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APRIL 2018 I FLEX007 MAGAZINE 9 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Flex007 Magazine and Design007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 18 years. He can be reached by clicking here. their thoughts about flex, rigid-flex, and the overall flex market. For our first experts discussion, we spoke with Jonathan Wel- don of DuPont Electronic Materials, Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technologies, and Scott McCurdy and Scott Miller of Freedom CAD about how their companies approach flex and the many related issues. In our second experts discussion, John Tal- bot of Tramonto Circuits discusses the flex trends he's seeing in the overall market, along with some of the uniquely demand- ing flex products such as extra-long flex circuits. Next, Kelly Dack, CID+, gives us a review of his CID class's trip to Stream- line Circuits, and their exploration of flex fabrication processes. From Dave Lackey and Anaya Vardya of American Standard Circuits, we have an excerpt from their I-Connect007 eBook, The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals. And Steve Robinson of APCT explains his plans for the future after acquiring new flex and rigid-flex capabilities with his acquisition of Cartel's subsidiary Cirtech. Joe Fjelstad marks the return of his col- umn Flexible Thinking with a discussion about how much flexible circuits have changed over the years. John Talbot's col- umn Consider This, he explains how to handle returned material authorizations. In All About Flex, Dave Becker shares a vari- ety of ways that flex traces can fracture, and some solutions for keeping fractures away. And in his new column Flex Time, Bob Burns of Printed Circuits breaks down some of the many reasons that rigid-flex is so expensive compared to rigid and regular flex circuits. We hope you enjoy this inaugural issue of Flex007 Magazine and we'll see you in three months. FLEX007 Flex Survey: Advice In a recent survey, we asked our readers who work with flex the following question: What advice, tips, or techniques would you like to share with our readers regarding flex or rigid-flex circuits? Here are a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity. Involve the supplier early in the design. This is key. Compared with rigid PCBs, the tolerances and materials for flex and rigid-flex are different and require different rules—and there are different pitfalls. Also, flex requires the designer to think in 3D, and sometimes the most ele- gant solution may not occur to us. We are an OEM with relatively little experience designing and assembling flex and rigid-flex. We have avoided countless headaches by involving the experts among our suppliers to help us at the earliest stages of layout—even before we have an outline. In some cases, they have helped us save money by suggesting different orientations that help improve panel utilization, or avoid the need for extra layers. —Todd McFadden, component reliability engineer with Bose I design flex circuits much less frequently than rigid boards. I have found that it is helpful to reach out to your vendor with your requirements to help determine stack- ups or areas of uncertainty. Most vendors have a best design practices document that is useful to skim over before starting designs. Let the people who actually have to build the thing you're designing guide you; everybody will be happier and you'll get a better product. —Jarrod Schulte, engineering support specialist with Cadwell Industries

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