Thick Film Technology is at the heart of our microcircuit technology and is superior to both PCBs and conventional MCBs. The background substrate is typically ceramic, titanium and stainless steel. This is screened with conductor, insulator and resistor material to form the circuitry. The technology used to lay down the circuitry results in a much thicker and consistent layer than in acid etched conventional microprocessors. This is the key to their enhanced performance and reliability.

The advantageous properties of materials like ceramics allows our circuit boards to be used in the harshest environmental conditions, including extreme high and low temperatures, thermal shock applications, high humidity, high vibrations, and under extreme acceleration/deceleration. Our Thick Film Microcircuits are generally smaller and more secure than both PCBs and traditional MCBs.

How they’re made

Thick Film Microcircuits are made using a combination of specialised micro screen printing and firing of layers of conductor, resistor and insulator inks on a substrate. The process begins with a schematic diagram being transferred to a set of screens for printing and firing.

Like pottery, the printing and firing is done in layers - each individual screen print is fired in an oven with the total number of prints dependent on the complexity of the circuit. A laser beam then cuts a track in the fired resistor ink, setting the precise value and tolerance of resistors. The surface mounted components, if required, are then attached and the final circuit is washed, inspected, encapsulated, labeled and every unit quality tested prior to leaving our facility.

What they are used for

Thick Film Microcircuits offer a highly reliable solution for many purposes such as medical, space, defence, automotive, electronic entertainment devices, R&D, info and communication systems, high-frequency applications and high-power/high-voltage electronics.

Whether you need assistance with new product development and prototype parts, or full production runs of manufactured product, we have the experience and capabilities to support your Thick Film needs.

Advantages over PCBs

  • Higher reliability. Printed Thick Film circuits have higher metal interconnection reliability due to fewer soldering connections than a PCB.
  • Higher precision on resistors. Resistors on PCB’s are mounted whereas on Thick Film Microcircuits they are printed, fired and trimmed to any value, therefore they can be more precise and can be smaller size.
  • More compact and efficient. A thick film hybrid can be half the size of a PCB.
  • Wider operating temperature range. Thick Film Microcircuits are tested to function in extreme heat and adverse conditions.
  • Fully encapsulated packaging. More resistant to moisture, corrosion, vibration and heat build up.
  • More secure against reverse engineering. This is due to the difficulty of identifying all components due to the encapsulation.
  • Economical. Thick Film packaging does not require mounting into a box, an advantage that can be a significant cost savings.
  • Highly accurate active circuit calibration after assembly can be performed to achieve precise performance.
  • Smaller size. Thick film circuits are exceptionally compact (approximately half the size of the most complex PCB).
  • Circuits are fully tested. Testing of the circuits is throughout the entire assembly process whereas PCB’s are tested at the completion of assembly or on a sample basis.
  • A modular technology for complex systems. Gives benefits of reliability and maintainability.