Rigid PCB Manufacturing

In the world of printed circuit boards (PCBs), various types are used across industries to meet the ever-evolving demands of modern technology. Among these, Rigid PCBs are the most widely used due to their durability and reliability. This article will explore the different types of rigid PCBs, their materials, and the advantages of choosing ELE PCB Ltd. as your manufacturing partner for high-quality rigid PCB solutions. We will also discuss the differences between rigid PCBs and their flexible counterparts and how ELE PCB Ltd. can help with the production of these versatile PCBs.

Table of Contents

1. Defining Rigid PCB

A rigid PCB is a printed circuit board that is made from a solid substrate material, such as fiberglass or ceramic. The substrate provides a rigid base for mounting electronic components. Rigid PCBs are an essential component in the electronics industry. They are used in a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics to aerospace and defense industries. The demand for rigid PCBs is increasing as the electronics industry grows.
Typical Rigid PCB
Typical Rigid PCB

2. Rigid PCB Material: Key Components

The choice of rigid PCB material plays a crucial role in determining the performance and reliability of the final product. The performance, reliability, and longevity of a rigid PCB board depend on the materials used in its construction. This section will delve deeper into the key components that make up the most common rigid PCB materials.

2.1 FR-4: The Industry Standard

FR-4 is a composite material made of woven glass fiber cloth and epoxy resin, providing it with electrical insulation properties and mechanical strength.
Some of the advantages of FR-4 include its low cost, availability, and good performance in a wide range of applications, making it the industry standard for rigid PCBs.
Despite its popularity, FR-4 may not be suitable for high-frequency or high-temperature applications due to its dielectric properties and thermal performance.

2.2 Polyimide: High-Performance Material

Polyimide is a high-performance polymer that exhibits excellent thermal stability, chemical resistance, and mechanical properties.
Polyimide is particularly suitable for applications with high operating temperatures, such as aerospace or automotive electronics, due to its ability to withstand extreme conditions without losing its structural integrity.
The primary drawback of polyimide is its higher cost compared to FR-4, making it a less attractive option for budget-conscious projects.

2.3 Rogers: Advanced Material for High-Frequency Applications

Rogers is a family of advanced engineered materials specifically designed for high-frequency applications. It consists of various laminate materials made from PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) or ceramic-filled substrates.
Rogers materials offer low dielectric loss, excellent dimensional stability, and superior electrical performance, making them ideal for applications such as antennas, microwave circuits, and high-speed digital designs.
While Rogers materials provide exceptional performance, they come with a higher price tag than both FR-4 and polyimide, making them suitable for specialized applications where performance outweighs cost considerations.

3. Semi Rigid PCB and Flex Rigid PCB Design

Semi rigid PCBs and flex rigid PCBs are hybrid designs that combine the advantages of both rigid and flexible PCBs. These boards are designed with rigid sections for components that require stability and flexible sections for areas that need to bend or fold. In this section, we will explore both types of hybrid PCBs in greater detail.

3.1 Semi Rigid PCB

Semi rigid PCBs are made with a combination of rigid and flexible materials, allowing for a limited degree of flexibility. These boards are often used in applications where space constraints and slight bending are required.
Semi rigid PCBs typically consist of a rigid material, such as FR-4, combined with a flexible material, like polyimide. The rigid and flexible sections are connected using adhesive or other bonding methods, forming a single PCB with areas of varying flexibility.
Semi rigid PCBs are commonly found in devices with tight space constraints or where a small degree of bending or folding is necessary. Examples of such applications include compact electronics, sensor assemblies, and antenna systems.
The primary advantage of semi rigid PCBs is their ability to conform to limited space requirements while still providing the stability and durability of a rigid PCB. They also offer reduced weight and complexity compared to traditional rigid PCBs, which can result in cost savings and improved performance.
While semi rigid PCBs offer increased flexibility over traditional rigid PCBs, they are still limited in their bending capabilities. They are not suitable for applications that require constant or extreme flexing, as they may not withstand such stress over time.

3.2 Flex Rigid PCB Design

Also known as rigid-flex PCBs, these boards have both rigid and flexible sections seamlessly integrated into a single unit. Flex rigid PCBs offer improved reliability and can be used in applications where components need to be folded or bent, such as in wearable devices or compact electronics.
Flex rigid PCBs are composed of multiple layers of rigid and flexible materials, such as FR-4 and polyimide. The layers are connected using adhesive or other bonding methods, creating a seamless transition between the rigid and flexible sections.
Flex rigid PCBs are well-suited for applications that require flexibility and durability. They are commonly found in wearable devices, medical equipment, military and aerospace electronics, and other compact or portable devices where space is at a premium.
The main advantage of flex rigid PCBs is their ability to accommodate complex designs and fit into small spaces while maintaining the structural integrity and electrical performance of a traditional rigid PCB. They also offer increased reliability, as the seamless integration of rigid and flexible sections can reduce the risk of connection failures due to mechanical stress.
Flex rigid PCBs can be more expensive to produce than traditional rigid PCBs, due to the complexity of the design and the additional materials and processes involved. Additionally, the flexible sections may require special consideration during the design process to ensure that they do not compromise the performance of the board.

