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JUNE 2023 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 71 We are fortunate to have a long list of users fully enmeshed in flex designs that partnered with us to develop a flex-specific DFM solu- tion. We continue to work with these custom- ers to enhance our capabilities for flex DFM analysis. In addition to the DFM analysis sup- port described in this document, our plans include the ability to analyze additional trace fracture potential such as I-beaming, as well as improved 3D visualization and DFM for a flex and rigid-flex in their bent state. ese are just a few examples. Like the underlying technol- ogy, the PCB design and analysis tools must also continuously evolve to ensure customer success. DESIGN007 Mark Gallant is senior product marketing manager at DownStream Technologies. at the fabricators. Even a simple intelligent stackup exchange can dramatically improve the process. Gerber remains the standard, but the complexity of rigid-flex designs demands a smarter transfer between designer and fab- ricator. Conclusion Designers and fabricators alike have man- aged fairly well with limited access to flex-spe- cific DFM analysis tools. Today flex and rigid- flex have become mainstream and the under- lying technology is continuously evolving. As is common with all newer technologies, PCB design and analysis tools are playing catch up. PCB CAD tools have now been updated to support design for flex and rigid-flex, but many still lack support needed for intelligent data passing to fabricators. Likewise, most DFM tools have been inadequate to properly analyze flex and rigid-flex designs for manu- facturing problems. Per IPC's May 2023 Global Sentiment of the Elec- tronics Supply Chain Report, cost pressures con- tinue to recede and demand remains positive for now, leading to a cautiously optimistic global elec- tronics industry sentiment. "Geopolitical factors, along with the continued impacts of inflation and rising interest rates, have led manufacturers to describe the current econ- omy as slow, uncertain, challenging, difficult, vola- tile, and unpredictable," said Shawn DuBravac, IPC chief economist. "However, despite current condi- tions, the outlook for 2023 is relatively positive, with manufacturers expressing optimism and expecting growth, especially in the latter half of the year." Additional survey results indicate: • The majority of respondents are still reporting that labor costs and material costs are rising, but the number of companies experiencing rising costs continues to decline. Only 49% of companies believe material costs will rise in the coming months, the first time this has fallen below 50 percent. • Ease of recruiting skilled workers has also improved to its highest level since the survey began. • The Orders Index slipped to 101. This is still in expansionary territory, but it is the lowest level seen since the start of the survey. • Orders are expected to decline more so for firms operating in North America versus those in Europe, who instead are more likely expect- ing orders to remain stable. For the report, IPC surveyed hundreds of compa- nies from around the world, including a wide range of company sizes representing the full electronics manufacturing value chain. View full report. Electronics Manufacturers Reporting Cautious Optimism IPC Releases May Global Sentiment of Electronics Supply Chain Report

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