16+ Years Experience in Rigid Flex PCB Manufacturing

  • DuPont Pyralux® AC, AG, AP, HT, TA/TAS; Ventec ThinFlex
  • Panasonic FELIOS R-F770/R-F775, SHENGYI SF201, 202 etc.
  • 2-40 Layers Rigid Flex PCB with Blind/Buried Vias
  • Impedance Control, Back drill, Vias Plugging
  • Balanced & Unbalanced Structures
  • Silver Film & Sliver Ink EMI Shielding

What is a Rigid Flex PCB?

The Rigid-flex printed circuit board refers to the rigid printed circuit board and flexible printed circuit board combined after pressing and other specific processes. At the same time, it has two characteristics: rigidness and flexibility. We can assemble many electronic components on the rigid part and bend the flex part to achieve the usage purpose after the final assembly at the same time.

Rigid flexible PCBs are widely used in high technology electronic products, such as industry, automation, medical, telecommunication, wearable electronics, automotive, IoT, robotics, military, aerospace. Viasion is one trustworthy rigid-flex PCB manufacturer with 16+ years of experience, so you can rely on us to produce your rigid-flex PCBs in highest industry standards and competitive pricing. Please contact us our sales team freely to get a cost of rigid flex PCB immediately. 

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    What Are the Types of Rigid Flex PCB?

    If the rigid printed circuit board and the flexible printed circuit board are combined, there are two kinds of rigid-flex circuit boards. One is the flex and rigid printed circuit composite board, and the other is the flex and rigid printed combination board. The flex and rigid printed circuit composite board is composed of the flex and rigid printed circuit boards in the production process. The flex and rigid printed circuit combination board is respectively made of the flex and rigid printed circuit board and then pressed together to form a flex and rigid printed circuit combination board.

    At present, there is not much difference between these two distinctions. They are both called rigid-flex PCBs. Viasion is a rigid-flex PCBs fabricator supplying all kinds of 1-40 layers rigid flex circuits. You are welcome to contact us any time to get the rigid-flex PCB price freely.

    The Necessity of Rigid-Flex PCB

    There are rigid printed circuit boards and flexible printed circuit boards. Why do we still need a rigid-flex printed circuit board? The combination of the rigid printed circuit board and the flexible printed circuit board is a new way of connecting electronic components. At the same time, with the characteristics of rigid and flexible printed circuit boards as well as three-dimensional assembly, rigid and flexible printed circuit boards combined, reduce the number of connectors. It can reduce the size and weight of electronic products to a greater extent, and adapt to the development requirements of portable electronic products. So rigid flex boards are widely used in these products.

    What Is the Manufacturing Process of the Rigid Flex PCB?

    Preparation of base material

    The first step in the manufacturing process of rigid-flex PCBs is to prepare/clean the laminate. The laminate contains copper layers (with adhesive coating) that must be thoroughly cleaned before proceeding to the next step. Pre-cleaning is performed to remove the rust-proof layer that the supplier uses to coat the copper coils to prevent oxidation. To remove the coating, the manufacturer performs the following steps: 1. immerse the copper coil in a concentrated acid solution. 2. handle the micro-etched copper coil with sodium persulfate. Then fully coat the copper coil with a suitable oxidizing agent to provide adhesion and oxidation protection.

    Generating the circuit pattern

    After preparing the base material, the next step is to generate the circuit pattern. This is done by using two main techniques. Silkscreen: This is the most popular technique. It creates the desired pattern directly on the surface of the laminate. The total thickness is 4 to 50 micrometers. Photographic Imaging: This is the oldest technique and is typically used to depict the circuit alignment on the laminate. The pattern is transferred from the photomask to the laminate using a dry photoresist film and UV light.

    Etching the circuit pattern

    After generating the desired pattern, the copper laminate is carefully etched next. This process can be performed by immersing the laminate in an etching bath or by exposing it to an etchant spray. To obtain perfect results, both sides of the laminate must be etched simultaneously.


    High-speed tools with 100% accuracy can be used to create a large number of vias, pads, and through-holes. Laser drilling technology is used for ultra-small holes.

    Through-hole plating

    This is one of the key steps in the rigid-flex PCB manufacturing process that is essential to precise and careful execution. After drilling out the holes to the required specifications, they are deposited with copper and chemically plated. This is done to form layer-to-layer electrical interconnections.

