Design the most reliable printed electronics with D/SPC®
reduce the risk of cracks, fractures and open traces with double-sided polymer circuitry (D/SPC)
For high-performance applications in industries like healthcare, outdoor machinery, aerospace and defense, you need printed electronics that don’t just withstand harsh environments, you need printed electronics that won’t fail in harsh environments.
Uniquely constructed to eliminate the need for cross-over, bridged or jumper connections — points of weakness that commonly cause failure in single-side circuits — D/SPC inherently removes flaws you can’t afford to have in your design. By printing on both the top and bottom of the substrate, our double-sided design provides more reliable printed heaters and membrane switches that allow you to design more capabilities into a smaller space.
D/SPC has passed stringent testing requirements for HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Testing), 100 day cycling with temperature and humidity variables, and resistance against water penetration. Over the past 6 years, we’ve also maintained an average circuit defect rate of less than 131 parts per million (PPM).
When you need to design the most reliable medical device or other high-performance application requiring tight tolerance, D/SPC is the technology you rely on. Featuring sealable, water-resistant designs, D/SPC prevents silver migration and reduces the risk of cracks, fractures and open traces. It also provides denser packaging and greater design flexibility.
If you are an engineer designing high-performance applications for healthcare, aerospace, transportation or military, there has never been a more exciting time to innovate with printed electronics. In a rapidly expanding market, significant changes in the design and manufacturing processes for electronic components and systems are enabling the creation of lighter, flexible and more cost-effective circuitry.
While single-sided flex circuits are often used due to their low cost and wide prevalence, they present many inherent design flaws that make them unsuitable for use in applications for highly-regulated industries. High-performance designs often require:
Double-Sided Polymer Circuitry (D/SPC) from Reliatrace® is a proprietary technology that enables circuitry to be printed on both the top and bottom of the substrate, and is uniquely constructed to meet the needs of high-performance applications. Inherently designed to eliminate the points of weakness that commonly cause failure in single-side circuits, D/SPC has been providing leading companies in highly-regulated industries with exceptionally reliable circuitry for over 25 years.
Not only is D/SPC a leader in the industry for reliability, it is also a lower-cost, more environmentally-friendly alternative to copper circuitry. Utilizing conductive silver inks screen-printed onto a polyester substrate, Reliatrace can print traces as small as 8 mils with a 12 mil space, enabling engineers to eliminate expensive copper circuitry from many high-performance applications.
How Double-Sided Polymer Circuitry (D/SPC®) Works
Employing a specialized screen printing process, Reliatrace is able to print circuitry on both the top and bottom of the circuit substrate, which are joined by vias. The below diagram shows a side profile view of the stack-up construction of a D/SPC printed circuit:
This technology eliminates the inherent failure points of single-sided circuitry, which include cross-over, bridged or jumper connections. To separate traces, single-sided circuitry requires a thin screen printed dielectric, which leaves these connections vulnerable to silver migration, and can result in circuit failure.
By design, D/SPC doesn’t require a screen printed dielectric to separate traces, as the 5 mil thick polyester substrate separates the areas where circuitry is printed. Silver is incapable of migrating through the polyester substrate, making the D/SPC design inherently more reliable.
The following images contrast single-sided circuitry vs. D/SPC for the same functional keypad design in a membrane switch. The image on the left is designed with single-sided circuitry using cross-over connections, which are vulnerable to silver migration, and ultimately circuitry failure. The image on the right is an equivalent Reliaswitch circuit, redesigned using D/SPC technology. An inherently more reliable circuit, Reliaswitch eliminates the inherent single-sided failure points, as the traces are printed on both sides of the substrate – through which silver cannot migrate – and connected by vias.
The below image highlights the top and bottom traces within the same Reliaswitch keypad design:
In our Reliaheat printed heaters and warming elements, Reliatrace is able to print an innovative self-regulating Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) ink onto the polyester substrate, creating heating elements that heat quickly to equilibrium temperature and stabilize without external controls. Competitive flexible heater technologies are forced to print the bus bar on the top of the substrate, which increases the x-y footprint. Using D/SPC, our Reliaheat circuits are designed with the silver bus bars on the bottom of the substrate, connected to the top layer by vias, which results in a more even heat transfer within a smaller footprint, which is one of many performance advantages.
Performance Advantages of D/SPC®
Uniquely designed to meet the needs of high-performance applications, D/SPC from Reliatrace allows engineers to design exceptionally reliable printed heaters and membrane switches. Compared to single-sided circuitry, there are numerous performance advantages, including:
Significantly reduced risk of silver migration causing electrical shorts
More design space and higher interconnect density for added performance and functionality
Smaller circuitry footprint, or greater density in the same space, as less space in the X-Y plane is required to run circuit traces
Ability to conform to convex / concave surfaces, including handle grips, pipes, and contoured body features without putting traces in expansion, therefore reducing potential circuitry failures
Easier to make water-resistant, as the efficient use of space in double-sided circuitry provides more room for gasketing options and easy incorporation of a full-perimeter seal to maximize resistance to water and chemical ingress
Significant reduction of line rejects and field failures
In addition to the universal performance advantages for all Reliatrace® double-sided printed electronics, both of our custom product lines — Reliaheat and Reliaswitch — have additional, unique benefits when compared to single-sided circuitry:
If you are an engineer working in healthcare, transportation, military / defense, aerospace or another highly-regulated industry, D/SPC is the technology you need to design exceptionally reliable high-performance applications. If you’re currently using a single-sided circuit that’s prone to failure, talk to us about re-designing with D/SPC to eliminate the inherent points of weakness in your design. Reliatrace also has a long history of helping engineers innovate new applications that simply wouldn’t be possible without D/SPC printed electronics, given the technology’s numerous and significant performance advantages over single-sided circuitry.