it doesn’t offer the same versatility as Polyimide. However, there are some instances that an application would call for this material; especially for purposes that call for heat sinks since it can act as one. Although it can be an amazing solution as a Flexible PCB Stiffener, it can be pretty costly that Polyimide and FR4.
Advantages of Flex PCB Mechanical Design and Stiffeners’ Best Choices
Since we’ve already touched on the various Flexible PCB Stiffener Materials, we can discuss their several applications and wide array of benefits.
Areas for Supporting Components and Connections
As stated, there are four (4) fundamental materials that can act as a Flexible PCB Stiffener; we have, FR4, Polyimide, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum. In line with this, if the application calls for a constrained budget, we recommend the utilization of FR4 or Polyimide Flexible PCB Stiffener.
On the contrary, if the application necessitates a robust and reliable option, some may opt for FR4 material. However, one could still go for Stainless Steel and Aluminum alternatives depending on the set budget.
In terms of ZIF Connectors, only the Polyimide material can suffice since it has the ability to control the thickness and the contacts that the connector must take. Prior to measuring the component shape, the stiffener is affixed using only thermally bound flex glue. To ensure that the strict physical limits needed by ZIF connection standards are met, it is attached and enlarged to the component framework, allowing the stiffener and portion basic structure to be cut concurrently.
Stronger and Extra Thickness
Since the Polyimide Flexible PCB Stiffener has more versatility than any other material, they are suitable for applications that necessitate additional thickness and strength. Apart from that, they are beneficial in purposes that require greater than average wear and damage.
Control of Thermal Transmission
Among all of the materials mentioned for the Flexible PCB Stiffener, Aluminum Material has great performance in heat dissipation; hence, if the application calls for exceptional heat transfer management, then an Aluminum Flexible PCB Stiffener would be the suitable option.
Bending Positions Management
In some instances, application necessitates a material that is capable of bending in particular locations; thus, it requires a Stiffener that can be versatile. In that case, we recommend Polyimide; however, the most popular material in such scenarios is FR4 depending on the set parameters. In that way, we can reduce the possibility of experiencing damage.
As stated, the Polyimide and FR4 Flexible PCB Stiffener is the cost-efficient solution among all the materials mentioned. Further, they are simple to manufacture and offer a stable interface. On the contrary, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Flexible PCB Stiffeners are much more pricey. Also, it necessitates advanced equipment and technologies on them.
All in all, it still depends on the desired specifications of the applications; hence, it would be better to reach out to an expert for a better quotation, like MV Flex Circuit.
Adaptive Circuit Stiffeners Approaches
Stiffeners are used in Flexible PCB designs to give features to the finished aspect. If it’s essential to boost the part’s surface area locally to comply with a particular attachment standard or rigidify a limited region for constituent reinforcement, then it would be helpful to attach a Flexible PCB Stiffener.
In summary, Flexible PCB Stiffener comes in a variety of materials, each with its respective capabilities and drawbacks. Hence, it would be beneficial to consider all aspects of the production phase before selecting the right one for your application. In this piece, we think we’ve covered all the important details about Flex Board Stiffener.
If you’re interested in incorporating a Flexible PCB Stiffener in your applications, then do not hesitate to message MV Flex Circuit. We’ve been performing these services for over fifteen years; hence, you can guarantee that your products will be well-taken care of with us.
Apart from that, we are constantly offering special discounts on our products. Send your specifications today, and get a chance to enjoy them! We at MV Flex Circuit are always available at your service.