    Application of overlays

    An overlay is applied to protect the top and bottom sides of the rigid-flex printed circuit board. The main purpose is to provide complete protection for the board from harsh physical and chemical conditions. A polyimide film is typically used and is embossed onto the surface using a silkscreen technique.

    Cutting flexible PCBs

    Carefully cut individual flexible sheets. For mass production of rigid flex boards, hydraulic punching should be used, while in small batches, a special knife is used.

    Electrical testing and verification

    Testing and verification is the final step in the manufacturing process. Evaluating the integrity of the rigid-flex printed circuit board is an essential part of the process, as even the slightest defect can seriously affect the function, performance, and durability of the final rigid-flex printed circuit board.

    The Conditions When the Process Edge Should Be Used for Producing Rigid Flex PCB

    Although the use of process edge is of great significance to the rigid flex PCB, the use of process edge will increase the production cost of enterprises. Thus, when we consider whether to use process edge or not in rigid-flex designs, we should pay attention to certain conditions. In general, the process edge can be used if any of the following conditions are met. If you have any doubts our questions about your products, please come to us freely. Since Viasion is one of the best rigid flex PCB manufacturers in China with rich experience in rigid-flex manufacturing. And we can give you best advice to save your rigid flex PCB cost.

    1. The distance between the edge of the rigid-flex printed circuit board and the components. If the distance between the edge of the rigid-flex printed circuit board and the components the engineer designed is too short, such as less than 3 mm, the assembly may fail. In this case, we should use the process edge to expand the distance between the component and the conveyor belt, to ensure safety.

    2. The PCB reference mark. If the PCB does not have a reference mark, then we need to use the process edge, to ensure that the component position conforms to the regulations.

    Note on the process edge

    1. The width of the process edge. The range of the process edge of the printed circuit board industry is generally between 1.5 mm and 5 mm. Since the printed circuit board factory only produces printed circuit boards, if you decide to use the process edge, then the production should be well communicated with downstream customers before production, to avoid the occurrence of mismatch with downstream electronic products.

    2. The cost of the process edge. The use of the process edge will increase the production cost of the rigid-flex printed circuit boards. The rigid-flex printed circuit board factory should find a balance between the minimization of production cost and the production of the rigid-flex printed circuit board, not only to reduce costs but also to be able to produce qualified products. To meet these two requirements, the best solution is to consider it in rigid flex PCB design. The designer should think about the rigid-flex printed circuit board in advance to minimize the use of process edges to reduce costs.

    What Are the Benefits of Rigid-Flex PCB?

    (1)Reliability. Compared with the simple flexible printed circuit board, the reliability of the combination of the rigid and flexible printed circuit board is better, since the flexible printed circuit board is connected through the connector, and the installation is not convenient, and easy to fall off. The combination of the rigid and flexible printed circuit board after the pressing process has better reliability.

    (2)Improve production efficiency. The combination of the rigid and flexible printed circuit board, reduces the use of connectors, and the installation time of the boards as well as the repair rate, greatly improving production efficiency.

    (3)Improve the signal quality. As mentioned earlier, the board combined with the rigid and flexible printed circuit board is not connected through the connector, so the signal is stronger.

    (4)Three-dimensional assembly. It can save assembly space so that the downstream electronic products become more compact and light.

    What Are the Limitations of Rigid-Flex PCB?

    • The production of rigid-flex PCBs is difficult and the process is complex. It is necessary to make rigid printed circuit boards and flexible printed circuit boards respectively and then combine the two. Take into account two aspects: rigid-flex PCB design and production, and note that the process is complicated.
    • High production costs due to manpower and material resources.
    • It cannot be repaired after installation and disassembly.

    What Are the Guidelines for the Rigid-Flex PCB Design?

    • If a circuit board needs to be bent repeatedly, it is recommended to use a single-layer flexible structure, preferably with calendered copper.
    • Bend the copper sheath in the vertical direction as far as possible. If the copper sheath is not in the vertical direction, reduce the bending amplitude and frequency as far as possible.
    • Avoid 45-degree angle wiring to reduce the stress of copper skin during bending.
    • Keep the width of the line unchanged as far as possible. If you need to change it, do not change the width suddenly, which will cause a weak point of impact.
    • Compared with the rigid printed circuit board, the copper on the rigid-flex printed circuit board is easy to fall off, so it is necessary to reinforce the copper skin.
    • Keep both sides flexible. Do not route in the same place on both sides. Try to stagger the route to make it more even.
    • Special attention should be paid to the bending radius of the flexible plate. If the bending radius is too small, it is easy to damage.
    • Rigid-flex PCB stackup is very important. Normally flexible layers are designed in the middle. If we take a typical 4 layer rigid flex PCB as example, layer 2 and 3 should be flexible layers.
    • Please think about the above rigid-flex PCB design guidelines which would be helpful you to your rigid flex PCB fabrication.

