Energy Efficiency and Thick-film Heater

Thick-film heaters are produced by depositing electrical coating (dielectric, resistor, and conductor) directly on substrates, such as aluminum, mica, stainless steel, glass, etc. The electric coating creates a strong bond between the heater and the substrate, improving energy efficiency.

Figure 1 Datec IntegrAl Heater

Benefits of thick-film heaters

  1. Efficiently transfer heat – Heater layers are directly printed on the substrates, helping to reduce the thermal barrier and improve heat transfer.
  2. Consume less space – The typical thickness of a thick-film heating layer is less than 12 thou, or 0.35mm, making it low profile and reducing space requirements.
  3. Deliver higher power output – Thick-film heaters can be designed for watt densities of 200+ W/in², enabling increased thermal output capabilities.
  4. Create heat faster – With high power densities and excellent heat distribution, devices using Thick-film heaters heat much quicker than devices using traditional heating elements.

According to the EPA, using energy more efficiently is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to save money, reduce greenhouse gases, and meet growing energy demands.

Datec works with its customers to develop energy-efficient and high-performance heating solutions. Here is a quick summary of a recent project Datec completed to help a customer build an energy-efficient product.

Energy Efficient Overwrapper Using a Mica-TF Heater

Overwrappers are often used in grocery stores to wrap food. They are great for packaging fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, etc. With overwrappers, the operator tightly pulls stretch wrap film over the product and uses a heated pad to seal plastic at the bottom of the tray.

Overwrapping helps improve shelf-life, reduce packaging costs, and keep perishable food fresh.

The sealing surface of the over wrapper should maintain a temperature of roughly 375 °F to melt the plastic and create a proper seal. Traditional overwrappers stay continuously ON since it takes a considerable amount of time to heat, leading to consistent energy consumption throughout the day even when they’re not in use.

Figure 2 Heat Seal Energy Smart overwrapper

Datec developed a mica-based thick-film heater for Heat Seal LLC to use in their Energy Smart® over wrappers.

The Thick-film based mica heater (mica-TF®) designed by Datec heats up from room temperature to 375 °F in just three seconds. The fast-heating ability of the Datec mica heater enabled Heat Seal to create an over wrapper that can turn on and quickly reach its target temperature on-demand when the operator needs it.

Since rapid heating is possible thanks to the Thick-film mica heater, Heat Seal’s overwrapper can be turned off instead of being left powered on all day. In total, the wrapper reduces energy costs by over 80%, leading to significant savings for the user.

Figure 3 Datec mica-TF heater

Datec is an industry leader in designing and manufacturing custom Thick-film heaters for various cutting-edge applications. Our thick film heating solutions offer:

  • Compact, lightweight design to meet stringent space constraints
  • Rapid heating from 0-375 °F in just three seconds – or faster!
  • High energy efficiency to reduce heat loss during thermal transfer
  • Printing on multiple substrates, such as mica, glass, aluminum, and stainless steel

If you are in search of a partner to develop your next-generation product or to replace your existing heater, we can help.

Contact us to discuss your thick-film heater needs.