PCB007 Magazine

PCB-June2014

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40 The PCB Magazine • June 2014 The Market The global market for flexible circuits is cur- rently estimated to exceed $13 billion, with an estimated annual growth rate exceeding 10% as electronic devices continue to become smaller, lighter and more personal. Markets in- clude medical, avionics, industrial, cell phones, military, and consumer among others. It is a technology an electronics designer should un- derstand…and know when to consider adop- tion of the technology. Borrowing the words of Humphrey Bogart from the movie Casablanca, "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." Moving Parts? When most people think of flexible cir- cuits, they imagine component parts moving within an electronic application. Clamshell cell phones, notebook computers, printers and hard disc drives are often mentioned as examples of products requiring moving parts with flex cir- cuit interconnection. Questions such as "How many times can a flex circuit flex?" are best an- swered by "It depends." Moreover, it depends on a lot of things. This political reply should be followed by a comment about several well- known design guidelines to be adopted when designing circuits for use in a "dynamic" flex application. In most cases, the fabricator will incorporate design practices intended to maxi- mize flex life. Feature and construction recom- mendations include: by Dave Becker all Flex F e a t u r e Flexible Circuitry… a 3D Packaging Tool Images provided by ALL FLEX

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