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FPC vs FFC – what are the differences

As electronic products update and iterate faster and faster, they continue to develop in the direction of high density, miniaturization, and high reliability. In order to save assembly space and reduce costs, related accessories are also constantly being upgraded, such as FPC vs FFC, which are widely used in our electrical equipment.

Both FPC vs FFC are flat and can be bent at will, so do these two similar products belong to the same category? What are the differences and similarities between FPC vs FFC?

Table of Contents

What is FPC?

The full name of FPC is Flexible Printed Circuit, also known as flexible circuit board, flexible PCB.

FPC

Features of FPC:

1. FPC is small in size and light in weight. The original design of the cable board is to replace the larger wire harness wires.

2. FPC can be moved, bent, and twisted without damaging the wires, and can comply with different shapes and special package sizes.

3. FPC has excellent electrical properties, dielectric properties, and heat resistance.

4. FPC has higher assembly reliability and quality. The flat cable reduces the hardware required for internal connection, such as solder joints, trunk lines, backplane lines and cables commonly used on traditional electronic packages, so that the flat cable can provide higher assembly reliability and quality.

What is FFC?

FFC

The full name of FFC in English is Flexible Flat Cable, which is a kind of PET insulation material and extremely thin tinned flat copper wire. The new type of data cable, which is pressed by high-tech automatic equipment production line, has the advantages of softness, random bending and folding, thin thickness, small size, simple connection, convenient disassembly and easy solution for electromagnetic shielding (EMD).

The number and spacing of wires can be selected arbitrarily, which makes the connection more convenient, greatly reduces the volume of electronic products, reduces production costs, and improves production efficiency. It is most suitable for data transmission cables between moving parts and main boards, between PCB boards, and in miniaturized electrical equipment. Common specifications include 0.5mm, 0.8mm, 10mm, 1.25mm, 1.27mm, 1.5mm, 2.0mm, 2.54mm and other flexible cables with various pitches.

FPC vs FFC: manufacturing

In terms of their manufacturing, the way their lines are formed is different:
1. FPC is a flexible circuit board with different single-sided, double-sided and multi-layer structures obtained by processing FCCL (flexible copper clad foil) by chemical etching.
2. FFC is a flat copper foil sandwiched between upper and lower layers of insulating foil film. The finished product is simpler and thicker.

In terms of price, naturally FFC is much cheaper. Considering the production cost, more companies prefer to use FFC (Flexible Flat Cable).

FPC vs FFC : application

ffc vs fpc

FPC
FPC is mainly used in many products such as mobile phones, notebook computers, PDAs, digital cameras, and LCMs.

FFC
At present, FFC is widely used in the connection between the print head of various printers and the main board, the signal transmission and board connection of plotters, scanners, copier audio, LCD appliances, fax machines, and various DVD players. In modern electrical equipment, FFC is almost ubiquitous.

FPC vs FFC : connectors

fpc vs ffc connectors
FPC vs FFC : connectors

The following points should be paid attention to when selecting FPC connectors and FFC connectors:

1. Considering whether the connector can meet the voltage and current requirements on the printed circuit board of electronic products. First of all, an FPC connector whose contact layer is not easy to oxidize should be selected.

2. Choose high-temperature-resistant FPC connectors, because electronic products will generate operating temperatures during operation and use. If you choose a high temperature resistant FPC connector when producing electronic products, you can reduce the adverse effects of high temperature.

3. When using FPC connectors, do not frequently plug and unplug the FPC connectors that have been fixed on the PCB. Because if the connector terminals and other parts of the FPC connector are worn to a certain extent, when the wear reaches a certain wear value, the mechanical life of the FPC connector will be reduced, thereby affecting the service life of the FPC connector.

4. Do not insert the FPC connector at an angle when using it, as this may cause the pins of the FPC connector to not be fully connected to the electronic device. Do not plug or unplug at will, which may cause abnormal data or connection loss of the FPC connector.

5. The choice of FPC connector depends on whether it has been tested and verified, and whether the performance is up to standard. The use of the shrapnel microneedle module has a good connection function, can flow through and adapt to small spacing, so as to ensure the stability of the FPC connector test.

FPC vs FFC: Application Considerations

Selecting between FPCs and FFCs hinges on specific application needs. For devices requiring multidirectional flexibility, durability, and intricate routing, FPCs are an optimal choice. Conversely, in applications demanding directional flexibility and space efficiency within a single plane, FFCs shine.

In essence, both FPCs and FFCs offer unique advantages in terms of flexibility, space utilization, and electrical connections. The choice between them is dictated by the specific requirements of the electronic design, be it intricate multidirectional flexibility or space-saving directional routing. Understanding their nuances empowers designers to craft innovative and efficient electronic systems tailored to diverse needs.

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