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24 The PCB Magazine • September 2016 Applications across the various markets for printed circuit boards can have significantly different specifications and performance re- quirements. Circuits for toys and games logi- cally have lower performance requirements than those used in medical devices. IPC 6013 is an industry-driven specification that defines the performance requirements and acceptance features for flexible printed circuit boards. This specification was drafted to recognize the differ- ences in performance requirements for differ- ent applications. Three classes of performance and acceptance requirements have been cre- ated in it: Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. Class 3 specifies the most stringent set of requirements and is used to specify quality requirements for products requiring the highest level of reliabil- ity. Class 3 requirements are often specified in applications for the Department of Defense (DOD), aerospace, and medical devices. While IPC 6013 Class 3 is often used to spec- ify flex circuits for military applications, MIL- P-50884 and MIL-PRF-31032 are two military documents also being used. These three differ- ent specifications define performance require- ments for essentially the same applications and, in fact, there is significant redundancy and of- ten confusion regarding how to properly spec- ify product for military applications. To under- stand how things got to where they are today requires a review of some history. Background The evolution of flexible circuit military specifications can be associated with the leg- endary story about the $600 toilet seat. In the 1980s during Reagan's presidency, the U.S. was embarking on a major expansion in the size and capabilities of the U.S. forces. Defense spending increased dramatically, which had by Dave Becker All Flex Flexible Circuits LLC Flex Circuit Specifications for Commercial and Military Applications FEATURE COLUMN: ALL ABOUT FLEX

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