Tek Tip – Printing Conductive Inks on Temperature-Sensitive Substrates

A common challenge in the manufacturing of printed electronics that require temperature-sensitive substrates, such as medical wearable devices or smart packaging applications, is pairing them with the right conductive materials that won’t compromise their thermal stability during the manufacturing process. Certain conductive inks require high curing temperatures, which can cause shrinkage issues with substrates that lack the necessary thermal stability, such as TPU, polystyrene, and polycarbonate films.

While one possible solution to this problem would be switching to a more thermally stable substrate that can withstand the necessary curing process, this can quickly become expensive, especially with higher production volumes.

Low-Temperature Curing Ink

However, Henkel Electronic Materials has created a more cost-effective solution to this challenge with the development of WIK21285-89A, a highly conductive silver paste with a lower curing temperature than other conductive materials currently available.

The ability for this material to be cured at a lower temperature makes substrates like TPU, polystyrene, and polycarbonate more viable for certain printed electronics applications like medical wearables that require skin-friendly materials or smart packaging that requires more cost-effective solutions. Other unique characteristics of WIK21285-89A are its formability and excellent elongation properties, allowing it to be stretched while maintaining conductivity. This makes WIK21285-89A an excellent solution for polycarbonate thermoforming processes and for use with heat-sensitive polystyrenes and TPU substrates.

Dielectric Pairing with Low Temp Ink

WIK21285-89A silver paste is compatible with Henkel’s WCP21280-3A, a dielectric, non-conductive coating with the flexibility to be thermoformed, fast UV curing properties, and excellent adhesion and printability. Paired together, these two products are an excellent solution for printed and flexible electronics end uses that require TPU, polystyrene, or polycarbonate substrates.

With years of experience in the Printed/Flexible Electronics industry, Tekra can work with you to determine the best possible solution for your application. While both WIK21285-89A silver paste and WCP21280-3A dielectric coating are currently classified as experimental products by Henkel, Tekra can acquire this material and provide samples in certain instances.

To learn more about our Conductive Inks offerings for Printed Electronics, click here

To determine if WIK21285-89A silver paste and WCP21280-3A dielectric coating are suitable for your medical wearable device, smart packaging, or other printed electronics application, call Tekra at 1-800-448-3572.

Image of Glucose Testing Patch Using Conductive Inks

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