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18 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have made it simpler for all of us to remember birthdays, events, and avoid the always painful "I'm so sorry I forgot our wed- ding day" issue, but they also affect our profes- sional careers. For all of us who have signed up for a LinkedIn account, you have probably found that you are celebrated every time your employment is changed. Some anniversaries are correct, while others are not. Just before Christmas, Editor Patty Goldman congratu- lated me for 26 years at Elmatica, which actu- ally is correct, and asked if I could share some thoughts from my long experience in this excit- ing industry. Some things have changed a lot in the past few decades, but others? Not so much. Serious Papercutting My flex story started a few years earlier working as a rep for UK-based Flex-Ability Ltd. (now Merlin). In those days, we used purely adhesive materials, and the chal- lenges we met and tried to solve were mechanical in most cases. My message to customers was, "Usually, we find a solution, so bring all your crazy ideas—even those you think are impossible—and we will sort it out together." DFM for flexible circuits became one of my favorite tasks. Every cus- tomer had special needs, and we almost always found a solution that worked for the company and our customers. A typical scenario could be a tight construction where the customer wanted a flex tail out from a ZIF connector with a sharp bend through narrow areas where no one thought a PCB could go. You might wonder how we tested this in the old days when computer-based 3D simula- tions were not a possibility. Simple! We took a piece of paper, scissors, and started to cut the paper into the shape of the flexible PCB we had in mind. Next, we glued this to samples of the rigid PCB and started to simulate the application. We examined not only how it fit into the application, but we also went through the manual assembly process and found areas where the paper was torn. Then, we improved the model and made assembly notes until we were good to make a real sample. It was rough, honest, handcrafted work. PCB Norsemen Feature Column by Jan Pedersen, ELMATICA My Flexible Story—Flex Circuit Development Through the Decades Figure 1: Elmatica has experienced increased demand for both flex and flex-rigid in the last few years.

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