    Concerns about the Future of Rigid Flex PCB

    When the rigid-flex printed circuit board first appeared, it was only used in the battery field of smartphones. Due to the small market size, there were not many manufacturers producing rigid-flex printed circuit boards, and basically, a few big circuit board factories were doing this. Later. With the expansion of the application scope of the combination of rigid and flex printed circuit boards, from the single field of mobile phone batteries to mobile phones, cameras, Bluetooth headsets, smart wearables, and other electronic products, more and more printed circuit board manufacturers begin to target the market of the combination of the rigid and flex printed circuit board.

    Statistics from the Board Association show that the combination of the rigid and flex printed circuit board had the fastest growth of all boards in 2021. With the popularity of new energy vehicles, the combination of the rigid and flex printed circuit board used in cars has also become a bright spot in the market growth, which is a good opportunity for printed circuit board factories to enter the high-end market. Looking to the world, with the diversification of electronic products and the development of portable and miniaturized products, I believe that the market for the combination of the rigid and flex printed circuit board will be broader.

    The penetration rate of consumer electronics continues to rise.

    As mentioned above, the rigid-flex printed circuit board first appeared in the field of mobile phone batteries, and now they are widely used. Almost all smartphone batteries use the rigid flex PCB. It’s going to stay that way for quite some time. Now cell phones have more and more lenses, and some mobile phones even have 4 rear cameras. To meet the needs of multi-lens on mobile phones, manufacturers must use the rigid flex PCB because it can reduce the volume. The rigid-flex PCB is also gradually extending to the screen of mobile phones and smart wearable devices which require lightweight, such as sports bracelets. There will also be a lot of use for rigid-flex circuit boards.

    Apple is unique in sticking with flexible printed circuit boards, rather than rigid-flex PCBs. Unlike Apple’s own IOS system, other brands of mobile phones use a rigid-flex PCB.

    It is believed that in the future, the use of rigid-flex printed circuit boards will be higher and higher in other electronic products. The era of the Internet of Things is coming. According to industry experts, future Internet of things products is likely to use the rigid-flex PCB.

    The rigid flex PCB is the key technology in the market.

    The rigid-flex printed circuit board is very useful in the automotive field. A bit beyond the expectations of circuit board practitioners, we did not anticipate that the rigid flex PCB would appear in the car lens module. However, at present, this market is not very big. Due to the production capacity and other reasons, large factories do not have the layout of the automotive rigid flex PCB industry. Yet the competition between small and medium-sized printed circuit board enterprises in production is fierce.

    There are good prospects for future development due to cost advantages and design flexibility.

    Based on the analysis of the characteristics of the rigid-flex printed circuit board, the printed circuit board industry experts believe that the biggest advantage of the rigid-flex printed circuit board is the balance point between design flexibility and production cost, which is the favorite of many terminal brands. In particular, in many Asian companies, in addition to the cell phone battery module and lens module, other display modules use rigid-flex printed circuit boards, and half of Samsung Electronics modules use rigid-flex printed circuit boards, so the proportion is relatively high.

    However, not all companies care about the characteristics of rigid-flex printed circuit boards. Apple is more willing to use flexible printed circuit boards than rigid-flex printed circuit boards for better flexibility. But this is an exception. The rigid-flex printed circuit board is still valued.

    In the Internet of Things era, the diversification and individuation of products increased, so there is more diversity in the design. Electronic products companies want to produce scale effects and reduce the production cost of unit products. Therefore, they tend to use rigid-flex printed circuit boards. Now a lot of community entrances are equipped with face recognition instruments, if the future of this kind of smart home product is to be promoted, then the rigid-flex printed circuit board market will increase a lot.

    Southeast Asian mobile phone brands are highly fond of rigid-flex printed circuit boards. For example, Samsung Electronics has always invested a lot in rigid-flex printed circuit boards. To meet the needs of the market, compared with other countries, the proportion of rigid-flex printed circuit boards is also relatively high.

    In these years, as the specification of Chinese mobile phone lenses has gradually increased, it has begun to have its display technology using rigid-flex printed circuit boards. Domestic circuit board companies have seen business opportunities and entered the market of rigid-flex printed circuit boards. It will be more and more difficult for Korean printed circuit board companies to get more orders.

