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16 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Do you cringe when you think of the option of rigid-flex? It is not an uncommon reaction when talking with designers and engineer- ing managers about using rigid-flex to solve a packaging problem. Why? The most frequent answer is, "They are so expensive." While it is true that a rigid-flex PCB is typically more expensive on the surface when compared to rigid-board solutions with cables and connec- tors, a lot is being missed with that mindset. Benefits First, let's discuss the many technical ben- efits associated with rigid-flex solutions. Rigid- flex PCBs can: 1. Serve as a remedy to natural product packaging problems Flexible circuits are often chosen because they help solve problems related to adding electronics inside the product they serve. They are a true three-dimensional solution that allows electronic components and functional and operation elements (i.e., switches, dis- plays, connectors, etc.) to be placed in optimal locations within the product, assuring ease of use by the consumer. They can be folded and formed around edges to fit the space allowed without breaking the assembly into discrete pieces. 2. Reduce both weight and volume requirements Flexible circuits are appreciably lighter than their rigid circuit counterparts. Depending on the components used and the exact structure of the assembly and final products, they can save as much as 60% of the weight and space for the end-product compared to a rigid-circuit solution. Additionally, their lower profile can help a designer create a lower profile product Flex Talk by Tara Dunn, OMNI PCB with Anaya Vardya, AMERICAN STANDARD CIRCUITS The Myth About Rigid-Flex Costs

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