Reading time ( words)
Recent global printed circuit market research reveals that flexible circuits still only account for about 13–15% of the overall printed circuit market (PCB 76.2B in 2015 vs. flex 12.7B in 2015). PCBs have been in existence since the 1960s and nearly anybody who designs printed circuits first designs a rigid printed circuit board. There are many experienced PCB designers working confidently all around the world.
They understand the manufacturing capabilities and limitations very well as they have been designing these inherent components of the electronics industry for decades.
Flexible circuits, on the other hand, tend to be a little intimidating and mysterious to traditional PCB designers. Suddenly engineers in the development group are coming to their designers with questions about flexible circuits and these otherwise very experienced men and women find themselves without answers to questions they could answer in their sleep if they pertained to a traditional PCB.
It’s understandable that there are still questions about flexible circuit design vs. traditional PCB design based on the number of PCBs vs. flexible circuits manufactured worldwide, annually. However those of us in the flexible circuit fabrication market are often asked even the simplest of questions: what kind of software do I need to design a flexible circuit?
What kind of files must I submit for quotation/fabrication of a flexible circuit? These are questions that arise from the lack of experience in flexible circuit design. Below we will address some of the common concerns we hear from PCB designers and help to clarify some of the unknowns and show that the vast experience gained as PCB designers carries over to the flexible circuit design as well.
To read the full article, click here.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 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.