Printed heaters, born from Printed Electronics (PE), represent a revolutionary solution to age-old heating challenges. They offer durability, customization and space-savings, addressing the challenges experienced in traditional heating methods. This innovation is transforming heating solutions across various industries, promising a future where flexibility and efficiency join to meet the world’s heating needs.

What are printed heaters?

Printed heaters are conductive heaters using Printed Electronics (PE) technology and traditional manufacturing processes. Typically, this involves printing conductive ink on a substrate. Learn more about thin, flexible printed heaters in our blog post about DuraTech’s partnership with ACI Materials.

What are printed electronics?

Printed Electronics (PE) involves the use of printing processes to produce components such as batteries, displays, flexible printed circuits and sensors. Screen printing stands out as a widely adopted approach for manufacturing printed electronic parts due to its cost-efficiency and ability to rapidly generate large quantities of these components.

Printed electronics applications often employ conductive inks. DuraTech typically utilizes silver conductive ink and dielectric inks, which serve to insulate within the printed circuit stack. These specific inks play a crucial role in the production of electronic elements, including printed flexible circuits and sensors.

The application of printed electronics has taken the automotive industry by storm, especially in the realm of In-Mold Structural Electronics, where printed electronics are integrated into the final 3D part during the molding process. This integration enables the embedding of components within the resin, eliminating the presence of moving parts that could potentially malfunction. For example, printed electronics offer a compelling solution for heated headlights in vehicles operating in colder climates.

How printed heaters differ from traditional heating methods

Manufacturing Process: Printed heaters are typically produced using screen printing which allow for precise and customizable designs. Traditional heating methods often involve the use of bulk materials like wires or heating elements.

Design Flexibility: Offering greater flexibility in terms of shape and size, printed heaters can be tailored to fit specific applications and can be designed in intricate patterns. Traditional heaters may have fixed shapes and sizes.

Printed heaters can also be integrated into various surfaces and materials, including flexible substrates and 3D objects, making them suitable for applications where traditional heating elements may be challenging to incorporate.

A flexible printed heater for a glove made in collaboration with ACI Materials

Cost-Effectiveness: The manufacturing process for printed heaters can be more cost-effective. Traditional heaters often involve higher setup and material costs.

Weight and Size: One significant benefit of printed heaters is their lightweight and low-profile design, making them advantageous for applications with stringent space and weight restrictions. Traditional heaters may be bulkier and heavier.

Durability: Printed heaters can be designed to be highly durable and resistant to environmental factors such as moisture and corrosion. Traditional heating elements may require additional protection or maintenance.

Environmental Considerations: Depending on the materials used, printed heaters can be more environmentally friendly as they may involve fewer materials and waste during production compared to traditional heating methods.

An overview of industries utilizing printed electronics and printed heaters

In various industries, printed heaters are applied to provide innovative solutions for a wide range of needs. In the realm of optical and security equipment exposed to snow and ice, printed heaters are employed in devices such as traffic camera lenses, traffic signal lenses, surveillance systems, on-road and off-road vehicles, as well as windows. These heaters play a crucial role in preventing ice and snow buildup, ensuring clear visibility and optimal functionality.

In the field of renewable energy, solar panels benefit from printed heaters, particularly in northern climates where snow removal is essential for maintaining efficiency. These heaters help prevent snow accumulation, ensuring that solar panels continue to generate power effectively.

In the medical industry, printed heaters have diverse applications. They are used for heating petri dishes, maintaining precise temperatures in incubators, and creating heated shelves for sample storage. These heaters also play a vital role in ensuring the consistent temperature of various medical samples.

In the realm of prepared food storage, printed heaters are employed in heated popcorn bins and heated shelves in fast-food establishments, ensuring that food remains at the right temperature for consumption.

The automotive sector benefits from printed heaters in various ways, including heated cup holders, heated armrests, and heated seats (which involve a transfer process). Printed heaters are also used for battery warming and air intake pre-heating in cold climates, contributing to vehicle performance and comfort.

Headlight manufactured with printed heating technology

In the appliance industry, printed heaters find their place in refrigeration equipment, where they are used to reduce frost buildup in ice cube dispensers. They are also utilized in warming trays, providing a convenient solution for keeping food warm.

In residential settings, printed heaters serve in freeze protection applications, safeguarding pipes and other vulnerable components from damage caused by low temperatures.

Within the aerospace industry, printed heaters are employed to maintain efficient working temperatures of critical parts exposed to low temperatures, ensuring the safety and functionality of aerospace systems.

Printed heaters have a diverse range of applications across industries, from enhancing visibility in optical and security equipment to improving energy efficiency in solar panels, maintaining precise temperatures in medical settings, and providing innovative solutions in the automotive, appliance, and aerospace sectors, as well as in everyday household freeze protection needs.

What does this mean for you?

Printed heaters represent cutting-edge technology with a broad range of applications across various industries. These innovations are making a significant impact across the globe. As technology continues to advance, the potential applications of printed electronics will grow. DuraTech Industries remains at the forefront of this technology, and we are here to provide you with the latest solutions to meet your evolving needs. Join us in shaping the future with printed heaters today!

To learn more about the exciting new technology of printed heaters and explore how we can work together to develop new products that meet your customers’ growing demands, contact us today.