Advanced Printed Technology

User Interface


flexible heaters

  • What is a flexible heater?
    A flexible heater uses conductive inks to turn electrical currents into heat.
  • What is the hottest temperature that a flexible heater can reach?
    It depends on the type of heater. PTC heaters can reach 60-65°C. Fixed Resistance heaters can operate up to 80°C. Kapton® RS heaters operate at the most elevated temperatures reaching a peak of 240°C. Transparent clear conductive heaters can reach temperatures up to 120°C.
  • How long do printed heaters take to reach their highest operating temperature?
    You can feel the heat within five seconds of turning the heater on, and it will reach operating temperatures within 45 seconds.
  • Are flexible heaters washable?
    Flexible heaters can be hand washed for high-use, performance wear applications, or machine washed for low-use, outdoor gear applications. Snaps can be added so the heater is easily removed from the garment, then the heater does not need to be washed.
  • How do flexible printed heaters guarantee no risk of overheating?
    The PTC heater is designed to shut off at a predetermined temperature. This is considered a “self-limiting” heater without the need for external diagnostics or controls.
    For other types of heaters, our engineering team will keep your shut-off or safety parameters top of mind when designing the heater.
  • Are printed heaters safe to make direct contact with skin?
    Depending on the temperature, flexible heaters can safely come in direct contact with skin. If you’d like the heater to touch the skin, the temperature range should remain between 20-36°C. Anything hotter than 43°C should include a layer of insulation between the heater and the skin.
    Kapton® RS heaters should never be used for clothing applications or where they may contact skin, as they operate at extremely high temperatures.
  • How are the flexible printed heaters powered?
    This depends on your unique preference and application. Most of our heaters are battery-operated, making them portable. More industrial applications can have permanent external control for the heater.
  • What are the power requirements needed for printed heaters?
    The standard amount of power required for heaters to work correctly is a 12-24 volt battery pack.  However, the voltage can be lower depending on the application. There is always a tradeoff between runtime, operating temperature, and battery size/weight.
  • What applications are flexible heaters typically used for?
    Printed flexible heaters are used in any industry where there may be a need for portable heat. Some most common applications are heated clothing, wearable heated medical braces, heated accessories, and more.
  • Are there any dimension requirements for designing flexible heaters?
    Engineers have a wide range to make custom designs and dimensions for heaters. Typically, flexible heaters can be designed between 4 inches by 4 inches and no larger than 18 inches by 18 inches. Engineers design heaters in various configurations, such as gloves, boots, discs, and more, but heaters can be as simple as a square or rectangle.

biometric sensors

  • What is a biometric sensor?
    Biometric sensors use the body's natural electrical impulses to gain information. Wearables commonly use biometric sensors to measure heart rates, muscle, and brain activity. Biometric sensors are most widely used in medical and performance sportswear applications.
  • What is the difference between a biometric sensor and a biosensor?
    Biosensors or biological sensors read information from bodily fluids, like sweat, saliva, or blood. Biosensors require a reaction between the bodily fluid and enzymes or acid. Once a reaction is made between the enzymes and the fluid then analyzed information is sent to a computer or smart device. The most common example of a biosensor is blood glucose monitoring strips.
  • Can biometric sensors be integrated with IoT technology?
    Biometric sensors can be IoT integrated so that the information is relayed to a device via Bluetooth. Butler Technologies does not manufacture the Bluetooth module and any other hardware components. We can refer you to our trusted partners for projects that require a hardware module.

    Biometric sensors don’t measure information from fluids but instead from the body’s natural electrical impulses, such as heart rate, muscle activity, brain activity, and more.
  • Do printed biometric sensors require hydrogels?
    Hydrogel is not needed with biometric sensors. Biometric sensors are considered dry electrodes since they do not require gels. In specific applications, hydrogel can be used in conjunction with printed biometric sensors.
  • Does Butler Technologies manufacture the wearable garment that the biometric sensors will attach to?
    Butler Technologies manufactures printed biometric sensors. We can refer you to our trusted partners to help source the garment portion of your product design.
  • Does Butler Technologies develop software to integrate with biometric sensors?
    Butler Technologies manufactures printed biometric sensors. We can refer you to our trusted partners to assist with software applications.
  • Can biometric sensors be integrated with IoT technology?
    Biometric sensors can be IoT integrated so that the information is relayed to a device via Bluetooth. Butler Technologies does not manufacture the Bluetooth module and any other hardware components. We can refer you to our trusted partners for projects that require a hardware module.
  • How are biometric sensors transferred to clothing fabric or garments?
    Biometric sensors are heat transferred or sewed to garments and then integrated into the hardware/software devices using printed connector tails.
  • Are biometric sensors washable?
    Biometric sensors can be handwashed for high-use, performance wear applications, or machine washed for low-use, outdoor gear applications.
  • Are biometric sensors wireless?
    Our custom biometric sensors are wireless. However, there are different kinds of tail connectors to use to connect to the module. Many biometric sensors use solder tabs as connectors.

force sensing resistors

  • How do force sensing resistors work?
    Force sensing resistors (FSRs) measure the force applied to a specific area. As pressure is applied, the resistance lowers and returns to its original value as the pressure is removed.
  • What is the difference between ShuntMode and ThruMode force sensing resistors?
    ShuntMode sensors can detect a broader range of forces with a more linear output. ThruMode sensors are more receptive to lighter forces.
  • What applications are force sensing resistors typically used for?
    They can be used for any application where force needs to be measured. Typical applications include inventory control, podiatry, up/down and force/speed controls, musical instrument controls, infusion pumps, seat/bed occupancy detection.

