This is a post by Natasha Reaves on the Rand 3D Site.

A flexible component is defined as a part that is displayed in different geometric representations and can be included in an assembly in its various states.  With flexible component functionality, designers can create a variation of a part to represent its assembly state without modifying it; therefore part number and quantity in the bill of material remain correct.  Subassemblies can be made flexible, too. 

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