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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.