Flexible printed heaters – warming elements printed onto flexible, often stretchable materials – have many medical applications, from speeding wound recovery through targeted warming, controlling temperature of surgical instruments in the operating room, to improving hospital blankets.
Manufacturers deposit different conductive, resistive, and positive temperature coefficient (PTC) inks onto flexible substrates – commonly polyester (PET), Kapton RS conductive film, polyimide (PI), or thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). Typically, devices use lightweight rechargeable lithium batteries, so they are portable; however, the final product weight may vary depending on the required power input. Battery packs commonly range from the size of a coin cell to that of a small tablet device, operating anywhere from 2 hours-to-8 hours before recharging – depending on expected battery life and the required regulated temperature.
Determining how flexible printed heaters can integrate into a project is simplified with HeatWave Development Kits from Butler Technologies Inc. (BTI). Designed to bring products to market faster, the kits test product and market feasibility prior to full-scale production. Once a concept has proven feasible, engineers can work with BTI to go into full-scale heater manufacturing.
Benefits of using the HeatWave Development Kits include:
Cost-effective – Many engineers or designers need to test how products will operate and whether flexible printed heaters are suitable. Rather than having a custom prototype created for the design, HeatWave Development Kits offer a cost-effective research and development (R&D) solution.
Trial/error – A development kit enables engineers to tinker with their product and its design, sometimes advancing the design while ensuring it operates as intended.
Market feasibility – A product may be a great idea but without demand, there’s no reason to produce it. Using a development kit to bring a concept into a prototype helps designers test feasibility to quickly determine if it’s worthwhile for full-scale production.
Production – Once a product developed in conjunction with a HeatWave Development Kit is ready for manufacturing, engineers already know the exact design and operating parameters required, accelerating the move to full-scale production.
HeatWave Development Kits can save costs by reducing the need for custom heater designs.