Why Flexible PCB Need Stiffeners
A PCB stiffener is required to give your PCB its rigidity. There are several materials available to stiffen PCBs. Some are more expensive than others, such as FR4 or stainless steel. You need to decide which type is best for your specific needs.
Flexible printed circuit boards (PCBs) are among the most popular types of PCBs on the market today. Their flexibility allows designers to design circuitry that isn’t possible with rigid circuits. However, a flexible PCB’s lack of stiffness can lead to performance and durability issues. For this reason, flexible PCBs often include stainless steel stiffeners.
A stiffener may be either thick or mass-oriented and attached to a flexible PCB on the same side as the components. If the flexible PCB is assembled with plated through-hole connections, the stiffeners may be attached to the opposite side of the connector. The stiffeners are then sealed into place with pressure-sensitive adhesives or thermal bonding.
The use of stiffeners for flexible PCBs is most commonly used for flex circuits. They help maintain a proper thickness of the flex circuit and prevent stress on the components and solder joints. This type of stiffener can be attached with thermally bonded acrylic adhesives or PSA.
Stiffeners are often required for flexible PCBs. They reduce the flexibility of the board and provide mechanical support for components during assembly. They also serve a role in heat dissipation. There are several types of stiffeners, and each one provides different benefits. For example, stiffeners can improve solder resistance, increase bond strength, and limit the bending ability of the board.
Generally, rigideners are attached to a PCB using pressure sensitive adhesive tape. PSA is a popular adhesive material for this purpose, which is designed to withstand high-temperature reflow cycles. The type of adhesive used depends on the length and location of the stiffeners. If the stiffeners extend beyond the flex circuit side, it is important to use PSA to attach them to the board. Additionally, PSA may not be suitable for stiffeners that are too short or too long.
Aluminum is an alternative material for stiffeners. This material has better heat-sink and rigidity than other materials. Aluminum is more expensive, but can be more durable than other materials.
When working with flexible PCBs, it is necessary to consider stiffeners in your design. Adding a stiffener can increase solder resistance and strengthen the connections between components. It can also help with strain relief and heat dissipation. In most cases, stiffeners are bonded on the same side of the flexible PCB as the components.
FR4 and polyimide are two materials that are commonly used for stiffeners. These materials are cheap and can provide a flat surface to the flexible PCB. They also provide excellent solder resistance and can provide the required support during pick-and-place processes.
The placement of stiffeners is important because they must be installed on the same side as the components to be mounted. This also allows easy access to the solder pads. While stiffeners are important, some customers may choose to skip the stiffeners altogether and use a FR-4 frame instead of an SMT carrier.
FR4 stiffeners for flexible PCBs are an excellent way to maintain and route flexible PCBs. They work by extending a strip of FR-4 stiffener material into a flexible PCB array. This helps the flex PCB maintain its proper shape and avoid cracks in the conductor layers. In addition to providing support during assembly, these devices can also act as heat dissipation devices.
FR4 stiffeners can be made of a variety of materials, including stainless steel and aluminum. Stainless steel stiffeners are more resistant to corrosion, are more adaptable and more resistant to a wide range of temperature conditions. Stainless steel stiffeners are usually thin, ranging from 0.1 to 0.45mm.
FR4 stiffeners are added to a flexible circuit as the final fabrication step. They can be applied with either pressure sensitive or thermal-set adhesive. The choice may depend on the end-use, but pressure-sensitive stiffeners are usually less expensive than thermal-set adhesive. In addition, thermal-set adhesive requires the flex to be placed in a lamination press, which applies heat to cure the adhesive.