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What is Flexible PCB

1.What is Flexible PCB?

Flexible circuits (also variously referred to around the globe as flex circuits, flexible printed circuit boards, flex print, Flexi-circuits) are members of electronic and interconnection family. They consist of a thin insulating polymer film having conductive circuit patterns affixed thereto and typically supplied with a thin polymer coating to protect the conductor circuits. The technology has been used for interconnecting electronic devices since the 1950s in one form or another. It is now one of the most important interconnection technologies in use for the manufacture of many of today's most advanced electronic products.

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High Temperature and High-Density Applications:

In many cases, flex circuits are made of polyimide or a similar polymer. This material dissipates heat better than most rigid circuit board materials. For this reason, flexible circuits can be placed in inconvenient locations where heat would impact the performance of a rigid circuit board.

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Flexible circuit boards can be designed to withstand extreme temperatures – between -200° C and 400° C – which explains why they are so desirable for borehole measurements in the oil and gas industry.

In fact, because of these conditions, and the need for small, unobtrusive devices in most industrial environments, flexible circuits represent the first choice for engineering design in most industrial sensor technologies.

High-temperature resistance comes usually comes with good chemical resistance and excellent resistance to radiation and UV exposure as well. Combined with the ability to control impedances in high-density circuit board designs, flexible circuit designs offer many benefits to manufacturers.

What are the differences between the Poyester (PET) and Polymide(PI) material?

The flex pcb raw material and stack up will decide the flex circuit quality. According to the market demand, there are three types of base raw material used for Flexible circuit board. Poyester(PET), adhesive Polymide (PI) and adhesiveless Polymide (PI) . Do you know the difference between the PET and PI material? If not, let us learn about it together now.

The advantages and disadvantages of Polyester(PET) and Polymide(PI).

Attached is a form for your reference, hope it will be helpful you. And you can choose the right raw material according the below form.

Flexibility (2mm radius)BadGoodBest
Tear strength800g500g500g
Strip strength in the air1050N/M1750N/M1225N/M
Working temperature8085~165105~200


The advantages of PET material: Production process is less, price is cheaper, lead time is shorter.

The disadvantages of PET material: Polyester material can not pass through soldering flow. Then it can not be working in high temperature environment.

The advantages of polymide (PI): It’s easy to bend. Can work in high temperature.

The disadvantages of Polymide (PI): The price of raw material is much higher than Polymide.

Custom double side pet polyimide transparent pcb circuit board


Why Not Make All Circuit Boards Flexible?

Flexible circuit boards are certainly useful, but they are not going to replace rigid circuit boards for all applications. Cost efficiency is the main obstacle to implementing an exclusively flexible circuit board design in a consumer product. Rigid circuit boards are less expensive to manufacture and install in a typical automated high-volume fabricating facility.

Typically, the ideal solution for an innovative product is one that incorporates flexible circuitry when necessary and employs solid, reliable rigid circuit boards where possible to keep manufacturing and assembly costs down.

Some manufacturers even use hybrid rigid-flex printed circuit boards expressly for this purpose. This is common in laptop computers and medical devices, where rigid circuit boards can be connected to one other using ribbon-like flexible circuits. These boards can be compounded and designed to meet any number of engineering needs by focusing on the respective strengths of each circuit board base technology.

PCBWay creates both flexible and printed circuit boards for product manufacturers. Enjoy a consultation with one of our sales reps to find out if your product prototype design is best served by flexible or rigid circuit board types.

Check PCBWay Rigid-flex PCB manufacturing capabilities in the following table:


Min. Track/Spacing0.065 mm/0.065 mm
Min. Hole /pa Size0.10/0.35 mm
Rigid-Flex Thickness0.25-6.0mm
MAX CU Thickness4 OZ
Drilling accuracy+/-0.05 mm
PTH diameter tolerance+/-0.05 mm
MAX WPNL SIZE620 mm × 500 mm
Finish Cooper(Flex Part)0.5-2oz
Finish Cooper(Rigid Part)1-4oz
Surface treatmentENIG、Electric gold、IM-Ag、Electric Ag、HASL、HASL-LF、 IM-Sn、Electric Sn、OSP、Caborn、Pt、NI-Pd-AU
Max board thickness : PTH diameter13:1
Build time7-20 days
RFQ1-2 days

PCB Technology Roadmap – Flex


Board thickness (without stiffener)4‐40 mil
Tolerance of single layer±1.0mil
Tolerance of double‐layer (≤12mil)±1.2 mil
Tolerance of multi‐layer (≤12mil)±1.2 mil
Tolerance of multi‐layer (12mil‐32mil)±8%
Tolerance of board thickness (including PI stiffener)±10%
Min. board size0.0788” *0.1576” (without bridge) 0.3152” * 0.3152” (with bridge)
Max. board size8.668” * 27.5”
Impedance control tolerance±4Ω (≤50Ω), ±7% (>50Ω)
Min. coverlay bridge8 mil
Min. bend radius of single layer3‐6 times of board thickness
Min. bend radius of double‐layer7‐10 times of board thickness
Min. bend radius of multi‐layer10‐15 times of board thickness
Min. mechanical drill hole4 mil
Inner Layer Trace/ Space2/ 2 mil
Outer Layer Trace/ Space2/ 2 mil
Solder mask colorGreen\Black
Surface treatmentHASL ,ENIG, ENEPIG, Electrolytic Nickel Gold, Soft gold, Hard gold, Immersion silver and OSP, Immersion tin
Laser accuracy (Routing)±2 mil
Punching accuracy (Routing)±2 mil ‐ ±6 mil

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