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Flexible Substrates Continue to Advance Medical Device Technology
Keywords: Flex Circuits, 3-D Innovations, Medical Device Advancements
For years the old adage was, medical breakthroughs were designed using yesterday's technology. Only proven and tried technology were trusted enough to go through clinical trials and testing, ensuring that products would not have to go through the expense and troubles of a recall. This paper will detail the role of the flexible substrate as production capabilities moved to thinner boards; measuring under 25-microns; allowing bend radius' of under 100-microns and sub 50-micron space & trace. Making the way for 01005 SMT components and CSP's; allowing for ever increasing functionality of products, a result of employing this technology. The hearing aid industry lead the way for years in the adaptation of flexible substrates, with each generation of product increasingly focused on selling a hidden hearing aid that cannot be seen, engineers were challenge to ensure this was the case. As the implantable market expanded they followed this lead. To compete and establish themselves against the medical device powerhouses, startup companies started taking risks and designing products that had more capabilities, more function and were smaller than comparable devices in the market. This concept of David leading Goliath has resulted in flexible substrate manufacturers as well as medical device manufacturers rewriting their technological roadmaps; where now we talk about flexible substrates with space/trace of sub 25-microns being used in implantable devices allowing the blind to see, the deaf to hear and eventually, the paralyzed to walk.
Richard Elbert, Sales Engineer
Valtronic Technologies (USA), Inc.
Solon, OH

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