Durability meets Innovation in Conductive Printing Technology

Conductive Transfers Ltd has developed a new process for screen-printing circuits with a high level of durability, ideal for developing innovative wearable solutions. This ground-breaking approach eliminates the wires and plastic substrates that are commonly found in contemporary wearables, all while preserving the benefits of printing onto a plastic sheet.  

The innovative method has embedded new features into the printing process, allowing for the incorporation of sensors, heaters, and surface mount components when working with existing garment designs. Another aspect of this approach centres on subjecting the technology to stress tests, to fully validate various performance metrics across deployable environments. Critically, intelligent textiles solutions continue to draw significant interest from a range of sectors, from fashion, medical textiles, sports goods, home textiles and the automotive industry. 

About the Project

Working with Future Fashion Factory, Conductive Transfers Ltd has collaborated with Dr. Sohel Rana and Dr. Shama Parveen at the University of Huddersfield to successfully develop an innovative and cost-effective nanoink for 3D zoned heaters to replace the expensive silver inks that are used in today’s printed heaters. 

A brightly coloured heat scan of a 3D zoned heater

The zoned heaters allow for highly regulated increases and decreases in power output for each applied heating zone. This is conducive towards a more controlled and energy efficient technology for heating fabrics. The new approach is achieved by heat pressing printed heaters onto textile material which uses the new nanoink and printed temperature sensors in each heating zone. In addition, the approach allows for additional heating elements that can be included to meet product requirements. 

The heaters can also contain complimentary printed insulation technology for enhanced thermal efficiency, (such as a graphene ink, bubble ink or reflective ink layer for example). This novel technology will help to tackle the problems with existing textile heaters based on conductive yarns (which are complicated and expensive) or printed on plastics (which are uncomfortable and environmentally unfriendly).  

The project has resulted in a bespoke heating system which is highly efficient, cost effective, light weight, thin with a soft feel, and that is also plastic free, recyclable, and durable.  

It is expected that the development of the new nanoink for 3D zoned textile heaters can significantly improve the competitiveness of Conductive Transfers Ltd within the e-textiles market, both in the UK and globally.  

The new products being considered can significantly enhance the energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and sustainability of heating systems used in e-textiles and other diversified applications. For example, outcomes of the project could result in not only the successful continued commercialisation of novel 3D zoned textile heating technology but add greater comfort and personalisation features to textile heating systems, as well as improve the cost effectiveness of products through enhanced design and process methods. 

The results achieved in this project are promising and the developed technology has great potential for a number of commercial applications.

Dr Sohel Rana