Engineered Thick Film Heating Elements

Thick film heating elements were developed as an outcropping of long-time technology used for production of printed circuit boards and hybrid circuitry. The term “thick film” refers to the resistance circuit (or heating element) that is deposited by a screen printing process, typically 0.0005” thick and deposited on a ceramic or metal substrate.

A thick film heating element provides precise layout of the resistance element exactly where the heat is required. Additionally, intimate contact of the heating element to the substrate is guaranteed delivering maximum heat transfer by eliminating any air gap there between between the heating element and the substrate.

Thick film heaters give engineers broad design flexibility of the heating circuit itself. Designers can precisely distribute heat where its required and also dictate the uniformity in temperature distribution. This design flexibility can be applied to curved and irregular shapes, as well as flat, to accommodate custom heating applications.

Highly machined ceramic parts, with intricate designs, high dielectric properties,  and smooth surfaces are ideal for thick film heating elements. Advanced ceramic's chemically inert, non-porous properties facilitates the careful and exact control of the trace pattern and trace dimensions, thus providing a “heated part” approach to equipment design.

Features of Ceramic Thick Film Heaters:
  • High dielectric
  • High thermal efficiency
  • Very rapid heating
  • Uniformity of heated area / pattern
  • High watt densities
  • Chemically inert
  • Custom shapes and sizes
  • Custom wattages and voltages
  • Embedded temperature sensors
Thick film heating elements are used in many industries today, particularly in advanced technologies such as analytical instruments, medical equipment, aerospace, semiconductor, and research & development.

BCE, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, has decades of experience in consulting, designing, and applying thick film heaters. Their reputation has grown nationally as a premier custom thermal solutions provider.  For more information, contact:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999

Engineered Ceramics for the Analytical, Semiconductor, Electronics, Defense, Medical, and Aerospace Industries

advanced ceramics machining
Advanced ceramics machining
Ceramics are inorganic, non-metallic materials made from compounds of a metal and a non-metal. They include such compounds as oxides, nitrides, and carbides. Ceramics are typically insulators (electrically and thermally), but their properties can vary widely - for instance some ceramics actually belong to the super-conductor class. Advanced ceramics, such as alumina, zirconia, silicone carbide and silicone nitride are very resistant to corrosive chemicals and high temperatures. They posses higher stiffness and lower fracture toughness than metals.

Ceramics behavior under mechanical, thermal and chemical stress differs widely from other materials such as metals, which makes machining ceramics very difficult and requires knowledge, experience, equipment, and expertise. As the need for higher performance / higher precision parts has increased, advances in ceramics machining has overcome many of yesterdays machining challenges, and today's high-tech processes are yielding extremely close tolerance parts and ultra precise shapes.

Ceramic machining is the process of shaping the advanced ceramic material into high precision parts used in industry. Machining removes unwanted material by mechanical means, using very hard abrasive particles. If the machining is done before sintering (to achieve a "near-net-shape" to save time and money), the ceramic is referred to as in the "green state". Green state machining offers considerable advantages in quality, lower production costs, and manufacturing flexibility.

Grinding, the material removal process where abrasives is used, is the most prevalent machining process for advanced ceramics. Polycrystalline diamond and cubic boron nitride are the grinding materials of choice because of their hardness. Their particles are fixed to a grinding tool (or wheel) via resin or vitreous bonding, and are turned against the ceramic part at high speeds. Variation in grinding efficiency is a challenge though, due to the constant changing state of the grinding tools because of wear and abrasion.

The following chart is a helpful reference guide to the properties of some common advanced ceramics (click on chart for larger view).
For any inquiry on precision machined ceramics or thick film ceramic heaters, contact BCE at:

21060 Corsair Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
Phone: (510) 274-1990
Fax: (510) 274-1999