    Did you know? FSRs are one of the most secure and intelligent ways pharmacies and other health professional buildings control medication inventory. The FSR detects once the medication moves from the shelf and a notification can alert the manager.
  • How are force sensing resistors designed?
    Butler Technologies can design your FSR with a Matrix Array, Single-Zone, Discrete Array, or Linear Potentiometer. Our team of experienced engineers can help decide which design would work best for your application.
  • What is the typical lifecycle of a force sensing resistor?
    Force sensing resistors can typically withstand 1,000,000+ actuations in their lifecycle.
  • What is the typical size of a force sensing resistor?
    The size and shape are limited only by fabrication equipment and raw material sizes.
  • Who invented the force sensing resistor?
    Franklin Eventoff invented the force sensor to create a children's musical toy.

Graphic Overlays

  • What are graphic overlays?
    Graphic overlays are the labels, decals, stickers, and nameplates that contain images, identification, instructions, descriptions and can act as the user interface of the product.
  • What are other names for a graphic overlay?
    Decals, stickers, tags, overlays, nameplates, faceplates, labels, etc.
  • What are the primary materials used in graphic overlays?
    The four primary materials used are vinyl, polycarbonate, acrylic, or polyester.
  • Why are graphic overlays in membrane switches important?
    The overlay is typically the first part of the device that the user notices and helps the user identify how to control the device. Graphic overlays serve as the main user interface.
  • Are graphic overlays screen printed or digitally printed?
    We can print graphic overlays both ways. Our team will work with you to determine which printing method best suits your needs. Sometimes overlays are digitally printed, but they need to also go through screen printing to add a protective textured layer to the front of the material.
  • Are graphic overlays water-resistant?
    Yes. Graphic overlays can be designed to be submersible and able to withstand moisture and water spray.
  • Are graphic overlays chemical resistant?
    Yes. We can create graphic overlays to withstand harsh chemicals and cleaning agents.
  • Do graphic overlays warp or buckle in warm environments?
    No. We can design your graphic overlay to be heat resistant based on the material used.
  • Do graphic overlays degrade in sunlight and UV rays?
    No. We can create your graphic overlay to be UV resistant.
  • Do graphic overlays scratch easily?
    No. We can add a hard coating to your graphic overlay so it will be scratch-resistant and withstand abrasion.

Membrane Switches

  • Does a membrane switch work as a latching switch?
    No. A membrane switch is considered a momentary switch, meaning that they are always open. When a button is pressed on the switch, the printed circuitry is momentarily closed.
  • What is the difference between tactile and non-tactile membrane switches?
    Tactile membrane switches will give off a tactile response, such as a clicking sensation when pressed. Non-tactile controls do not have a physical snap when pressed. A non-tactile switch typically indicates a physical press through light or sound.
  • Can LEDs be incorporated into membrane switch design for haptic feedback?
    Yes, our engineers can incorporate LEDs and backlighting to indicate the device has been activated. Read more about backlighting here.
  • How does the conductive ink work in a membrane switch?
    The inks provide a slim conductive profile that works like a wire. Once the membrane switch is pressed, the conductive ink circuit is complete, and the response is sent to the computer.
  • Are membrane switches waterproof?
    Engineers can add moisture seals for extra durability. The protective layer can be submersible and able to withstand moisture and water spray.
  • Are membrane switches resistant to harsh chemicals?
    Yes. The top layer of the membrane switch, known as a graphic overlay, can be designed with extra durable materials and seals to keep the device safe from chemicals.
  • Are membrane switches UV resistant?
    Yes. Membrane switches can be created to not degrade in sunlight or UV rays based on the materials and inks used.
  • Are membrane switches scratch-resistant?
    Yes. Certain materials can be selected to add durability to your product, so it can withstand abrasion.
  • Are membrane switches anti-glare?
    Based on the materials used, membrane switches can have anti-glare properties.
  • Will the membrane switch continue to work if exposed to heat and humidity?
    Engineers can make membrane switches with specific materials that can be heat resistant. This means they won’t warp or buckle in warm environments.


