Flex Circuits and Their Application to Mobile and Wearable Devices

Posted on Nov. 1, 2018

Flex circuits are thin, lightweight electrical circuits that are designed to conform to contoured shapes and relatively small spaces. They are comprised of conductive metal strips enveloped with dielectric materials, made of solder mask or polyimide. These great insulators allow circuits to bend, withstand high temperatures, and even resist contamination. The prime function of a flex circuit is to carry electronic signals and power. They are similar to printed circuit boards only in that they are flexible and can fit in smaller spaces, and as a result, flex circuits are used in a number of applications including the medical, telecommunication, industrial, military, and aerospace fields among others. Below is a rundown of why flex circuits are so widely used in mobile and wearable devices.

Size and Space Limitations

Space limitation is a fundamental issue when it comes to manufacturing mobile and wearable devices. To make the use of these devices more convenient, their size has to be minimized.

However, reducing their sizes comes with the challenge of having to build smaller PCBs. Luckily, this is a challenge that has been adequately addressed by Flex Circuits. These circuits can easily be fitted into smaller gadgets, perfect for being applied to the production of mobile and wearable devices.

Weight Constraints

Mobile and wearable devices have to be lightweight. For example, it wouldn't be practical to wear a medical alert device that weighs you down. Flex circuits enable manufacturers of such devices to make lighter products to the benefit of the end users.

Lower Cost

The level of competition in the mobile and wearable devices industry is quite high. For manufacturers to remain competitive, they have to come up with innovative ways of cutting their cost of production. One of such ways has to do with implementing flex circuits.

Flex circuits can help manufacturers reduce the cost of producing mobile and wearable devices in a number of ways. Flex circuits are made without utilizing connectors and solder joints; when it comes to the assembly of the mobile and wearable devices using flex circuits, less materials are required.

By using flex circuits, manufacturers of mobile and wearable devices require less labor to assemble their products. To summarize, flex circuits enable manufacturers to reduce production cost and remain competitive.

Reliability

One of the main benefits of flex circuits has to do with their reliability; their copper strips are encased with materials that can withstand high temperatures. Polyimide is best known for having outstanding thermal stability, and works well in cases of high radiation exposure.

The Takeaway

Overall, flex circuits are similar to printable circuit boards but are flexible, and therefore, they can be used in gadgets where space is limited. Also, these circuits are light, and they can be applied in manufacturing devices whose weight has to be relatively lower. Therefore, it's not a surprise that flex circuits are being widely utilized when it comes to the production of mobile and wearable devices.

If you have any question about flexible circuits and their application in the modern mobile and wearable devices technologies, feel free to contact us.

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