Conductive inks set out to conquer automotive electrics

Conductive inks set out to conquer automotive electrics

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Traditional automotive applications of conductive Inks include printed defrosters, especially on rear windows. This is a mature and quite extensive business. An important trend here is the implementation of transparent and efficient large-area heating to eliminate the visible defroster wires in the rear windows. Here, printable metal mesh is an excellent candidate for future use, which has already made good progress in the qualification process. In addition, transparent heating can find further applications, especially in the defrosting of environment sensors used in highly automated and autonomous driving, e.g. cameras as well as radar or lidar sensors.

Furthermore, seat heaters are also an established field of application with ample opportunities for growth. Printed heaters can find further applications in vehicle interiors, says IDTechEx expert Khasha Ghaffarzadeh. Printed seat occupancy sensors and other printed sensors are also a possibility with strong growth potential.

In addition, the advent of electric vehicles represents a growth opportunity. The technology is suitable for the implementation of large area heaters for battery packs. This would make it possible to regulate the battery temperature, which is so important for vehicle performance, especially in cold environments.

Metal sintering die attach pastes are already being used in the power electronics for EVs. Ghaffarzadeh believes that this trend will intensify rapidly as higher power densities, in part favored by the increasing transition to wideband semiconductors, often push operating temperatures beyond the operating limits of many existing solders. Competition in this segment is intense and many suppliers of metal sintering materials are innovative and offer drop-in form factors, reduced sintering time, pressureless sintering, higher thermal conductivity, etc.

In addition, IDTechEx Research Director Ghaffarzadeh also sees further opportunities to use conductive inks in vehicles. In-Mold Electronics (IME) technology is used to develop both interior and exterior parts. Low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) is also a long established circuit board technology, especially for ECUs, transmission control units, ABS control units, steer-by-wire applications, etc. In addition, Ghaffarzadeh sees niches for such applications with electrochromic glass, for example for EMI shielding of batteries.

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