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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2022 As flexible printed circuits (FPC) continue making waves in PCB manufacturing, the Altix team of Alexis Guilbert, Damien Boureau, and Alexandre Camus look at today's use cases for FPCs, and detail the finer points of roll-to-roll technology vs. direct imaging. For example, how long can a flexible circuit be? Which tech- nology works best with extremely long cir- cuits, and how does a customer know which one to use? e I-Connect007 Editorial Team explores these trending topics and what it means for PCB manufacturers. Nolan Johnson: We're here to learn more about Altix's con- t i n u e d w o r k o n ro l l-to - ro l l tech- n o l o g i e s . W h a t do you see as the market drivers for roll-to-roll? A l ex i s G u i l b e r t : One booming market is auto- motive. More specifically, it's the elec- tric vehicle battery manufacturing market, which is enjoying tremendous growth. One report I read mentioned a $7 billion growth in market size by this year. I believe the flex- ible printed circuit segment is growing in the industry because it replaces wires, for exam- ple, which used to always be wire harnesses. Now it's FPC, which saves assembly time and space as well as space and weight in the vehi- cle. You divide those by approximately two compared to normal wires. Of course, it's an FPC, so you will have data like temperature, voltage, and everything else. Alexandre Camus: e main drivers will be, for example, battery packs, interconnects, some sensors, and wire harness replacements. I want to stress that for battery pack interconnects, it will mostly be for electric vehicles but there will always be more FPC in traditional ICE vehicles. The EV and auton- omous vehicles are growing domains. It's a really dynamic market. Johnson: For the auto- mo t ive s ec tor sp ec if i- cally, it sounds like this is replacing some wire harnesses. Guilbert: Ye s , i t 's b a s i c a l l y a w i r e h a r n e s s r e p la c e - ment. That's one of the main drivers for both our roll-to-roll contact printers and direct imager (DI). Johnson: What's the value-add for moving to flex over the wire harness? Why is flex better than a traditional wire harness? Guilbert: It saves space and reduces weight. For a vehicle, that's tremendously important as Web vs. Direct Imaging Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team

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