What are Smart Surface Solutions?
The ongoing expansion of megatrends such as IoT and digitalisation is pushing the demand for printed sensors and antennas that are applicable to differently shaped surface structures. As an industry-leading supplier of printed electronics materials and services, Henkel are leveraging these megatrends to create smart surface solutions that are not only smarter, but also make a positive impact. They provide full solutions based on conductive inks and coatings ranging from conductive silver inks suitable for screen printing and forming, valve jet printing and pad printing.
These developments have carried printed electronics into a variety of new application fields and opened new market opportunities for smart living, mobility and more.
Smart Personal Hygiene Products
Printed electronics are driving fundamental innovations across the personal hygiene sector. With an increasing geriatric population coupled with rising healthcare costs, the development of novel monitoring tools which increase patient comfort and reduce expenses is crucial.
Henkel’s conductive inks allow for the manufacturing of responsive, disposable healthcare products. For example, their high-speed printable carbon ink is a key element in creating cost-effective moisture sensors that are integrated into disposable diapers and smart bed pads. These reliable moisture sensors detect fluid levels and leakage which can be remotely monitored in real-time on a smart device. The lightweight printed sensor offers both comfort and durability and is essential for making high-quality smart personal hygiene solutions.
Smart Healthcare Products
Similarly, Henkel’s advanced inks are being utilised in the manufacturing of modern medical devices. They have been specifically formulated to be compatible with the human body and various interactive medical gels and chemicals. Biosensors such as glucose test strips, EKG/ECG electrodes, TENS pads for muscle stimulation and various other medical device applications now depend on Henkel inks to provide accuracy, reliability, and compatibility. These advancements in medical devices capabilities have all been made possible thanks to new developments in printed electronics technology.
Henkel have also been involved in the creation of smart shoe insoles using their conductive inks, protective coatings, skin grade adhesives and electrode materials. These insoles serve to measure the interaction between the runner’s feet and the ground, which can be tracked and reviewed in real time via an app. By measuring the pressure distribution, the user can then be advised on how to improve their technique and gain efficiency.
Smart Connectivity IoT Antennas
Printed electronic technology plays a key role in the continued development of printed antennas, including NFC and RFID solutions. Highly conductive inks are being used in the development of in-mold equipment that can be formed into 3D shapes. Henkel is a leading printed electronic material supplier for in-mold electronic solutions that are applicable for the continued development of 5G networks and other telecommunication technology.
Smart Automotive Interiors
There is a growing demand for printed electronics in the automotive industry, with several areas already benefiting from conductive inks and coatings. A driving force for this is the move to lighter products and components in order to reduce overall vehicle weight.
Henkel is constantly innovating the ways in which printed electronics can be utilised in this field. Specifically, their printed electronic technologies are being used for applications involving heating, capacitive/resistive sensing, and inductive charging within the vehicle’s interior. Unlike traditional wire heating, printed heaters are self-regulating and flexible which makes them easy to install car seats and connect to the vehicle through IoT integration. Printed heater solutions use PTC inks which prevent overheating and other damage due to high temperatures, making them a popular choice in the automotive, electronics and building industries.
Other Smart Surface Solutions
Modern display technologies rely on different printed solutions for functionality and form under diverse conditions. Henkel has developed materials specifically for these applications including protective topcoats, UV dielectrics and fine silver inks. These solutions provide an additive, adaptable, and cost-effective alternative for a variety of display devices. This includes industrial and automotive touch screens, as well as printed LED lighting, membrane touch switches and keyless entry devices.
To learn more about Henkel’s Printed Electronics products and services, download their dedicated brochure.
To follow up on this particular range, Henkel and Ellsworth have partnered together to offer an exclusive webinar focused on Printed Electronics applications. If you would like to participate in this webinar, then please sign up here.