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94 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2019 Flex Standards in Flux What the Flex? by Andy Shaughnessy, I-CONNECT007 We're heading into fall, but the electronics industry is still smoking hot. Most of the play- ers in our industry still haven't seen many real effects of the trade war. And as we head into the holiday season, we can expect the elec- tronics manufacturing—and the overall econ- omy—to keep chugging along. Flexible circuits are continuing to find their way into almost every type of device—for re- liability reasons or just because rigid boards simply won't fit into the shrinking form factors of today's handheld devices. With the advent of 5G and IoT leading PCB designers further into the realm of RF and microwave, flex stan- dards are more critical than ever, especially for rigid board designers who have been forced into designing flexible circuits. We launch this month's Flex007 section with an interview with Nick Koop of TTM Technol- ogies, the vice-chair of IPC's Flexible Circuits Committee and co-chair of the 6013 Subcom- mittee. He discusses some of the updated ver- sions of flex standards that are soon to be re- leased—such as IPC-2223 and IPC-6013—and why these committee members must perform a balancing act by incorporating new process- es as quickly as possible, but only after they've proven their viability. Next, columnist Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Elec- tronics breaks down the various types of stan- dards related to flex and rigid circuits and ad- dresses why it's no ex- aggeration to say that standards are what hold the electronics industry together, in his column "Standards: An Industri- al-strength Glue." Then, Dominique K. Numaku- ra of DKN Research fol- lows up with a look at a simple process hailing from Taiwan that creates "monocoque" 3D print - ed circuits by printing silver-based traces on thermoplastic sheets. The result isn't exactly a rigid or flexible circuit, but a totally novel idea. Expect to hear much more about this in the up- coming months. Show Time Show season is upon us, and if you're new to designing flexible and rigid-flex circuits, you're in luck. In the next few months, there are a couple of opportunities to learn about flex de- sign from industry veterans who have been there and done that. Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technologies will join Nick Koop to teach their popular half-day

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