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The flex-to-fit concept reminds us that creativity and engineering go hand-in-hand. Imagine this scenario: As an engineer, you have been tasked with the challenge of adding sensors to the front spoiler lip of the new 2015 Porsche Cayman.
There is limited space available and the cavity is thin enough that running even a small wire bundle would be difficult. What do you do? Let’s take a look at the flex-to-fit concept.
When there is not ample space for a conventional approach, this process, which is the convergence of the mechanical world and the electronics world, results in the ability to design a flexible circuit along the contour of an existing, irregularlyshaped structure. By taking the mechanical part, extruding the surface and then conforming to that surface, a flex circuit can be created that will fit perfectly within the confines of a limited space or cavity. In a recent conversation with Mike Brown, of Interconnect Design Solutions, he helped to clarify this process, and we discussed several exciting applications. He also explained the benefits to the flexible circuit design process.
Most electronic systems require an enclosure to support a rigid PCB. Looking beyond the constraints of an enclosure and incorporating flexible circuits within the contours of other existing structures, opens up endless possibilities. In the example of the Porsche Cayman, imagine this solution: The valence of the front spoiler lip is mechanically digitized and recreated in a 3D MCAD model.
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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of The PCB Magazine.
Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
This week we have quite a variety of articles for you. There has been so much electronics industry news coming out of Washington, D.C., that it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on. So, Editor Michelle Te compiled a handy-dandy reference guide to recent legislation news, including our exclusive coverage. We need to keep an eye on these senators and representatives. They’ve been talking about the importance of our industry for the past year, but this is an election year, after all. They’ve been known to say one thing and do another.
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Can it be Friday already? Seems like I’ve just barely put away my Tuesday dishes. Some weeks, I wonder where my days went as they fly by so fast I hardly even realize it. As I looked back through the news for the week, it was clear why everything went so fast: There was a lot going on. The news this week had a nice feel to it. It seems like the industry is starting to gain some traction again with shows, mergers and acquisitions, and companies getting to do those “extras” that they wanted to do before the pandemic reared its ugly head. It had a little of that “back to normal” feel, even if we aren’t quite there yet. What do you think? Are we normal yet?
Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
I’m getting a lot of out-of-office replies. Are you all on the beach now? It’s 91 degrees every day here in Atlanta lately, but each afternoon it rains like we’re in a horror movie, and that drops the temperature down to the subtropical arena. Still, I’ll take heat over freezing any day. Things are heating up in our industry too, as we see from my top five choices this week. First-quarter electronic design revenue is up year-on-year, but PCB revenue barely moved the needle YOY. Editor Nolan Johnson spent the week at SEMICON West and the FLEX Conference, and he brings us a review of these conferences, co-located at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. As he notes, printed electronic circuits are beginning to gain a foothold in the market.