4. Flex-Rigid PCB Design

Flex-rigid PCBs, also known as rigid-flex PCBs, are hybrid designs that combine the benefits of both rigid and flexible PCBs. These boards feature rigid sections for mounting components and flexible areas for interconnecting or accommodating movement. The integration of these two types of PCBs into a single design offers several advantages, such as improved reliability, reduced assembly costs, and space savings. In this section, we will explore the design aspects and applications of flex-rigid PCBs.

4.1 Applications of Flex-Rigid PCBs

Flex-rigid PCBs are ideal for applications where space constraints, mechanical requirements, or the need for a high level of reliability are critical factors. Some common applications of flex-rigid PCBs include:
Aerospace and Defense: Flex-rigid PCBs are used in avionics systems, satellites, and military equipment due to their compact design, high reliability, and resistance to harsh environments.
Medical Devices: Implantable devices, diagnostic equipment, and wearable medical technology often utilize flex-rigid PCBs for their space-saving benefits and ability to accommodate movement.
Automotive Electronics: In-vehicle systems, such as infotainment systems, electronic control units, and safety features, use flex-rigid PCBs for their robustness and ability to fit into tight spaces.
Consumer Electronics: Smartphones, tablets, and wearables use flex-rigid PCBs to meet the demands of compact design and the need for flexibility in certain areas.

5. Rigid PCB vs Flexible PCB: Key Differences

The choice between rigid and flexible PCBs depends on the specific requirements of a project. In this section, we will discuss some of the key differences between rigid PCBs and flexible PCBs, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

5.1 Material

Rigid PCBs use materials like FR-4 or polyimide, which provide excellent electrical insulation and mechanical strength. On the other hand, flexible PCBs use materials such as polyimide or polyester films, which offer the flexibility required for bending and folding applications.
Rigid PCB Materials
As mentioned earlier, rigid PCBs typically use materials like FR-4, polyimide, or Rogers. These materials provide the necessary mechanical strength and electrical insulation properties for a wide range of applications.
Flexible PCB Materials 
Flexible PCBs use materials like polyimide or polyester films that can bend and fold without breaking. These materials also have good electrical insulation properties and can withstand moderate temperatures.

5.2 Flexibility

The primary difference between rigid and flexible PCBs lies in their ability to bend and fold. Rigid PCBs are non-flexible, while flexible PCBs can bend and fold to fit into small spaces or accommodate movement.
Rigid PCB Flexibility
Rigid PCBs are designed to be stable and durable, providing a solid platform for electronic components. They are not meant to bend or flex and can be damaged if subjected to excessive mechanical stress.
Flexible PCB Flexibility
Flexible PCBs are specifically designed to bend and fold, allowing them to conform to the shape of the device or accommodate movement. This makes them ideal for applications where space is limited or where components need to move or flex during operation.

5.3 Durability

When it comes to durability, rigid PCBs generally offer greater mechanical strength and can withstand higher temperatures than flexible PCBs.
Rigid PCB Durability
Rigid PCBs are built using materials like FR-4, which provide excellent mechanical strength and can handle high temperatures. This makes them ideal for applications where stability and durability are crucial, such as automotive or aerospace electronics.
Flexible PCB Durability 
While flexible PCBs are designed to bend and fold without breaking, they may not offer the same level of mechanical strength and temperature resistance as rigid PCBs. However, they can still be quite durable when designed and manufactured correctly, making them suitable for various applications, such as wearable devices or portable electronics. It’s worth noting that semi-rigid and flex-rigid PCBs combine the advantages of both rigid and flexible PCBs, offering a balance between flexibility and durability for specific applications.

6. Multilayer rigid PCBs

Multilayer rigid PCBs are an advanced type of printed circuit board that consists of multiple layers of conductive material and insulating material stacked and bonded together. These PCBs allow for higher component density and increased design complexity, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. In this section, we will delve into the design considerations, manufacturing processes, and applications of multilayer rigid PCBs.

6.1 Manufacturing Processes for Multilayer Rigid PCBs

Multilayer rigid PCBs require specialized manufacturing processes to achieve the desired level of performance and reliability.
These processes include:
Lamination: The process of bonding the conductive and insulating layers together using heat and pressure, typically with the help of an adhesive.
Drilling: Creating holes in the PCB for vias and mounting components using mechanical, laser, or plasma drilling techniques.
Electroplating: Depositing conductive material, such as copper, onto the PCB to create electrical connections between layers and components.
Imaging and Etching: Transferring the circuit pattern onto the PCB and selectively removing unwanted conductive material to create the desired traces and features.
Solder Mask and Silkscreen Application: Applying protective and insulating layers to the PCB to protect the circuitry and provide component identification information.

