Innovative Solutions in Flexible Printed Circuit Boards
Flexible Printed Circuit Boards – Development and Applications
Flexible printed circuit boards (FPCBs) are thin electronic boards made from insulating substrates such as polyester or polyimide, with a thin layer of copper on both sides. This construction allows for the transmission of electrical current and signals between different components. The primary advantage of FPCBs lies in their flexibility, enabling them to bend and shape according to desired forms and sizes. This feature makes them crucial components in modern devices like smartphones, wearable electronics, and industrial sensors. The FPCBs in this form have been known to us so far, but progress is beginning to reshape their existing form.
Innovative Beyolex from Panasonic Paves the Way for New Electronic Possibilities
The latest progress in FPCBs introduces the flexible Beyolex substrate, developed by Panasonic. Beyolex is a thermosetting, non-silicone film that remains flexible even at high temperatures and withstands degradation from repeated bending. This innovation brings new possibilities for creating electronic circuits that can withstand challenging conditions while maintaining the stability of connections.
This new substrate allows for the creation of electronic circuits that not only remain functional when bent or twisted but also withstand high temperatures during component soldering. Beyolex can tolerate temperatures exceeding 160°C, making it an ideal partner for demanding processes such as soldering.
However, crucially, unlike traditional conductive materials that can lose their conductivity when bent, Beyolex's ability to maintain the stability of electrical connections even under demanding conditions makes it a suitable candidate for applications where flexibility is coupled with high reliability, such as shapeable devices, wearable electronics, or environments with temperature variations.
Research and Future Outlook
Collaboration between Panasonic and partners from Germany, France, and Portugal led to the demonstration of conductive prints on flexible base FPCBs made from the Beyolex substrate. This collaboration showcased the versatility and potential of the new technology. In March 2023, flexible boards with prints of conductive copper and silver paths were successfully produced, which, thanks to Panasonic's supporting medium, experienced no deformation or degradation. Additionally, in partnership with the Portuguese research team from the University of Coimbra, attempts were made to develop a printable ink based on liquid metals. This ink, made from liquid metal, can flexibly bend without losing conductivity, making it an ideal and cost-effective companion for printing on Beyolex substrates. Furthermore, FPCBs produced this way proved to be suitable for electronic applications requiring true flexibility. The new ink is also more environmentally friendly than traditional production methods like etching or milling.
The development of new materials, such as Beyolex and printable composites based on liquid metals, propels the electronic industry forward, paving the way for increasingly innovative and flexible electronic devices. With the ability to withstand extreme conditions while offering easy component assembly, these innovative materials become promising candidates for future electronic projects that may surprise us with their innovation and functionality.
Innovations in the development of flexible printed circuit boards bring new possibilities to the electronics industry. Flexible PCBs are becoming crucial components in modern electronic devices due to their ability to bend and adapt to various conditions. New materials, like Beyolex and liquid metal-based printable composites, open doors to new electronic possibilities. Panasonic and its partners demonstrate that the future of flexible PCBs is filled with innovations and potential.
Panasonic will showcase the results and tests of its own production and utilization of these new materials and technologies at the TechBlick trade fair. The theme of the Berlin TechBlick event, taking place at the Estrel Hotel and Convention Center on October 17-18, 2023, is shaping the future of current electronics. The event will unveil the latest updates and feature crucial presentations that introduce new ideas and electronic projects.
Connect with our specialists