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PCB | December 12, 2005

Molex Expanded To Provide<br> Up To 18-Layer Flex Circuits

Molex® Incorporated has greatly expanded its ability to develop and deliver high-performance flex circuitry assemblies and can now provide assemblies with up to 18-layer conductive flex.
Molex has long been expanding its range of solutions for systems designers. "Over the last few years Molex has progressively developed its integrated solutions and test capabilities in all regions," according to Michael Nauman, president of Molex's Integrated Products Division. "Then, in October, Molex made a quantum leap forward by acquiring Century Circuits Inc, (CC&E) a Minneapolis-based flex circuitry maker specializing in electrically controlled, multi-layer flex circuit assemblies."

Molex now has capabilities in the Americas to stamp flex circuitry, automatically circuit-etch, vacuum laminate and drill multi-layer flex at the tightest tolerances. This complements Molex's global network of sales and value-add facilities that enable Molex to provide global service.

Molex's Minneapolis multi-layer flex facility is among the most technologically advanced in the United States. Target impedance can be controlled to as low as +/- 5 percent. Molex can create a four-mil-pitch product for select applications.

The test capabilities of Molex and Century Circuits combine to provide an improved front-end resource. With CC&E, Molex acquires a company with very advanced in-process circuit test strategies. Advanced vision systems with closed-loop monitoring systems are used to assure quality at each step of the circuit production process. These vision systems allow for automatic inspection of dimensions and vias and can measure accuracy in skew. The measuring process is totally operator independent, allowing sustainable quality performance.

The acquisition also advances Molex's automated X-ray test capabilities to provide measurement and defect data for every solder joint. X-ray test is the only method for finding defects in hidden joints, verifying solder joint quality.

Flex circuit assemblies are an ideal complement to connectors and have significant synergy with existing Molex membrane switch and printed circuit board assembly operations. Molex now provides interconnection solutions combining high-pin-count backplane connectors and sub one-millimeter-pitch SMT connectors with flex assemblies. "Molex will continue to expand the services we can provide system engineers developing technically sophisticated electronics. It is one of the key ways that we want to expand our business," said Nauman.

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