2. Applications of Multilayer Rigid PCBs

Multilayer rigid PCBs are utilized in a wide range of applications across various industries due to their ability to support complex circuit designs, high-density interconnects, and enhanced performance. Some of the most common applications of multilayer rigid PCBs include:
Telecommunications: Multilayer PCBs are extensively used in communication systems, such as routers, switches, and servers, where high-speed data transmission and signal integrity are crucial.
Aerospace and Defense: These PCBs are used in radar systems, guidance systems, and other critical electronics due to their ability to handle high-speed signals and provide EMI shielding.
Medical Devices: Advanced medical equipment, such as MRI machines and CT scanners, use multilayer PCBs for their high-density interconnects and reliable performance in demanding environments.
Automotive Electronics: Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), engine control units, and electric vehicle power management systems rely on multilayer PCBs for their high-speed signal transmission and compact designs.
Industrial Automation: Multilayer rigid PCBs are found in robotics, control systems, and other sophisticated equipment used in industrial automation, where high reliability and signal integrity are essential.
Consumer Electronics: High-performance devices like smartphones, gaming consoles, and virtual reality systems use multilayer PCBs to accommodate complex circuitry within their compact designs.

7. ELE PCB Ltd. – Your Rigid PCB Manufacturing Partner

ELE PCB Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of high-quality and reliable PCBs and PCBA services, specializing in rigid PCBs. With over a decade of experience in the industry, ELE PCB Ltd. offers a comprehensive range of PCB options that cater to various industries. In this section, we will discuss the unique advantages of partnering with ELE PCB Ltd. for your rigid PCB manufacturing needs.
Extensive Range of PCB Options
ELE PCB Ltd. provides a wide selection of PCB options, including Aluminum PCBs, Multilayer PCBs, Rogers PCB, HDI PCB, MCPCB, Flex PCB, and Rigid Flex PCBs. This versatility enables clients to choose the most suitable type of PCB for their specific applications, ensuring optimal performance and reliability.
Advanced Manufacturing Capabilities
With state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and a team of highly skilled professionals, ELE PCB Ltd. ensures that your rigid PCBs are manufactured to the highest quality standards. Their advanced capabilities include precision drilling, laser routing, multilayer lamination, and high-density interconnect (HDI) fabrication, ensuring that your PCB designs are brought to life with accuracy and efficiency.
Rigorous Quality Control
ELE PCB Ltd. is committed to delivering reliable and consistent PCB products. They implement stringent quality control measures throughout the entire manufacturing process, from material selection to final inspection. This rigorous approach to quality assurance ensures that your rigid PCBs meet or exceed industry standards.
Begin by requesting a quote for your rigid PCB project. Provide ELE PCB Ltd.with your design files and specifications, and their team will evaluate your requirements and provide a detailed and competitive quote for your project. So, contact us now.

ELE Rigid PCB Fabrication Capacity

Layer1~30 Layers
MaterialFR4, CEM1, CEM3, High TG, Rogers, F4B, Taconic, FR1, FR2, 94V0, Aluminum
Production Capacity30000 ㎡/months
Board shapeRectangular, Round, Slots, Cutouts, Complex Irregular
Board typeRigid, Flexible, Rigid-Flexible
Board cuttingShear, V-Score, Tab-Routed, Counter Sunk
Board thickness0.2~8.0mm, Flex 0.1-0.25mm
Copper weight0.5oZ~12oZ
Solder MaskDouble-sided Green LPI, Red, White, Yellow, Blue, Black, Purple etc.
Silk screenDouble-Sided or Single-Sided in White, Yellow, Black etc
Min line width/space0.08mm / 3mil
Max board dimensions25.6inch * 43.3inch or 650mm * 1100mm
Min drill hole diameter0.1mm
Min Laser Drill hole diameter0.075mm
Surface finishHASL, ENIG, Immersion Tin, Immersion Silver, OSP, etc
Board thickness tolerance± 10%
Min slot width0.12″, 3.0mm, or 120mils
V-score depth20-25% of board thickness
PTH Wall Thickness>0.025mm
PTH Hole Dia Tolerance±0.076mm
Non PTH Hole Dia Tolerance±0.05mm
Hole Position Deviation±0.076mm
Sink holesYes
Quality StandardIPC-A600F / MIL-STD-105D
Design file formatGerber RS-274X, 274D, Eagle and AutoCAD’s, DXF,  DWG


ELE PCB has got the IS09001:2015, IS013485:2016, ROHS and FCC certifications. We can offer all kinds of services, including PCB manufacturing and PCB assembly, sample orders and batch orders. For PCB assembly, utilizing 7 high-speed SMT PCBA lines from Yamaha and Sony, to meet our customers’ needs. Our extended services include PCB design &PCB Layout, hardware design engineering, firmware &software development, and personalization. ELE company is honored as an excellent supplier from any company all around the world. We deeply believe that our good service and experience will completely meet your needs. Integrality, value and innovation are the forces that drive our success.



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