Standard Lead Times & Production Volumes

Here you will find our flex and rigid-flex circuit board delivery lead time expectations. As everyone knows, there are distinct differences between quick turn prototypes used for development purposes and full-scale production parts. Please note that all lead times are subject to change due to complexity of the flexible or rigid PCB part and materials available.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have and to best understand what your true delivery needs are so that we can provide the most cost-effective solution for your application.


Quick Turn Flex & Rigid-Flex Printed Circuit Boards

Technology 6 Day 8 Day 10 Day 12 Day 15 Day 20 Day
Flex 1-2 Layers X X X X X X
Flex 2-4 Layers   X X X X X
Flex > 5 Layers       X X X
Rigid-Flex 2-4 Layers     X X X X
Rigid-Flex 5-8 Layers       X X X
Rigid-Flex > 9 Layers         X X

* Prototype and Production Quantities Available.


Lead Times May Be Affected by Additional Design Requirements

This section is for our PCB design community to consider during all the different phases of a project. Here at Epec, we tend to work on the higher-end designs with the more complex features and materials when it comes to flex and rigid-flex printed circuit boards. The objective here is to explain why some of these complex features takes longer to produce so that we can discuss ways to improve lead time when needed.


Multiple Lamination Cycles

Most rigid-flex parts go through the lamination press at least twice. Every time the product goes back through the front end of the process again - image-etch-drill-plate-laminate, it will add significant time to the production.


Blind and/or Buried Vias

Buried vias will always add time due to adding more process steps per the multiple lamination cycles above. Blind vias can be less of a time constraint if they are connecting the outer layers to selective inner layers. Outer layer blind vias just add the steps of laser drill and plasma desmear before plating.


Via Fill (Via in pad designs)

The use of via-in-pad technology has increased along with the increase of use in high-density BGAs (ball grid arrays) and the miniaturization of SMD chips. This Via Filling / Capping process must be done correctly to ensure that chemicals and/or air is not trapped inside the via. The biggest advantage with this process is that it will produce a flat, coplanar surface and lower inductance due to no dog-bone pads with traces.

Note: For any 8mil or less finished hole sizes, it is not recommended to use via fill technology. We advise customers to work with the fabricator to plate the holes shut.


Stiffeners

Depending upon the number of stiffeners, it could add significant time to the production. Outside of just adding the time that it takes to manufacture the stiffener itself, in many instances they also must go back through lamination with pressure and temperature using a no flow prepreg. This creates the need for tooling not only for lamination but in many instances to ensure the registration is correct when the stiffener is meant to support a through hole connector.


Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA)

They can be used to apply stiffeners to the flex or rigid-flex PCB (fastest way to produce stiffeners) or as a method to adhere the flex or rigid-flex to a product in an application. Typically, if the PSA on a board is symmetrical and in the same shape outline as the final part, they should not add much time to production. When the specification calls out a selective PSA with features that are not covered or different types of PSAs on the same PCB or a PSA in an intricate pattern, which requires laser cutting and tooling, this creates delays in the process.


Special Material Requirements (e.g.: Rogers, etc.)

Many material suppliers do not have a significant stock of non-standard laminate products. The two big factors to keep in mind are the overall thickness and the copper weight. Most flex and rigid-flex PCB fabricators use the same stack-ups with the most commonly used materials so you need to check with your fabricator to see what they have on hand or what is readily available so that you can plan your design accordingly.

Along with that, one of the tricks that many in the RF community use is to use unbalanced constructions such as 1/H or ½ copper weight. While this is not difficult to use as a PCB fabricator, it will take some time to get that material as it will have to be manufactured.


Asymmetrical Layering

Using asymmetrical layering, or a large number of excessively small hole sizes in the flex regions also adds time as the process speeds need to slow way down when manufacturing these types of parts.


Design Considerations

Some design considerations to look at before order submission so that there is no delay in engineering:

  • Do not place vias in bend areas
  • Do not put pads too close to the bend area
  • Avoid overlapping bend areas with stiffeners
  • Avoid placing stiffeners too close to vias or pins

Production Volume Flex and Rigid-Flex Circuit Board Orders

  • China production facilities can produce parts in as little as 7 days.
  • Factory in Dallas, Texas can produce production volumes in 10 days depending upon the complexity and quality.
  • Split deliveries, Kan-Ban and other stocking programs available for production volumes.
  • ITAR, ISO, and AS9100 certified.

All design reviews, technical support, quality control checks, AND follow-up performed by U.S.-based personnel at our North American facilities.

Celebrating 65 Years of Manufacturing Excellence  Learn More →
America's Oldest. A History of Innovation.

Today at Epec, the customer comes first, and everything we do must be put through that filter. Whether it is developing e-commerce platforms to make it easier to work with us, or creating a NPI (new product introduction) process that helps our customers get to market faster, or the other 10 new projects we have in process, we must focus on building the new. By doing that every day, and by always making the customer our top priority, we plan on being here for another 65 years and then some.

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Celebrating 65 Years - Epec Engineered Technologies