Our customers often have questions concerning Thick Film Technology and the benefits of using a thick film heater, resistor or sensor. Below are some common questions and answers. If you don’t find the answer to your question below, please contact us and we will be happy to answer your question and possibly add it here under the FAQ section of our website.
The thick film inks used to make thick film products are broadly distributed into 3 categories: Dielectrics, Conductors and Resistors. The dielectric materials are generally glass and ceramic based and are not conductive. The conductors contain precious metal particles such as silver, palladium, gold or platinum and their alloys. Resistors are blends of glasses, metals and metal oxides such as silver and ruthenium in various combinations to achieve inks with different resistance values. All the ceramic based thick film inks are blended with glass particles called frit. During the firing process the metal and metal oxide particles bond together in a solid state process called sintering to form a network of millions of electrical connections between the conductive particles. Also during the firing process the glass particles melt, flow and act as an adhesive and filling voids between particles of metal and metal oxides and bonding the entire structure together and to the base substrate.
ThickFilm Technologies selects different dielectric, conductor and resistor ink combinations depending upon thermal and electrical requirements of the design and the properties of the substrate material. The materials chosen are determined by the application or process compatibility with the operating environment, operating temperature and cycle rates.
The need for even heat, thermal uniformity across a surface or if you need to be able to specify different power densities (heat) in different areas of the heater. By distributing the heater traces as needed, more power can be targeted in particular areas to meet the needs of the application. Low thermal mass means thick film heaters are very fast to respond both heating and cooling
Custom foot print. We laser cut all our ceramic and stainless steel substrates and therefore heaters and resistors can be in almost any 2-dimensional shape. If you have an odd form factor and off the shelf heaters don’t fit or don’t perform, then a custom designed thick film heater might be the answer- we are happy to discuss your application and help you determine if thick film is the right choice.
Space saving is another important advantage because thick film heaters and resistors offer a very low profile this is especially true when compared to bulky wire wound type heaters or resistors. The ability to select a thick film resistor ink of a particular value allows much less “real estate” to be used-this is particularly true when a compared to a wire wound type resistor or heater that requires a high resistance value-with wire wound technology the wires has to either be very long or the gage of the wire to be very small.
Most of our thick film products are custom designed and annual volumes can range from one to several thousand. Our NRE and development costs are very reasonable.
Stainless Steel: Types 304 and 430