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JULY 2019 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 63 What the Flex? by Andy Shaughnessy, I-CONNECT007 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Design007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 19 years. He can be reached by clicking here. Welcome to the new Flex007 section in De- sign007 Magazine. Have a look around. I think you'll enjoy this new format. As most of you know, our quarterly Flex007 Magazine has proven to be pretty popular. With columns by flex veterans—such as Joe Fjelstad, Tara Dunn, and Bob Burns—as well as feature ar - ticles by some of the top flex experts in the indus- try, Flex007 Magazine has become a must-read. It's no wonder: the flex segment continues to expand. More and more OEMs are finding them- selves using flex now, often because rigid boards will not fit in the form factors of new, cutting- edge products. Some OEMs now choose to use flex for better reliability. Rigid board designers and engineers often have to get up to speed on flex in a hurry, and they don't know where to turn for up-to-date flex design information. Flex007 Magazine was loaded with flex de- sign content, and now we've merged that pub- lication with Design007 Magazine. Now, you'll find flexible circuit design content in each issue of Design007 Magazine; you won't have to wait three months to find great flexible circuit de - sign content. Our expert contributors will con- tinue to bring readers everything they need to know about flex and rigid-flex design to stay ahead of the game. It's a good fit. Most of the really cool flex in- novations are happening at the design stage, and most EDA tools are now optimized for flex design, eliminating the need for "paper dolls" and other workarounds from the Stone Age, relatively speaking. This is a brave new world for flexible cir - cuits. Flex was a tiny sub-category of PCBs in the not-too-distant past, but flex is on fire now; witness the number of fabricators moving into flex. Indeed, fabricators have found that they can make a pretty penny on flexible circuits, particularly rigid-flex. But for all the growth in the flex segment, there seems to be a lack of available design informa- tion. Search online for yourself. How many flex design instructors can you name? There is a def- inite need for more information about flex and rigid-flex design tips and techniques, and we are pleased to be able to do our part. We open our new section with a feature inter- view with Nikolay Ponomarenko, Altium's direc- tor of product management, who discusses the company's move into printed electronic circuits design capabilities and how PEC design differs from rigid and flexible circuit design. In our next feature interview, David Wiens—product market - ing manager with Mentor, a Siemens Business— details their tools' latest flex and rigid-flex design capabilities, and some of the challenges that de- signers face with rigid-flex circuits. We also have a technical paper by Weifeng Liu, et al., where the authors describe a process for creating flexible hybrid electronics, which com - bines traditional manufacturing techniques with today's precision ink technologies. Next, an in- terview with Philip Johnston, managing direc- tor of Trackwise Designs, covers their patented length-unlimited printed circuits, including flex- ible circuits that measure 26 meters in length. Further, we have columns by our regular contributors, including an update from I-Con- nect007's Patty Goldman. This month, Joe Fjels- tad offers details on some recent efforts to make flexible circuits more stretchable. Next, Steve Williams brings us an interview with Proto- tron's Van Chiem, who has been instrumental in developing flex and rigid-flex processes at the company's Tucson, Arizona facility. Take a look around our new section, and let me know what you think. See you next month! FLEX007

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