Have you heard of printed electronics? When most people think of printing, they envision traditional printers that work with paper. But some printers are able to print conductive pathways on electronics. Here are six surprising facts about printed electronics.
#1) Features Conductive Ink
While there are different types of printed electronics, most of them feature conductive ink. Printed electronics are made using special printers that deposit conductive ink onto a substrate. The ink may consist of copper, for instance. Copper is a highly conductive metal, so it allows these special printers to create conductive pathways on substrates.
#2) Supports Automation
Printed electronics support automation. They aren’t made using manual manufacturing processes. Rather, most printed electronics are made using automated or semiautomated manufacturing processes. Manufacturing companies can program the printers which they are made to mass-produce them.
#3) FPCs are Printed Electronics
One of the most common types of printed electronics is a Flexible Printed Circuits (FPC). Like all circuits, FPCs feature conductive pathways that control the flow of electricity. FPCs are simply flexible, whereas other types of circuits are not flexible. You can bend FPCs without breaking them. Attempting to bend a rigid circuit, on the other hand, may result in permanent damage to it. Regardless, FPCs are classified as printed electronics because they are made by depositing conductive ink onto a substrate.
#4) Available in a Variety of Substrates
Printed electronics are available in a variety of substrates. A substrate, of course, is simply a bottom layer onto which conductive ink is deposited. Some printed electronics feature a glass or silicon substrate, whereas others feature a foil or PET substrate. Regardless, you can find printed electronics in many different substrate types.
#5) LED and EL Backlighting Options
You can choose from light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting or electroluminescent (EL) backlighting when ordering custom printed electronics. Many printed electronics use backlighting to illuminate their respective interface. If a printed electronic has one or more buttons, for example, you may want to choose backlighting for it. LED or EL backlighting will illuminate the interface so that you can see the button or buttons more easily.
#6) Supports Molding Processes
Printed electronics support molding processes. Molding processes are manufacturing processes that involve the use of a mold to create parts and products in custom shapes. The mold is typically filled with a material. Once the material has cooled and hardened, the part or product is removed from the mold cavity.