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48 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2023 will stay that way, rigid-flex will work fine. But if the board will be moving on a regular basis during operation, then opting for just flexible circuits or attaching flex to a traditional rigid board is a better way to go. Another common question is, "How does my PCB layout soware work with curves and hatched planes?" ere are a lot of curved traces and hatched planes in flex circuits. If it's a hassle to create a curved trace, you may need a different soware package that is optimized for flex and rigid-flex design. Many of today's EDA tools are set up for rigid-flex design. Rigid-flex boards use the same materials as any rigid board. One way to do this is by cre- ating the flex portion along with the layers of the rigid board, and use a delamination pro- cess to remove any unwanted layers. No com- ponents are mounted on the flex portion of Rigid-flex Design Guidelines Feature Article by Cherie Litson LITSON1 CONSULTING Rigid-flex circuits are unique structures; part rigid board and part flex, they're increasingly working their way into many of the electronic devices we use every day. ere have been many advances in rigid- flex lately as more companies find them- selves exploring this technology. So, before I started writing this article about rigid-flex design, I double-checked a few things. For- tunately, there is plenty of rigid-flex informa- tion available on a variety of great websites that we all know and trust. So, here's a quick look at some of the principles of rigid-flex design. Rigid board designers who consider enter- ing the rigid-flex arena typically have a hand- ful of questions. One of the most obvious is, "Why do we need rigid-flex anyway?" If we just need a way to fit circuitry into a case and it

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