    As the earliest companies to enter the printed circuit board market in Taiwan, Xinxing and Huatong have extremely large production scales and occupy a dominant position in mobile phone battery modules. In terms of mobile phone lenses, there is also a big competitive advantage. With relatively high technology, Taiwan’s printed circuit board industry has a stable market share, and also it is also very good at rigid-flex PCBs production.

    Huatong is a circuit board supplier in Taiwan, and its performance is very excellent. Yaohua and Dingying are deep cultivation companies in the market of rigid-flex printed circuit boards for automobiles. Although the scale is small at present, it is small and precise and has won good orders every year.

    In 2021 it encountered some setbacks but remains one of Apple’s key suppliers. Dingying mainly makes circuit boards for the intelligent wearable.

    And on this side of the Chinese mainland, there are many circuit boards according to the company to begin the layout of rigid-flex printed circuit boards, mainly in the traditional mobile phone battery module, display module, and mobile phone lens module. Here the performance is more outstanding in Shandong precision and JingWang. Both companies have been expanding their capacity. Industry experts believe that the smartphone battery module market is likely to become saturated, and competition in the future is likely to focus on lenses.

    Big factories of a few circuit boards are also optimistic about the rigid flex PCB, beginning to join the rigid-flex printed circuit board formally in 2020. After considerable consideration of the prospects for the rigid-flex printed circuit board market, the addition of large factories will further improve the rigid-flex printed circuit board market competition.

    Viasion Providing High-Quality but Low-Cost Rigid-Flex PCB

    Viasion Technology Co. Ltd is a rigid-flex PCB manufacturer located in Shenzhen, the technology hub of China, where we have a high-quality electronics supply chain at our disposal. In addition, our experienced production also enables us to obtain the absolute best material costs and services from our long-term supply partners. As a result, this means that our products are not only of the highest quality but also competitively priced.

    Focusing on rigid-flex PCBs quality is not just a slogan for us, but a goal for which we do our best. Our factory has UL and ISO9001:2015 certifications. There is no doubt that we are confident to provide our customers with high-quality rigid flexible PCBs. As a rigid flex PCB supplier with more than 16 years of experience, our production and quality team can always supply high quality and cost-effective rigid flex printed circuit boards which meet your requirements, and also our team sales team can communicate well with our customers to meet their needs from the early design stage to the final production.

    How to Get Rigid Flex PCB Fabrication Price?

    Calculating the cost of rigid-flex PCB fabrication is rather complicated. Generally, its cost consists of the following aspects.

    Viasion is a trusted flex rigid PCB manufacturer with 15+ years of experience. Please feel free to contact our sales representatives and get a quote from them if you want to get the price of your rigid-flex PCB. Viasion’s sales team is looking forward to serving you.

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    Viasion Technology is your trusted partner & one-stop shop for PCB fabrication, components sourcing, PCB assembly and electronic manufacturing. With more than 16 years of experience, we have been supplying high-quality PCBs with competitive pricing for 1000+ customers worldwide. Our company is ISO9001:2015 Certified & UL Listed, and all our products are 100% E-tested and inspected by AOI & X-RAY to meet the highest industry standards. So please get an instant quote from our sales team now, and we will take care of the rest.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Yes, we do supply fast turn rigid flex PCB manufacturing service. Our normal lead time for rigid flex circuits is 2-4 weeks. But we can also finish in less than one for quick turn rigid flex PCB production.

    Rigid flex circuits are widely used in many industry area, such as telecommunication, consumer electronics, wearable devices, IoT, robotics, industry automation and control, automotive, medical, aerospace, military etc. 

    Rigid flex circuits combines the advantages of both rigid PCBs and flex PCBs. Then we can assembly a lots of small electronic components on rigid part to achieve electronic functions. And at the same time, the circuit board is bendable to meet the mechanical demands of the product.

    Yes. Besides rigid-flex circuits and rigid board fabrication, we supply PCB rigid flex assembly. Our engineering and production team have rich experience in rigid-flex circuit assembly.

    Rigid flex circuit boards are developed on rigid board technologies. It is a combination of flexible circuit boards and rigid boards. So the differences are:
    1)flexible material will be used in rigid flex boards but not in rigid boards;
    2) rigid FR4 boards are not bendable;
    3) They have different usage;
    4) The cost of rigid-flex PCBs is much more expensive.