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How to specify flat flexible cable assemblies

With GCT’s simple ‘Back to basics’ guides, you can be sure of specifying exactly the connectors and cable assemblies you want; products that are correct in every detail, while performing reliably and without signal loss or degradation. Installation during production also becomes as easy as possible

In GCT’s experience of supplying custom flat flex cable assemblies, ensuring that every aspect has been thought of contributes to reducing production costs - and it’s not just about the price and delay of encountering and rectifying mistakes. As the examples below show, GCT can customise cables to cut assembly time and cost as well as improve electrical performance.

In a Robot Vacuum Cleaner application, we supplied FFCs with complex folds to ensure an accurate fit into a confined space. The folds also allowed the cables to be dropped directly onto their location, simplifying the manufacturing process.

Another FFC design – for a compact Telecom Base Station - featured not only angular folds, but also shielding to eliminate interference with the signal and other wireless frequencies.

Electrical screening was also critical to a Medical Audiometer and Tympanometer manufacturer; they specified a shielded FFC assembly which prevents interference from impacting their instruments’ internal components, ensuring accurate readings.

Below is a step by step guide to completely defining your cable assembly. Note that this is a conceptual description only, advising you of the issues you need to think of to ensure a successful solution. Consult GCT’s technical specialists to obtain drawings and hard dimension information.

Ordering Grid
The obvious, and best, starting-point is the part number Ordering Grid – as shown on GCT’s Flat Flex Cable Ordering Information drawing - which covers the key variables that must be specified for every cable. These include the pitch, number of conductors, the cable type, (Connector Same Side or Connector Opposite Side), cable length in mm, conductor thickness x width, and plating (tin or gold).

Conductor Same Side or Conductor Opposite Side
Both options are available.

Special shielding options
If standard shielding is sufficient, then choose Aluminium Foil. Copper Foil is available for higher-performance applications. You also need to decide on the number of connectors to be grounded to the shield, and, if the cable is Conductor Opposite Side type, the position of conductor 1.

Electrical, mechanical and environmental
Is a higher temperature or voltage rating required? What about enhanced durability (insert/withdraw cycles)?

Dimensional
GCT can also discuss exposed conductor length, support tape length, custom conductor thickness and width, and folding/bending to an angle.

Printing
Do you want part number or other information printed on the cable?

Other
For high-volume orders, custom choices for conductor, insulation and supporting tape material are available.

How to specify flat flexible cable assemblies
GCT FFC cable assemblies can be found in a variety of devices, from Robot Vacs, base stations and tympanometers


ffc drawing

A wealth of information on flat flexible cable assemblies is avaialble on GCT's ordering grid

We hope you have found this Guide helpful in profiling your Flat Flexible Cable assembly design. If you would now like to discuss your requirement, schedule and costing in more detail, please get in touch with your local GCT Technical Sales line.