What is a Flexible Heater?

A flexible heater is a heater made by screen printing conductive busbars and resistive heating elements on thin material substrates.

Unlike traditional wire heaters, this innovative technology uses electrically resistive inks to turn current into heat. Through precise design and manufacturing, these heating elements can meet specific operating parameters.

Butler Technologies' printed heaters have a thin, flexible, and sometimes stretchable form factor, providing the end user with increased design freedom compared with other commercially available technologies. They can fit into tight spaces, conform to complex shapes, or even flex and stretch with the body when integrated into garments.


Features of Flexible Heaters:


Thin: Most flexible heaters are 0.05 to 0.76mm thick (thinner than a human hair.) Unlike wired heaters, flexible heaters can be incorporated into applications so seamlessly that your user won’t notice the difference (except the heat!)


Fixed Resistance Heaters

Fixed resistance heaters are made from conductive silver ink traces and bus bars* printed on top of a substrate. Their resistance value changes very little, or stays “fixed”, as the voltage drives electrical current through the silver traces, causing them to heat up. By managing the heater’s voltage, resistance and current, we can design the heater for specific temperature requirements.

  1. Most commonly printed on thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
  2. Temperature controlled via closed-loop system.

Fixed resistance heaters offer consistent heater operation during garment stretch and are the ideal solution for wearable applications.

  • Heated athletic gear / compression garments
  • Heated uniforms/ clothing for workers
  • Joint braces / pain management

*Except in the case of busless designs

Layers of a fixed resistance heater

Top Cover Layer: The TPU cover film is added for extra protection. Covers can be clear or customized graphics like logos.

Heating Element: Specialty resistive carbon, silver, or blended inks

BusBar System: Silver conductive inks send electricity through to the heating element

Base TPU Film: TPU is most common for its ability to stretch and conform to its user. The back can also have a hot-melt adhesive for easy application to fabric garments.

Fabric: The fabric layer is optional.


Applications for Flexible Heaters

  • Heated Heavy Equipment Seats
  • Heated Blankets
  • Window Defrosters
  • Heated medical back or knee braces
  • Air Plane Engine Warmer
  • Heated jackets for winter athletes
  • Hot Plates for Cooking
  • Heated gloves for outdoor maintenance workers
  • Sleeping bag Warmers
  • Heated boots for winter adventures

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.