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8 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2023 When I first started covering this industry in 1999, rigid-flex circuits were considered a niche market. In fact, Compaq was deemed a trendsetter for using rigid-flex in its laptops. Now, analysts at Credence Research predict that the rigid-flex market will top $5 billion by 2026, led in part by the adoption of IoT and the need to connect a variety of smart devices. at's a pretty big niche. Rigid-flex circuits are everywhere, from servers and smartphones to cameras and pacemakers. Rigid-flex brings the best of both worlds together, with advantages that are not available with rigid or flex circuits alone. It cuts down on the number of connectors and wiring har- nesses, and can fit into spaces where multiple rigid boards could never fit. Fewer connectors and solder joints means much higher reliability, as well as greater resistance to shock and vibra- tion. Testing is simpler with rigid-flex than with a multi-board construction. As a result, more traditional PCB designers are looking into rigid-flex design. But rigid- The Shaughnessy Report by Andy Shaughnessy, I-CONNECT007 Rigid-flex Design: No Longer a Niche

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