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Thermwood

New Flexible Carbon Fibre Heater Technology

30 September 2004

Methode Development Company, a subsidiary of Methode Electronics, Inc., has developed a new alternative to traditional flat flex heaters.

The Flexible Carbon Fibre Heater provides greater mechanical reliability and offers the designer a much wider range of options than conventional polymer thick film ink or etched copper flexible heaters. This new technology is expected to find use in a wide range of applications in medical and commercial products, industrial food equipment, automotive or aeronautical de-icing systems, home improvement materials, and other heating systems.

Methode's Flexible Carbon Fibre Heater technology uses stranded carbon fibre--not woven--and it employs Methode's patented Sonicrimp sonic welding technology for electrical termination. This technology configures 7 micron carbon fibre strands into a flat form which is sealed in a 3 mil. Mylar or Kapton jacket.

Compared to traditional flat flex heaters made from polymer thick film ink or etched copper, this new technology is much less susceptible to increased resistance or cracked traces when subjected to repetitive flexes or certain crease bending specifications.

Another key benefit of Methode's Flexible Carbon Fibre Heater is that the length, width, and the drive voltage requirements can be varied over a wide range to meet many application requirements. By virtue of its stranded construction, the maximum length is virtually unlimited. Thermoelectric properties include the ability to heat from 100oF to 200oF above ambient, with a current draw of roughly 400mA to 1.5A. Either AC or DC power can be used. The Sonicrimp process allows accurate and reliable termination to many wire types, or to custom connectors.

This new technology is also environmentally friendly with the Sonicrimp termination process not requiring solder and therefore no lead. The carbon fibres negate the need for etched copper, avoiding the issues associated with those chemicals. And the power consumption of the finished heater assembly tends to be lower than for polymer thick film or etched copper heaters.

Pricing for Methode's Flexible Carbon Fibre Heaters varies, depending on the length and width desired, thermoelectric properties needed, type of termination, and quantity ordered. In many instances, Methode believes their heater technology to be significantly less expensive than either polymer thick film or etched copper.






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