Leading automakers reduce costs and increase energy efficiency with Q-Prime® flexible circuits
Today’s automakers are increasingly focused on providing energy-efficient, aesthetically appealing vehicles for consumers. Their widespread adoption of LED lighting saves energy and lends vehicles a luxury look. Flex engineers saw an opportunity to optimize LED solutions for its customers — the automotive industry — by making the flexible circuit technology lighter, simplifying the design and reducing costs.
The material science and interconnect product development teams at Flex’s subsidiary Multek pushed the boundaries of electrical, thermal and mechanical requirements for LEDs. The result was Q-Prime, a circuit with a proprietary thermally conductive adhesive and a thin composite structure. This LED lighting solution enables:
- Lower component operating temperatures via its design of copper on one side and aluminum on the other side, which disperses heat faster
- Significant weight reduction with aluminum that is 90% thinner than previous solutions
- Cost reduction by eliminating tools in the manufacturing process
- Flexibility for processing, yet sufficient rigidity to hold shape when bent
Multek’s benchmarking demonstrated that Q-Prime would result in 74% fewer components, 40% less weight and 30% lower costs compared to an OEM rear lighting component*. In 2015, the Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators recognized Q-Prime with a Technical Excellence Award.
Redesigning LED for improved ROI
In the auto industry, style matters. An innovative and visionary element is an attractive selling point only if it offers performance to match. Automakers are increasingly using energy-efficient LED lighting in designs, from taillights to instrument panels. Flex engineers saw an opportunity to develop a more cost-effective LED lighting solution with a simplified design that could dissipate heat more efficiently and better suit the desired vehicle design. They provided a Sketch-to-Scale™ solution for LED circuits, giving automakers more flexibility, a lighter product and a more versatile lighting solution.
Multek Flexible Circuits Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Flex, is an industry leader in manufacturing single- and double-sided flexible printed circuits using roll-to-roll technology. The factory processes 15 to 20 million square feet of product annually. Multek is the largest producer of flexible interconnects in the U.S.
Refining vehicle design with longer-lasting lights
Multek Q-Prime flexible circuits offer improved performance at a lower cost and enables lightweight, flexible LEDs that run at a lower temperature, improving longevity and increasing brightness.
Today, Q-Prime is the only thermal management circuit processed in roll-to-roll format that is thin and flexible enough to fold and hold a bend. No other product offers this combination of flexibility, thermal performance is light weight.
“I think between standard flex or rigid flex and print electronics, we have the entire suite that's required to have everything talk to each other and stay connected.”
— Joan Vrtis, CTO, Multek
Pushing the boundaries of design
As more and more products become “smart,” the underlying technologies need to bend to new shapes and offer powerful functionality in ever-smaller packages. Our cross-industry expertise gives Flex visibility into nearly every emerging technology as it applies innovative solutions from one industry to the next. As one of its core technologies, Flex specializes in developing flexible technologies and miniaturization.
Learn more about how Flex partners with leading automakers to enable more cost-effective, energy-efficient and innovative solutions
*Based on current original sample only; all components may vary by model and part.