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68 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2023 Article by Mark Gallant DOWNSTREAM TECHNOLOGIES (Editor's note: is is the final installment of a three-part series. To read Part 2, click here.) What a True Rigid-flex DFM Analysis Solution Must Include DFM analysis tools for the last several decades have focused on a typical rigid PCB or some variant. While many standard DFM con- straints are applicable, flex has many unique requirements that cannot be addressed with typical DFM analysis. Flex and rigid-flex DFM must be targeted toward the unique materials and processes used to produce flex and rigid- flex designs. One such example is board outline vs. layer profile. Some CAD systems do not support boundaries on a per layer basis. For most rigid- flex designs, all that is provided is a cumula- Challenges of DFM Analysis for Flex and Rigid-Flex Design, Part 3 tive board outline that is the extent of all layer shapes. Without a defined boundary per layer, there may be no prevention of routing traces or placing components outside, or off of, a layer in the CAD system. e CAD DRC may also miss these items because they are within the boundary of the cumulative board outline. Having a DFM tool capable of analyzing each layer against its unique profile can detect when conductors are outside, or off of, their respec- tive layers. Here is a categorized list of the types of anal- yses and features a flex or rigid-flex DFM tool should have. 1. Trace fracture Trace or copper fracture in bend areas. Some examples include presence of trace corners,

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