Improving Performance with Thick Film Heaters


Thick film technology has a track record of meeting the rigorous needs of micro-electric circuits for decades. The technology has been used worldwide for fabricating printed circuit boards, sensors, heaters, and in photonics. Over the past several years, the science of thick film and its manufacturing systems have co-evolved to consistently produce robust electronic devices.

What Are Thick Film Heaters?

Also known as printed heaters, thick film heaters are characterized by various thermo-physical qualities that propel end products into a superior league of well-engineered products. Thick film can be printed directly on substrates including aluminum, steel, mica, and glass to manufacture superior heating components. Thick film heaters provide product designers with the flexibility to create higher performance custom thermal solutions.

Click here to view a video and learn about thick film heating.

Where Are Thick Film Heaters Used?

Thick film heating technology is used in various applications ranging from low temperature steady holding to applications that require high temperature and rapid heat up and cool down. Automotive battery heating, food holding equipment, lab equipment, medical device, home appliance, etc. are a few examples.

Key Performance Features

Thick film technology has been harnessed and refined by Datec for creating heating elements and supporting systems for numerous applications with improved performance.

Heat Efficiency

Unlike conventional heating elements, thick film heaters are precisely tailored for a specific heater application. The option to customize the shape, size and electrical properties allows for a thermally efficient heater design by eliminating unnecessary heat loss to the ambient environment. Thick film heaters are more sustainable with a smaller carbon footprint as compared to similar traditional heaters. In the heat-sealing industry, a signature application of Datec’s heater has helped customers save more than 50% on their heater’s energy requirements by replacing the always-on heater with an intermittent, fast ramp-up heater.

Controlled Temperature Profile

High-performance thick film heaters are also a good fit for any application that requires precision heating with specific heated and cooled areas, such as aerospace applications. For applications that have stringent thermal uniformity requirements, the circuit layout can be optimized for providing a well-controlled temperature profile across a target body. A controlled temperature profile also helps improve the response of temperature sensors. This in-turn enhances the reliability of the product, and also increases the operational life span of the heater.

Rapid Heat Up

Thick film heaters are capable of watt densities as high as 180-240 W/in^2 for applications that require a fast heat up. Such heaters are primarily printed on an aluminum substrate and are coupled with an equivalently powerful heat sink. These instant-on, high watt density heaters find their applications in industries that require high-performance efficient heaters, such as the automotive industry.

No Long Lead Times and Uncertainty

Datec has refined its design and fabrication approach overtime to follow agile techniques of incremental and iterative processes. By using data-driven decision making and simulation-driven engineering, Datec can produce fast and precise heaters without any delays or uncertainty. In many cases, the lead times for creating a heater from inception to finished product has been reduced from 10 weeks to as low as 10 days, without any compromise on the quality of the product.

Thick film heaters improve on legacy heating technology by providing all the benefits of a precisely customized product that not only fulfills heating requirements of an application but also exceeds industry expectations on quality and reliability.

From prototyping to joint development, contact us to learn how Datec can work with your team.


Datec is a custom heating element manufacturer specializing in thick film heating solutions. Our solutions are ideal for industries such as: commercial food service, medical devices, electronics, automotive, and appliances.
From prototyping to joint development, learn more about how Datec can work with your team.

Read More:
Thick Film Heaters Can Power Your Industrial Design
Modernizing the Food Industry with Thick Film and Glass Heating
Datec Heats Up Thick Film in Green Cars

Varun Kalra

About Varun Kalra

Varun Kalra is a Design Engineering Specialist at Datec. In this role, Varun improves the thermophysical performance of Datec’s product offerings. He is responsible for heading the design engineering efforts for new and existing products, transition of new products and technologies from the development phase to prototyping and production, providing pre and post-sales technical advice, and establishing guidelines for concurrent design and manufacturing. Varun holds a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.