OKI Electric Cable, a tech company specializing in electric cables, launched Stretchable Flexible Printed Circuits, better known as Stretchable FPC. The product is part of the new Oki Electric Cable product lineup to be introduced in June 2019.
The astonishing technological advances and the growing sophistication of electronic devices in recent years have generated demand for new characteristics in the flexible printed circuits (FPCs) used as wiring materials.
Wiring materials for smart clothes and smart patches should have the ability to mount functional parts, in addition to light weight, thin profile, and the flexibility needed to ensure comfort when worn. These materials must also provide elasticity needed to accommodate the various movements of the human body. While existing FPCs offer light weight, thin profile, flexibility, and mountability, they lack elasticity, reports OKI.
OKI’s new Stretchable FPC offers elasticity by replacing the polyimide widely used in existing FPCs with an elastic substrate. This elastic substrate can be stretched repeatedly, like rubber, and is heat-resistant, allowing components to be solder-mounted. Its circuit conductor incorporates the same copper wiring as existing FPCs but the wiring method is specially designed to allow it to work with the stretchable substrate. The use of copper wiring minimizes variations in conductor resistance due to FPC expansion or contraction, allowing use of the FPC as a sensor. Potential applications for the Stretchable FPC include use as a wearable sensor to help diagnose disease in the chest; the Stretchable FPC is wrapped around the chest to measure signal fluctuations in the copper wiring.
The Stretchable FPC can be used as elastic wiring material in wearable devices and will contribute to the ever-growing sophistication of electronic devices. Oki Electric Cable will continue to proactively develop new products to meet constantly diversifying customer needs.