Because of the flex-to-install architecture of semi-flex PCBs and the use of specialized FR-4 material and a specific manufacturing procedure, these circuit boards can sometimes be a cheap solution for some applications. For some more complex applications, semi-flex PCBs frequently serve as a more than acceptable solution, and manufacturing them is simpler. This method frequently incorporates the best aspects of both worlds. Semi-flex is essentially a multilayer PCB that has been manufactured to a certain depth tolerance using a specific type of FR4. in order to provide a flexible/bendable section of the conventionally hard FR4 in the ensuing narrower area. Semi-flex is appropriate for static application (flex to install) or for bends that occur extremely seldom.
Advantages of semi-flex PCBs
Electrical designers and engineers can benefit from a multitude of advantages provided by semi-flex PCBs. In the first place, semi-flex PCBs can conserve space in a manner similar to that of flex boards. A relatively large board can be installed in a tiny, cramped space because it can bend during installation. Semi-flex PCBs are also highly dependable when created and fabricated properly. Comparing semi-flex PCBs to flex circuit boards, significant cost savings are also available. This is due to the fact that the flexible component of the board is made possible by carefully controlling the depth of milling to reduce the thickness of the FR4 material. Flex PCBs, in contrast, acquire their higher flexibility by the use of a significantly more expensive polyamide substrate. Although there are still some circumstances where a flex PCB’s greater bending capabilities are required, it is advisable to use semi-flex PCBs whenever possible to keep costs in check.
From a design standpoint, one of the most significant distinctions among semi-flex and flex PCBs is that a semi-flex PCB could only bend a finite number of times. A semi-flex PCB will fracture or shatter with repeated bending, but regular flex PCBs can be stretched repeatedly without suffering damage. Semi-flex PCBs are therefore best suited for flex-to-install applications. The majority of semi-flexible boards may, however, bend twice. As long as the PCB isn’t frequently bent under stress, this enables installation and subsequent maintenance to be performed with little risk of damage.