FPC’s have been used for heating applications for quite some time and are now being introduced into the automotive field for a multitude of uses. Ranging from proximity to the user heating in steering wheels, seats and armrests to functional heating for mirrors, cameras and sensors; ensuring these work in all weather conditions and do not compromise safety. Ongoing environmental requirements to remove lead have opened up the conventional heated screen market where new FPC solutions are being developed to replace the existing methods.
FPC heaters provide an efficient method of delivering heat where required, take up minimal space and assist in weight reduction over hard wired solutions. The ability to combine control electronics and sensors onto the FPC ensures precise control and offers multiple functionality; examples where this have been employed include seat occupancy and hands on steering detection.
Heating FPC’s can be constructed using traditional etched copper foil techniques or with the use of PTC (Positive Thermal Coefficient) inks which provide a constant, self-limiting low power option without the need for control electronics.