Flexible printed circuits open up new applications

Flexible printed circuits open up new applications

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

Unlimited length flexible printed circuits are opening up new applications in areas such as vertical farms and industrial sensors as well as wearables and healthtech.

Trackwise Designs in Tewkesbury has detailed some of the applications using its patented flexible Improved Harness Technology (IHT) multilayer technology to solve design challenges with significant space and weight savings, increased reliability and repeatability, and reduced assembly time.

Flexible circuits have been used for several years in wearables, but the IHT flexible printed circuits (FPCs) can withstand the harsh environments found in aerospace, automotive and industrial applications.

“The diversity of applications using our IHT FPCs to drive product innovation is huge,” said Philip Johnston, CEO of Trackwise. “Design engineers have been quick to recognise the significant advantages of IHT FPCs. It is inspiring to see their visions for future products being realised as they take advantage of replacing conventional interconnections and wiring harnesses with our lightweight, smaller, cheaper, more reliable and repeatable alternatives.”

In agritech, supply chain challenges and concerns about sustainability and food-miles are driving demand for agritech applications such as vertical farming in urban environments. Trackwise can manufacture FPCs of any length featuring sensors that enable the monitoring and control of lighting, climate and irrigation required to automate such indoor deployments round the clock.

Long FPCs featuring pressure sensor arrays, strain gauges or linear measurement sensors can be used to monitor the position and speed of an elevator car in its shaft – or investigate the inside of industrial pipelines. FPCs can also power heating elements for applications such as de-icing aircraft wings, tails or air inlet scoops – or for innovative applications like electric infrared wallpaper.

“Design engineers are resourceful problem-solvers that are applying these innovative flexible printed circuit technologies to solve their design challenges and enable smarter and more advanced products across a diverse range of industry sectors and applications,” said Johnson.


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