Electromagnetic compatibility performance of large area flexible printed circuit automotive harness

Electrical interconnection is increasingly important to the functionality of modern vehicles. At the same time the drive within the industry to reduce costs and improve fuel efficiency requires the reduction of the weight of vehicles wherever possible. It is in this context that the possibility of using large-area flexible printed circuits (FPCs) in place of wiring harnesses is receiving strong interest from manufacturers. An FPC harness offers a substantial weight reduction over wire, improved reliability and quality control, and enhanced functionality. Since good electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) design and performance is necessary for the safe and proper functioning of a vehicle, it is important to know if the EMC performance of a vehicle is likely to be compromised by the incorporation of an FPC harness. This question is addressed in this work by comparing the performance of wire and FPC structures in a standard EMC test. The cost implications of anti-interference measures for mass production of FPC harnesses are also assessed. It is found that relatively cheap and simple to implement track structures can significantly reduce the amount of coupling to a large-area FPC automotive harness from an external electromagnetic field.