FLEX007

Flex-July2018

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JULY 2018 I FLEX007 MAGAZINE 9 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Flex007 Magazine and Design007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 18 years. He can be reached by clicking here. with guidelines to ensure your first flex job is a successful one. Designers sometimes think fabricators sound like a broken record by constantly asking for designers to communicate with them early in the cycle, or even to communicate at all. But if you're a rigid board designer doing an OEM's first flex or rigid-flex cir- cuit, you really don't have a choice. You have to communicate with the fab guys. For- tunately, your flex fabricator can tell you exactly what you need to do on the design end. They would love to have a new customer. First-time flex designers should also take advantage of IPC's flex stan- dards and guidelines. These documents walk you through the process. If you get to a sticking point in your design, the appropri- ate IPC standard may provide an accepted best practice for solving your problem. Better yet, get involved with IPC. Attend a committee meeting or join a committee. Attend events like IPC APEX EXPO and soak up every flex class that you can. You have an entire net- work of flex experts at your fingertips—tech- nologists who have been working with flex for 40 years. Take advantage of their expertise, and then go home and teach your co-workers what you've learned. As you'll see in this issue, designing flexible circuits isn't that much different than design- ing rigid PCBs, but there are a few notable differences. You're working in 3D, and it's a moveable type of 3D. You have to worry about things like bend radius. But most experienced rigid designers won't have much trouble tran- sitioning to flex. Today, most EDA tool compa- nies offer some flexible circuit design capabili- ties, so you're not going to spend much time fighting with your software. Now, let's do a swan dive into this issue. In our first feature interview, Todd MacFadden of Bose discusses his company's rapid expansion into the world of flex circuits—from about 90% rigid PCBs four years ago to around 66% flex and rigid-flex today—and how his team man- aged to get up to speed so quickly. (Hint: They communicated heavily with flex fabricators.) Next, Anaya Vardya and Dave Lackey provide an excerpt of their recent I-Connect007 eBook, The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to…Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals, focusing on some of the mechanical and electri- cal issues that are peculiar to flex and rigid-flex design. T h e n , J a r r o d S c h u l t e of Cadwell I n d u s t r i e s explains in an inter- view what attracted his department to flex: The high level of reliability required by their medical devices. And in an interview with Barry Matties, Prototron Circuits President Dave Ryder and General Manager Kim O'Neil discuss their Tucson facility's recent decision to offer flex and rigid-flex circuits, as well as some of the hurdles they've overcome and what OEMs look for in a flex supplier. We also have columns by our regular con- tributors Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics, John Talbot of Tramonto Circuits, Bob Burns of Printed Circuits, and Tara Dunn of Omni PCB. And this month, let's welcome a new col- umnist—Jahn Stopperan of All Flex, who has taken over the All About Flex column with the retirement of his colleague, Dave Becker. As devices continue to shrink, there's a good chance that designers like you are going to be driven to use flex and rigid-flex circuits. Flex007 Magazine will be here with the infor- mation you need. FLEX007

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