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JULY 2018 I FLEX007 MAGAZINE 61 recommended bend radiuses are required. To share a few key pieces of advice, consider removing material in the bend area; this could be cut-outs in the circuit or removing cover- lay and adhesive to provide a thinner package. Eliminate the ED copper in a design by request- ing button plating for your design and adding copper only to the plated through-holes, not the rest of the panel. Add stiffeners to move stress points to other areas in the package that may be better able to withstand the stress. This process was certainly interesting. Every- one seems to have a favorite story of lessons learned when starting to work with flexible circuits. Most are told with a slightly humor- ous spin after the fact, but I am certain it felt anything but funny at the time. Flexible cir- cuits are a growing portion of the PCB market and more and more applications are expected to require flexible circuits. For those new to flex, or anyone consider- ing using a flexible circuit in their next design, there was one piece of advice that was repeated by nearly everyone I spoke to: Work with your fabricator early in the design. I couldn't agree more with that advice. Not only will this help avoid material availability issues, your fabrica- tors work with flexible circuit designs day after day and are happy to share their experience to help ensure the product works as you intend it. Take advantage of the expertise! FLEX007 Tara Dunn is the president of Omni PCB, a manufacturer's rep firm spe- cializing in the printed circuit board industry. To read past columns or to contact Dunn, click here. A robotic arm moving a solar array up and down along a space structure sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie, but it's just another day in the office for NASA engineers. This week marked the last in a series of ground tests demonstrating the capabilities of the Tendon Actuated Lightweight In-Space MANipulator (TALISMAN) robotic arm; the Strut Assembly, Manufacturing, Utility & Robotic Aid (SAMURAI); and the NASA INtelligent Jigging and Assembly Robot (NINJAR) components of the Com- mercial Infrastructure for Robotic Assembly and Services (CIRAS) project. Earlier this year, the team of engineers manipulated the newer, longer arm back and forth from folded to extended positions to demonstrate that it is fully operational, then they showed it could pull a truss out from being stowed in a compartment. In this demonstration, the TALISMAN arm was used to move a solar array from one truss section to another and to install the array. SAMURAI, the robotic hand that passes truss parts, and NINJAR, the jigging robot that holds the pieces in place while they are fastened, have similarly been put to the test this year. The team first used a remote control to oper- ate the two robots and assemble truss segments. This most recent test accomplished an autono- mous truss build, using only code and no remote control. CIRAS is a part of the In-Space Robotic Manufacturing and Assembly (IRMA) project portfolio, managed by NASA's Technology Demonstration Missions Program and sponsored by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. Source: Nasa.gov. NASA, Partners, Advance In-Space Assembly Robotics

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