Machine Design

Printing stick-on heaters

A patented process pioneered by engineers at Thermotrax Corp., Hackettstown, N.J., generates low-cost circuits as fast as one per second with high tolerance and no process waste.

A patented process pioneered by engineers at Thermotrax Corp., Hackettstown, N.J., generates low-cost circuits as fast as one per second with high tolerance and no process waste. They currently make resistive heaters for side-view mirrors on cars and trucks. The process, much of it borrowed from the printing and web-handling industry, uses no solvents or hazardous etching chemicals, so waste disposal is not a problem. The heaters offer high-watt densities and come with sides to simplify mounting and assembly. The process modified to create heaters with uniform or tailored heat distribution. It can also be used for much more than heaters, according to the manufacturer. They say it could make low-cost, precise flat-panel circuits with active and inactive regions for almost any application. The production technique turns out a laminated product with polymer layers for strength and circuit protection, metal foil (aluminum, tin, or copper) or other conductive layers to create circuits or electrically conductive paths, and adhesives as needed by the application. Dies for cutting and formatting the layers can be generated with CAD data running CNC machinery.

TAGS: Technologies
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