  • What other names for silicone rubber keypads?
    Silicone rubber keypads are also commonly known as elastomeric keypads or conductive rubber keypads.
  • What are the common features of a rubber keypad?
    The most common rubber keypad features are water and chemical-resistance plastic or rubber tactile buttons, PCB, and lighting.
  • Can silicone rubber keypads be backlit?
    Yes. Our team can help to incorporate backlighting if the keypad is used in low-light situations.
  • Are rubber keypads waterproof?
    Silicone rubber keypads can be customized to be water-resistant. A seal can be added to create more resistance to water or chemicals.
  • Are rubber keypads resistant to harsh chemicals?
    Yes. We can design our rubber keypads to be chemical resistant.
  • What is the expected lifetime for a silicone rubber keypad?
    Silicone rubber keypads are designed to withstand many elements, including time. They can last for several years and withstand a lot of wear and tear before any malfunctions occur.
  • Do silicone rubber keypads have a tactile response?
    Yes. All silicone rubber keypads have a tactile response. The three-dimensional silicone button is easy to feel through gloves, making it easy for the user to feel when pressed.
  • Are silicone rubber keypads manufactured in the United States?
    No. All orders for silicone rubber keypads are manufactured offshore.

Touch Screens

  • What are the different types of touch screens?
    We manufacture four different types of touch screens: Resistive Touch Screen, Projective Capacitive Touch Screen, Capacitive Touch Keypads and Buttons, Planar Touch Screens.
  • What is a resistive touch screen?
    Resistive touch screens only rely on force for actuation. Resistive touch screens are typically cheaper than their counterparts and can work with nonconductive stylus pens and gloves.
  • What is a capacitive touch screen?
    Capacitive touch screens rely on conductivity to act, which makes them more sensitive. Projective capacitive touch screens work by emitting an electric field above the screen. Once a finger gets close to the screen, the chip connected to the tail reads that a conductive force has interrupted the electric field.
  • What is a planar touch screen?
    Planar touch screens work by adding an overlay, sometimes containing a membrane switch or other similar technology, to surround the touch screen. Typically, planar touch screens are resistive touch screens with an added layer of functionality.
  • Are touch screens waterproof?
    Some touch screens offer water resistance.
  • What are the main advantages of using a touch screen compared to traditional interfaces?
    Touch screens offer several benefits such as accurate and fast response, easy to clean, durable, and a slim, modern design.

Dials & Gauges

  • What are dials and gauges?
    A dial or gauge refers to the part of the interface that shows controls like speed and RPMs. Well-designed instrument dials and gauges help identify essential controls and indicators at a glance.
  • Where are dials and gauges used?
    Butler Technologies produces instrument clusters, dials, and gauges for aerospace, automotive, boating, recreational vehicles, and farming equipment industries.
  • What are the basic design features of instrument clusters?
    Customizable features of dials and gauges include backlighting, dead fronting, embossing/debossing, film insert molding, and specialty finishes.


  • Are your products custom?
    Yes. All our products are custom. Our experienced team of graphic designers and engineers can help see your product through from napkin sketch to full-scale production.
  • Can I buy any products off-the-shelf?
    Currently, we do not offer any off-the-shelf products. Please check back later as we expand our capabilities.
  • Can you help me design my product?
    Butler Technologies is equipped to handle all your design needs, from napkin sketches or rough concepts to prototypes and into production. We can help innovate your existing products to add value and reduce costs.
  • Can I order samples?
    Yes. We’re happy to send you samples of similar products we’ve produced free of charge. Please reach out to our team today.
  • Can you prototype my product?
    Our Accelerated Parts Program is our way of helping customers achieve quick prototypes. This program is for user interface products, including labels, graphic overlays, and membrane switches. 
    We also offer prototyping packages for advanced printed technology projects like flexible heaters or biometric sensors. Please reach out to our team for more information.
  • Are there engineers in-house?
    Butler Technologies has a skilled engineering staff that can guide you through your product from start to finish.
  • Do you offer color matching capabilities?
    Yes, we use a photo spectrometer to detect the specific color that a sample part has. Our graphics team can also pull colors from digital files to get the most accurate color for your project.
    Caution: Using old physical parts to color match could be problematic.  Some ink can fade or discolor within just a few years.  This could lead to not matching the color the product was initially designed.  Ask our designers about innovative ink solutions today.
  • Do you offer roll-to-roll printing for high volumes?
    No. We do not do roll-to-roll printing. Label volumes typically made in-house are under 50,000 annual units.
  • What assembly capabilities do you offer?
    Butler Technologies’ assembly capabilities include laminating, pick and place, adhesive applications, connector crimping, and electrical testing.
  • What finishing capabilities do you offer?
    Butler Technologies’ finishing capabilities include laser and die cutting.
  • What quality certifications does Butler Technologies offer?
    The most common certifications and quality standards follow UL, CSA, ISO 9001:2015 with Design, ISO 13485:2016 with Design, and ITAR compliances. To view a complete list of our certifications, click here.  
    Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit testing and analysis organization focused on product safety for the United States and Canada. 
    International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – Non-government organization with 164 countries establishing industrial and commercial products and services standards. 
    Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) – A Canadian certification organization that endorses consumer and industrial products worldwide. 
    Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) – eliminating hazardous materials in electrical and electronic equipment can affect consumers. 
    International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) – information concerning US-made weapons and associated equipment sales, transport, and delivery.
  • Does Butler Technologies manufacture its products in the United States?
    Yes, we are a U.S. manufacturing company and most of our products are made in Butler, PA. However, we do work with offshore partners to finish some projects.

Where to start

With all the different customization options and use cases, it might seem overwhelming.

Contact our expert team today and take the pressure off yourself.