Insider Tips for Finding a Reliable Rigid-Flex PCB Manufacturer

Searching for the ideal rigid-flex printed circuit boards can become pivotal to your business as they can elevate electronics to the next level. In turn, your company will have heightened customer satisfaction, increased sales, and more revenue. In this article, we’ll familiarize ourselves with the rigid-flex PCB and its uses, and learn how to find the perfect manufacturer.

What is a rigid-flex PCB?

Let’s get to know what a rigid flex PCB is first before we proceed further. A rigid-flex PCB is a type of circuit board that combines the aspects present in a flexible and rigid circuit board. The end result is a board that can be folded or flexed according to the user’s liking making it a very flexible component inside electronics. These boards tend to be flexed or curved during the manufacturing process giving them that distinct flexible profile.

Rigid flex Printed Circuit Board

Where do rigid-flex PCBs see use?

Before we explore the methods to find the right manufacturer, let’s get to know where rigid flex PCBs are utilized. These boards are used in a variety of fields and niches, ranging from medical to aerospace applications such as health monitors and GPS. They are also present in electronics and appliances that we use every day, such as smartphones, televisions, and electric ovens.

As a result, rigid flex printed circuit boards are one of the most utilized circuit board types due to their widespread application.

How do I find a reliable manufacturer of rigid-flex PCBs?

Searching for the ideal manufacturer of rigid-flex PCBs requires not only time but a keen eye for their capabilities. Here are some ways to easily narrow down your list of rigid flex PCB manufacturers and find the right one for your company.

1. Adherence to Certification and Standards

The first way to find the ideal rigid-flex PCB manufacturer is to search to see whether they are certified or not. Suppliers and manufacturers that have these certifications are proven to follow imposed industry standards, such as the ones listed below:

  • ISO 9001 Standards
  • IPC IPC-A-600,IPC-6013
  • IPC IPC-A-610, J-STD-001
  • ISO 13485 Standards

Keep in mind that there are more certifications that a manufacturer may be qualified for, so it can vary from niche to niche. However, a rule of thumb is that PCB manufacturers that are certified are proven to provide circuit boards that are safe to use. Also, they are more likely to have insight on the industry that you are working with.

2. Manufacturer’s Working Experience

Is the manufacturer new, or is it already a long-running supplier? Experience weighs a lot when it comes to finding the right and reliable rigid flex PCB manufacturer. Experienced manufacturers tend to fare better as they are most likely to deliver quality rigid-flex PCBs for your use due to their history of working with different niches.

To determine which rigid flex PCB supplier or manufacturer is more experienced, check their project history. See who they have worked with throughout the time that they’ve been around. Also, don’t hesitate to ask them which projects they’ve done before that were challenging and how they overcame them. Through this, you can get an overall idea of their working quality and experience.

3. Manufacturing Capabilities

Another point to consider when searching for a rigid-flex PCB supplier or manufacturer is to check their manufacturing capabilities. Do not be easily convinced by the introduction or overview of what they offer. You would need to inquire about a detailed description of the printed circuit boards that they can offer you.

Do not shy away from asking about the copper thickness, size, and other important measurements of their rigid flex PCBs. Through this inquiry, you can determine whether they are good at building PCBs for your company. As a last question for them, check whether they can entertain volume production since you are likely to order PCBs in bulk.

Rigid-flex PCBs

4. Designing Flexibility

In connection with manufacturing capabilities, you would want to check whether the manufacturer has design flexibility. You would want to opt for a rigid-flex PCB manufacturer that can make variations, adjustments, and tweaks to their boards. That way, the boards that they’ll provide you can be suited to various devices that are used in your niche.

One example is in the medical field. For instance, if you operate a company that produces medical electronic products, you would want a rigid-flex PCB supplier that can create variations to their boards so they can be suited to all of the different devices in your facility.

5. Pricing

The pricing of the rigid flex boards could make or break your bank. Check whether your company’s budget is enough to handle bulk orders from your potential manufacturer. Don’t break your budget by investing in expensive PCBs, because price doesn’t define quality. In turn, do not be stingy by purchasing cheap printed circuit boards. Both extreme ends of the pricing scale could have boards that are poorly made and aren’t worth your investment.

Instead, it’s best to inquire with the flex rigid PCB manufacturers you are interested in and check what they have in store for you. Determine whether the rigid-flex PCBs they can sell you in bulk are reasonably priced. If their offer meets your standards, make negotiations and seal the deal with them.

6. Quality customer service and communication

Communication is key to finding the ideal rigid-flex PCB manufacturer since it will lead to troubleshooting and feedback. You can forward your concerns and issues with the boards to the manufacturer; if, for example, they delivered you with defective boards, you can forward your concern to have them replaced as soon as possible.

On the side of feedback, you can provide some suggestions and ideas to your manufacturer on the rigid flex PCBs that you will use in the future. They could take your advice to heart and apply your ideas and suggestions to the next batch of flex rigid PCBs they’ll deliver to you.

Keenly Assess your Manufacturer for Ideal Rigid-Flex Boards

The process of finding a reliable rigid flex PCB manufacturer can be daunting and could take a lot of time. However, by taking note of the key points we’ve discussed earlier; you can narrow down your list of suppliers and manufacturers to the best options. From there, you’d want to compare the remaining options in the list.

Compare what they have in store for your company until you seal the deal with the reliable rigid flex board manufacturer that you consider as the ideal choice.


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