Henkel’s Printed Electronics Solutions Are Propelling Smart Living, Mobility and Hygiene

Henkel printed electronics
Wearable patch with a skin-compatible, pressure-sensitive adhesive (Image: Henkel)

One of the challenges posed by digital transformation is the pressure to leverage the potential of new technologies to enhance performance. At the same time, emerging technologies make new approaches possible: printed electronics evolve the traditional electronics in terms of efficiency and flexibility to open up completely new application fields, from personal hygiene products to smart surfaces for home or mobility applications. Being on top of this development, functional ink plays a key role in printed electronics, transforming a substrate into a conductive surface.

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Henkel, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based chemical and consumer goods company, address these needs. Loctite ECI 7007 conductive carbon-ink, made for personal hygiene products, lays the foundation for smart diapers while ECI 8000 E&C series enables smart heating solutions for the smart home. Furthermore, stretchable Loctite conductive inks are able to be processed into the surface of an automotive interior, making it possible to integrate e.g. motion sensors, heating or charging devices directly via the smart surface, reports Henkel.

“While we see an increasing importance of technological innovations in our daily live, such as the Internet of Things or 5G, industries need to make sure, to keep up with these developments. As electronic components become more cost-efficient and processable in huge quantities, applicational fields multiply while new and evolved technologies open up completely new possibilities – such as printed electronics,” says Stijn Gillissen, Henkel Global Head of Printed Electronics. “Printed Electronics will impact a variety of industries – from living to hygiene to mobility – which are constantly confronted with new customer demands to become more innovative and digital.”

Loctite Functional Inks Make Living and Mobility Smarter than Ever Before

With the Henkel Loctite ECI 7007 carbon-based ink Henkel provides a product to actively support the digitalization of the living and hygiene sector. It is made for high speed production and thus optimally suits the requirements in the processing of FMCGs. The highly flexible ink is able to be applied on a very thin substrate and functions as a conductor to a moisture sensor for smart diapers. The printed electronics solution detects moisture and informs the caregiver.

A baby wearing diaper
Smart diapers, empowered by Henkel Loctite ECI 7007 carbon-based ink, actively supporting usage efficiency and increased comfort for caregivers and users (Image: Henkel)

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Another innovation for smart homes is empowered by Henkel’s conductive carbon PTC inks Loctite ECI 8000 E&C series. These inks can be printed on almost any surface to create a uniform, self-regulating heater that will never overheat. These very thin printed heaters offer designers new possibilities to integrate heating functionality in places they could not before. Heated surfaces in for example construction & furniture are now possible using this technology.

Henkel is Taking Printed Electronics to the Next Level With Strong Partnerships

Bare Conductive is a partner for the development of product solutions in the field of smart surfaces. “Together with our partners like Henkel, we leverage class-leading materials science to make any surface smart, transforming what it means to make a smart home, a smart office, a smart city, or a smart car. Creating digital-transformation from unexpected places,” explains Matt Johnson, CEO & Co-Founder of Bare Conductive.

In cooperation with Quad Industries, specialized in manufacturing of printed electronics, and Byteflies, a wearable health startup, Henkel is developing smart health patches for people suffering from chronical illnesses. The electronic patches are able to monitor patient’s vital data in a less obtrusive way in their home environment thus significantly improving the patient comfort and improving medical treatments.

Additionally, Henkel builds on a partnership for material-supply with CHASM Advanced Materials, Inc., a supplier of innovative transparent conductive materials and inks, to further boost the company’s portfolio with respect to printed electronics.

“At Henkel we rely on a differentiated network of partners. Building on that network, we can provide our customers not only with our products and knowledge, but connections to e.g. circuit designers, printing manufacturers or external IoT-providers. Together we are able to leverage the potential of digital transformation across the entire value chain, utilizing the benefits of printed electronics,” summarizes Gillissen.

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Cathy Russey
Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)wearable-technologies.com.